How to get knots out of my dogs hair

Written by elizabeth tumbarello
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Dogs fur is capable of knotting just like human hair. The process for working out the knots is similar, but extra care must be taken since your canine companion cannot express pain if you are pulling on her hair and hurting her. Depending upon your dog's coat and skin types, your dog's hair may be prone to knotting. Working to eliminate these knots can be frustrating and time consuming, but is a necessary part of dog grooming.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Brushes
  • Comb
  • Coat conditioner

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  1. 1

    Brush your dog's coat using the appropriate brush. Short haired breeds benefit the most from a bristle brush. A general rule for choosing a bristle brush is to use harder bristles for shorter coats. A wire pin brush is an ideal choice for dogs with medium to long hair.

  2. 2

    Seek out the worst knots first. These commonly occur around the dog's neck and ears. Some dogs have a limited attention span, or are anxious about the grooming process. Seeking out the worst knots first ensures that these knots can be eliminated before your dog reaches his "breaking point."

  3. 3

    Spritz one knot with a detangling solution or coat conditioner. This makes the individual hairs that comprise the coat slick and easier to deal with.

  4. 4

    Tease out individual portions of the knot using your fingers or the edge of a metal dog comb. The more hairs you can separate from the knot, the easier it will be to detangle the knot.

  5. 5

    Grasp the hair that forms the knot close to the skin. The leverage created by grasping the hair at the roots enables you to work on the knot while ensuring your dog feels minimal pain.

  6. 6

    Comb through the knot using short strokes. Separate the hairs out of the knot, taking care not to use more force than necessary.

  7. 7

    Repeat this process for each knot. You may need to take a break to allow your dog to calm down or recuperate from the sensations of the detangling process. Work slowly and carefully, taking breaks as needed.

  8. 8

    Brush through your dog's coat with a wire slicker brush once all the knots have been sorted through. This final step ensures that all of the knots have indeed been removed and parts any hairs that may be still sticking together.

Tips and warnings

  • Prevention of knots is easier than working through them. Use proper grooming tools on a regular basis to ensure the health and quality of your dog's coat.
  • Treat your dog to rewards and praise throughout the grooming process. This ensures that your dog views grooming as a positive experience.
  • When knots are so bad that they cannot be worked out, they are called mats. These mats can continue to tangle, and should be cut out of the fur. While cutting the hair leaves a temporary bald or thin spot, it should be done to prevent the pain associated with matting.
  • Do not wash your dog before working out knots. Washing allows the hairs contained in a knot to further lock together, making them harder to brush out.

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