Hair mats can be a serious problem for dogs. Left untended for too long, they can entangle the dog’s fur all the way to the skin where sores can develop. Since the sores cannot be seen because of the mats, they can become infected and spread across the dog’s body. Removing mats can be a laborious, expensive, time-consuming task, especially if the dog must be sedated because of the pain it would suffer if it was awake while the mats were being removed. The best thing you can do for your dog is to prevent the hair mats in the first place. You can accomplish that with regular grooming, an essential step needed to prevent hair mats in dogs.
Brush and comb your dog regularly.
Be sure that you can get a comb from the skin outward on all parts of the dog. Don’t forget legs, belly and chest. A long haired dog will need more frequent brushing than a short haired dog, but all dogs should be brushed a minimum of once a week. Removing loose hair is a great way to lessen or prevent hair matting. Most dogs do some grooming on themselves, but as they age they tend to do less. You may find that your older dog needs more grooming than he or she did as a young pup.
Bathe your dog regularly, but only once you can get a comb through his fur or hair.
Bathing a knotty dog will make the situation worse. Conditioner alone does not magically remove matting. Talk to your breeder or groomer about how often your particular breed needs bathing. Your groomer or breeder can also advise you on the best shampoo and rinse to use.
Feed your dog a good, nutritious dog food.
The skin and fur on a dog are only as healthy as the food that fuels it. Preventing dog hair mats starts with a good diet that encourages healthy hair and skin. Check the label on the dog food. Make sure it follows the diet protocols established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regarding the amount and balance of the vital food groups as well as the proper vitamins and minerals.
Give your dog a daily dose of fish oil that contains Omega 3 fatty acids.
Fatty acids are beneficial in treating dogs with allergies or other autoimmune diseases. You can also use flax seed oil or olive oil. Lack of fatty acids are a major contributor to many adverse skin conditions in dogs that lead to seborrhea and dull, flaky skin. Consult your veterinarian or breeder for the best dosage for your dog.