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How to keep your dog's fur from matting

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

Matted fur on dogs can be managed without a groomer with these simple tips

Matted dog hair may be one of the worst grooming issues a dog owner can experience. It's caused by excess loose hair that gets unbearably tangled. Getting rid of mats is painful for both of you, so what you really need to invest your time in is preventing matting. Here's how.

1. Make sure your dog has the right diet

You are what you eat, and so is your dog. Feed it a healthy, balanced diet rich in omega-3s (yep… they're just as good for your dog as they are for you). The omega-3s will help with any allergies or skin conditions that can cause difficulty while combing or bathing, which can lead to matting. You can even give your fur baby a daily dose of fish oil, but ask your vet what the best dosage is for your dog's size.

2. Bathe your dog regularly

As long as you've been regularly combing your dog, regular bathing is key. Bathe it at least once a month, more frequently if matting becomes a serious issue.

3. Try a detangler

Use a good detangling shampoo and conditioner when giving your dog a bath, and when the bath is over, you can spritz it down with tangle-prevention sprays like The Stuff for Dogs for a little extra protection.

4. Brush regularly

Between baths, do brush and comb regularly — don't forget the legs, chest, underarms and tummy. Those can mat, too, and may tend to do so more easily in some breeds. Treat it just like human hair in some ways, sectioning it out when you brush it.

Do it a minimum of once a week, but if you notice lots of knots in its fur, it's best to do it more often. It will be easier for you and less stressful or painful for your pup. It may get more necessary with age as it grooms itself less frequently.

5. Choose the right brush

Steer clear of those cheap pin brushes with plastic nubs on the ends. They can get tangled in human hair, so they aren't much better for dogs. If you have a real matting problem, don't expect the local pet supply store (chain or not) to have the brush you need. Look online for the stuff the pros use. Spend some cash on a really good nub-free slicker brush and follow it up with a combing for good measure. You can reapply the detangling spray if necessary.

6. Use thinning shears

If you get a mat you can't get out, don't shave your pup. Consider using thinning shears to selectively work on that area until the mat itself falls out.

More dog grooming tips

How to keep your dog safe at the groomer
Dog grooming 101: A timeline of when to groom your dog (INFOGRAPHIC)
My grooming mistake almost killed my dog

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