Mats in a dog’s fur can cause the dog pain and even lead to skin infections over time. It’s important to remove mats as soon as you see them so they don’t grow bigger and pull on the dog’s skin; however, sometimes mats can go undiscovered and grow large very quickly. A few home remedies are available that are both easy on the dog and your pocketbook.
Hold securely onto the mat, if possible, with one hand. Carefully use scissors to cut off the top of the mat. Be very careful not to cut any skin while doing this. Always keep your fingers between the dog's skin and the scissors.
Sprinkle cornstarch on the mat and on the fur surrounding the mat. Cornstarch won’t hurt the dog if he licks it and, according to Bichon Frise Information Station, cornstarch helps loosen up the fur strands.
Work the cornstarch into the mat, if you can, with the tips of your fingers. Use a pick comb to gently tease the mat apart. Use the scissors to cut off more and more of the mat, without cutting the dog.
Comb the area with a wide tooth comb. If the comb gets stuck on the mat, do not pull; instead, stop and add more cornstarch and then use the pick on it again. When you’ve separated the mat some more, use the wide tooth comb again.
Use a narrow tooth comb to comb out the remainder of the mat. Follow this with a thorough brushing.
If you aren’t having good luck with the cornstarch, use conditioner. Just pour it on your fingers and work it into and around the mat. You’ll need to rinse the conditioner off when you are done.
If you own a pet fur mat rake or splitter, use them instead of the combs.
Pet Education warns that pet skin is more sensitive and delicate than human skin. Keep this in mind when you are working on the mat. The website suggests consulting a professional groomer in severe cases. Groomers have better tools and more practice at removing mats from dog fur.