Unmatting a Dog's Tail

Keep your golden's tail mat-free and flowing.
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Some dogs with long, lush tails, like golden retrievers or bichon frises, are more prone to mats and tangles. While an ounce of prevention is the answer to happiness, sometimes mats are unavoidable. They must be removed.


When dealing with a matted tail, conditioner is almost a necessity. Adding a spray detangler to the dog’s tail moistens the hair and helps soften the mat. Also, cornstarch powder sprinkled on his tail helps loosen matted hair. Peanut butter contains natural oil and helps with mat removal, as well. Work the conditioner or other suitable substance into the hair and let it set for a few minutes for best results.


Separate the mats with your fingers by working with one small section at at time, gently pulling them apart from the ends working toward the skin. Next, hold the dog’s tail up and brushing the hair straight down or in the opposite direction of hair growth with a pin brush. This helps remove debris stuck in the tail that caused it to mat in the first place without harming the sensitive anal area.


After brushing out the tail, combing through it with a metal-tooth comb helps locate any remaining mats. Hold the hair out from the tail and work out and mats with the end of the comb, working from the ends toward the skin. Make short strokes with the comb, careful not to pull the hair and cause the dog pain.


While it may seem time-consuming, preventing mats by brushing your dog daily saves you time in the long run. Make sure you hold the tail up and brush in a circular motion to stimulate oil production and remove debris. A weekly bath, followed by covering the tail with conditioner for long-hair breeds, helps deter tangles. If matting is a major issue, getting your dog’s tail cut short may provide the answer.