how to get knots out of dog hair

How to Get Knots Out of Dog Hair

A great majority of pet parents love dogs with long and thick coats as they get to groom and shape it into many fancy hairstyles. It is also a good way of showing off, with a really silky flowing coat taken as a sign of good pet parenting. Unfortunately, if you’re not meticulous in your grooming chores, the silky coat of your dog can easily become knotted and tangled. This is especially true if they constantly get in contact with rough surfaces that can get the strands of fur all tangled up. But instead of heading straight to your groomer, here’s how to get knots out of your dog’s hair.

Get Your Tools Ready

Conquering tangles, knots, and mats require a different set of brush or doggie combs. Your ordinary grooming comb or brush simply won’t work. You can use a dog shedding brush, a de-matting tool, a slicker brush, or even a mat-splitting tool to help you work on those knots and tangles with as little effort as possible. The good thing about these tools is that they’re specially designed to address such hairy entanglements. A de-shedding brush has the added advantage of helping your pet hound get rid of excess hair which can help minimize matting and tangles.

Take a look at our review of Dog Flea Combs.

Prepare a Detangling Solution

There are commercially-available detanglers specially formulated to remove the tangles or knots on your dog’s fur. They act more like your hair conditioner which can help eliminate knots. If you don’t like the idea of using synthetic chemicals on your dog’s fur, you can actually make your very own detangler. You can add a small amount of your hair conditioner in water and put this in a spray bottle. Make sure to shake it thoroughly to get a homogenous solution. Alternatively, you can also create a mixture composed of a teaspoon each of aloe vera gel and coconut oil in a cup of water before adding 3 drops of glycerin. Glycerin actually binds everything together making it a great solution to remove tangles and knots.

Check out our guide on the Best Dog Conditioner.

Determine the Location of the Problem Areas

Once you’ve got your tools ready, it’s time to locate where the knots, tangles, and mats are. You can run a slicker brush or even a de-shedding brush on your dog to help you locate where the tangles and mats are. Mats are typically found under the dog’s ears although they can also be found along the back legs, just below the dog’s neck, or even under its belly. Tangles can occur anywhere, although they are commonly found in body parts that are in frequent contact with surfaces. So you can see them forming at the dog’s behind, the backside of its legs, and its chest and underbelly. It is important to identify the locations of the knots so you can easily create a plan on how to proceed.

Use the Detangler

Regardless of what type of detangling solution you are going to use, be it commercial ones or the DIY kind, it is important to apply the detangler only on the problem area. Make sure to rub the detangling agent into the dog’s coat so that it will penetrate deep into the problem area. Leave it there for a couple of minutes to let the different substances lessen the degree of tangling so it will be a lot easier to remove the tangles later on.

Manually Remove the Knots

This is perhaps one of the most tedious parts of knot removal in dogs. It is a painstaking work, but if you’re doing it correctly you’ll find that it actually does wonders. Rub your fingers with the hair strands sandwiched in. If the knots are not that severe, meaning they haven’t formed mats yet, you can easily remove the tangles. Slowly work your way from the base of the knot and slowly and gently work your way outwards. It’s like using your fingers as oversized comb teeth. Try to remove the knots in all problem areas with your fingers. If there will be stubborn knots, then you can start using your de-shedding brush or even de-matting tool.

Use the Brushes

For stubborn mats you can use a mat splitting tool. This will cut through that lump of hair found on your dog’s coat. It is critical to cut the mat in the direction of hair growth and not across it. That is why it is imperative to have a clear understanding of the general direction in which your dog’s fur is growing. You can then finish it up with a de-shedding brush or a slicker brush. It is crucial to brush a few strands of fur at a time to make sure that you get the best results when removing knots and tangles. This is important since doing it in volumes will leave some of the fur still knotted. If your issue is matting, the direction of your brush strokes should follow the direction of hair growth. Continue adding more of the detangling solution to aid in the removal of knots.

knots in dog's hair

Give Your Dog a Bath

Before you let your dog take a shower, it is important to ascertain that there are no more knots, tangles, or mats on your dog’s coat. Otherwise wetting it will only make these knots and mats worse by making them tighter. If you can use a dog shampoo or a shampoo for puppies that have added natural conditioner, this should also help in allowing your dog’s fur to flow in its natural direction without getting entangled. Make sure to dry your dog’s coat thoroughly before brushing or combing their fur meticulously. Run your brush across your dog’s fur making sure that there will be no ensuing knots in the process.

You may also like our article on Dog Dryer for Home Grooming.

Getting knots and tangles out of your dog’s hair is a fairly straightforward process. However, it requires patience, perseverance, and dedication to remove every single strand of fur that has been knotted with other strands. Having the right de-tangling tools like a detangling solution, slicker brush, de-matting tool, or even a de-shedding brush should give you the results you need.


  1. Carol McCarthy, Dog’s Hair in Knots? How to Get Them Untangled and Under Control, PetMD
  2. A Haircut Could Save a Life: Preventing Your Pet’s Coat from Matting, ASPCA

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