How to Remove Matted Fur During Bathing a Dog

Keep mats away with regular grooming.
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Extremely tangled and matted hair is common in long-haired and curly-haired dogs. If your pooch has matted hair, it's essential to groom him to prevent skin irritation and possible infection caused by dirt, moisture and bacteria trapped inside the mats. While it's best to remove mats before wetting your dog's hair, you can safely get rid of those you find while bathing your pup. If your dog is severely matted or suffers from a skin condition, see your vet for advice.

Step 1

Brush your dog and check for mats behind his ears, beneath his collar and around his legs. These are common sites for matted hair on dogs.

Step 2

Remove as many mats as possible before bathing your dog by pulling the tangles apart with your fingers. Tight mats may require removal with clippers.

Step 3

Wet and shampoo your dog has usual. While lathering your dog, run your hands over his coat to find smaller, hidden mats.

Step 4

Apply a thick-coat conditioner to matted areas, and then work through the mats with your fingers before rinsing. You may be able to loosen the mats this way.

Step 5

Rub a little bit of olive or mineral oil into any discovered mats and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then use your fingertips to gently pull apart the tangles.

Step 6

Cut out mats that don't respond to olive oil, provided there is space between the mats and your dog's skin. Slide a comb under the mat to protect your dog's skin, and then use blunt-tipped scissors to cut the mat above the comb. If your dog won't sit still, have someone help you.

Step 7

Apply a conditioner or detangler to your dog's coat after shampooing. Leave in or rinse out per the product's directions. This will help control future mats and make remaining tangles easier to brush out once your pup's fur dries.


  • Never rip mats away from your dog's skin. Doing so can cause considerable pain.


  • Regular brushing helps prevent hair mats from forming.

Items You Will Need

  • Coat conditioner
  • Olive oil
  • Dog comb
  • Blunt-tipped scissors
  • Detangler