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Safe Ways to Remove Mats from Your Dog

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Removing hair mats is fraught with potential complications. Mats are often firmly attached to the skin, so you must be extremely careful not to cut the skin as you cut off the mat.

Begin by brushing and combing as much as possible. Many small mats can be removed with a thorough brushing. If they remain, try to make them smaller by brushing the hair near the mat. Once you are sure that the mat can only be removed by cutting the hair, then reach for the scissors.

Clippers are the safest and best way to remove matted hair. Unfortunately, most people do not own clippers and must make do with scissors. If this is true for you, be very careful.

Begin by isolating the mat.

Comb Method

  • If possible, take a fine tooth comb and slide it between the mat and the skin. This will help prevent the skin from getting cut. If a fine tooth comb is not working, any comb will do.

  • Once the comb is under the mat, cut the hair between the mat and the comb.

    Scissor Debulking Method

  • If you cannot place a comb between the skin and mat, open the scissors and carefully place one blade through the base of the mat.

  • Cut up and away from the skin. Do not cut toward the skin.

  • Cutting the mat upward will divide the mat and allow you to comb the rest of the mat away.

    Scissor Removal Method

    The safest way to trim the hair with scissors is also the slowest and most tedious.

  • Place one blade of the open scissors through a thin layer of hair near the base of the mat. Make sure you can see the scissor blade.

  • Slowly cut the hair, making sure there is no skin involved.

  • Continue to do this until the mat is removed.

  • Always make sure you can see the scissor blade through the hair.

    The best way to avoid cutting your pet's hair is to groom her frequently and not allow the mats to form.

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