Ted the Cocker Spaniel’s Incredible Grooming Journey + How To Shave A Matted Dog

In a heartening tale of transformation, Ted, a 6 1/2-year-old Cocker Spaniel, overcame neglect and severely matted dog hair, emerging as a dapper and stylish companion. Guided by the skilled hands of groomer Mel, Ted undergoes the shaving process

How To Shave A matted Dog

Transforming Tangles: How to Shave a Matted Dog with Long Hair

If you have a dog with long hair, you may have to deal with matted fur at some point. Matted fur is not only unsightly, but also uncomfortable and unhealthy for your dog. It can cause skin irritation, infections, and even restrict blood circulation. That’s why it’s important to know how to shave a matted dog, especially if you can’t take your dog to a professional groomer.

Understanding Matting

Matting occurs when a dog’s hair becomes tangled and knotted, forming dense clumps close to the skin. This can lead to skin irritation, restricted movement, and pain for the dog. Matting commonly occurs in areas with friction, such as behind the ears, under the legs, and around the neck.

Preparation and Equipment

How To Shave A matted Dog - Tools

1. Grooming Clippers

Invest in a good-quality pair of clippers designed for dog grooming. Clippers with adjustable blade lengths are particularly useful for tackling matted areas.

2. Mat Splitter or Dematting Tool

These tools are designed to gently break apart mats without causing discomfort to your dog.

3. Blunt-Tip Scissors

These are helpful for carefully snipping away smaller mats and tangles.

4. Dog-Safe Shampoo and Conditioner

Giving your dog a bath before shaving can help soften and loosen mats.

5. Towels and Blow Dryer

These are necessary to ensure your dog is completely dry before starting the shaving process.

Step-by-Step Shaving Process

How To Shave A matted Dog

1. Assess the Severity

Evaluate the extent of matting on your dog’s coat. If the mats are small and manageable, you might be able to detangle them without shaving. Severe mats, however, often necessitate shaving.

2. Find a comfortable spot

Choose a place where your dog feels relaxed and safe, such as a bathroom or a laundry room. You may want to put a towel or a mat on the floor to catch the hair. Avoid places with slippery surfaces or sharp objects that could hurt your dog. You also want to make sure YOU are comfortable. If the dog is too low, then you will be bending down which may hurt your back.

3. Prepare the tools

You will need a pair of scissors, a clipper with a #10 blade, a comb, and a brush. Make sure the tools are clean and sharp. You may also want to have some treats and toys to reward and distract your dog during the process.

4. Dematting

How To Shave A matted Dog

Cut the mats carefully. Before you use the clipper, you need to cut the mats with scissors. Do not pull or tug on the mats, as this could hurt your dog’s skin. Instead, gently lift the mat away from the skin and cut it parallel to the skin. Be careful not to cut too close to the skin or nick it with the scissors. Cut only the mats that are too big or too tight to be shaved with the clipper.

5. Start Shaving

Once you have cut the mats, you can use the clipper to shave the matted hair. Start from the neck and work your way down to the tail, following the direction of the hair growth. Use short and gentle strokes, and avoid going over the same area more than once. Do not press too hard or go too fast, as this could cause clipper burn or irritation. If you encounter any resistance or hear a loud noise, stop and check the blade for dirt or hair buildup. Clean and oil the blade as needed.

How To Shave A matted Dog

4. Adjust Blade Length

If the mats are particularly close to the skin, you might need to use a shorter blade length. Gradually increase the blade length as you move through areas with less matting.

5. Frequent Breaks

Shaving a matted dog can be time-consuming and tiring for both you and your dog. Take frequent breaks to ensure your dog remains calm and comfortable.

6. Trimming Smaller Mats

After the majority of the coat is shaved, use blunt-tip scissors to carefully trim away any remaining smaller mats or tangles.

7. Brush and bathe your dog

How To Shave A matted Dog

The final step is to brush and bathe your dog to remove any loose hair and dirt. Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner that are suitable for your dog’s skin and coat type. Rinse well and dry your dog thoroughly with a towel or a dryer. You may also want to apply some moisturizer or leave-in conditioner to protect your dog’s skin and prevent dryness.

8. Post-Shave Care

Shaving removes the protective layer of fur, so it’s essential to protect your dog from the elements. If the weather is cold, consider providing a sweater or coat to keep them warm.

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Shaved Ears for Cocker Spaniels

Cocker spaniel shaved ears are a controversial topic among dog owners and groomers. Some people believe that shaving the ears can prevent ear infections, matting, and overheating, while others argue that it can cause skin irritation, sunburn, and loss of the breed’s distinctive appearance.

How To Shave A matted Dog

There is no definitive answer to whether shaved ears are beneficial or harmful for cocker spaniels, as each dog may have different needs and preferences. However, before deciding to shave your cocker spaniel’s ears, you should consult with your veterinarian and a professional groomer to weigh the pros and cons and to ensure that the procedure is done safely and hygienically.

Shaving a cocker spaniel’s ears can be a tricky task, but it can also help prevent ear infections and matting. Here are some steps to follow:

  • First, you need to prepare your dog and your tools. Make sure your dog is calm and comfortable, and that you have a good pair of clippers, scissors, comb and brush. You may also want to use a grooming table or a non-slip mat to keep your dog steady.
  • Next, you need to trim the hair on the ear flap. Start from the tip of the ear and work your way down, following the natural shape of the ear. Use the clippers with a short blade (such as #10 or #15) and cut close to the skin, but be careful not to nick it. You can use scissors to trim any excess hair around the edges of the ear flap.
  • Then, you need to shave the hair on the ear canal. This is the most important part, as it can prevent ear wax buildup and improve air circulation. Use the clippers with a very short blade (such as #30 or #40) and gently insert them into the ear canal, about half an inch deep. Cut the hair in a circular motion, making sure not to go too deep or too fast. You can use your fingers to feel for any lumps or bumps in the ear canal, and avoid cutting them.
  • Finally, you need to clean and check the ears. Use a cotton ball or a soft cloth dampened with warm water or a mild ear cleaner to wipe away any dirt or debris from the ear flap and the ear canal. Check for any signs of irritation, infection or injury, such as redness, swelling, discharge or odor. If you notice any of these signs, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Home Remedies For Matted Dog Hair

Matted dog hair can be a nuisance for both you and your furry friend. It can cause discomfort, skin irritation, and even infection if left untreated. Fortunately, there are some home remedies you can try to get rid of the mats and restore your dog’s coat to its natural beauty. Some of the most common and effective home remedies for matted dog hair are:

How To Shave A matted Dog

1. Regular Brushing

Prevention is key when it comes to matted dog hair. Regular brushing helps prevent tangles and mats from forming in the first place. Different coat types require different types of brushes, so be sure to choose the right one for your dog. Long-haired breeds may need a slicker brush, while short-haired breeds might benefit from a bristle brush. Aim to brush your dog’s coat at least a few times a week, paying extra attention to areas prone to matting, like behind the ears, under the collar, and in the armpits.

2. Proper Bathing Technique

Bathing your dog is another opportunity to prevent mats. Use a high-quality dog shampoo and conditioner that’s suitable for your dog’s coat type. Before the bath, gently brush out any tangles or mats to prevent them from tightening further when wet. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid leftover residue that could contribute to tangling. After the bath, gently pat your dog’s coat dry—avoid vigorous rubbing, as this can lead to further matting.

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3. Detangling Sprays and Conditioners

There are detangling sprays and leave-in conditioners designed to make brushing easier and prevent mats. These products help to soften the hair and make it more manageable. Apply them before brushing, and work through your dog’s coat with your fingers or a brush designed for detangling.

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4. Work Slowly and Gently

If you do encounter mats, it’s important to address them carefully. Use your fingers or a mat splitter to gently tease apart the tangle. Working from the tips of the hair towards the roots can help prevent discomfort for your dog. If the mat is too tight or extensive, consider seeking professional help to avoid causing pain or skin irritation.

5. Regular Hair Trims

While this isn’t a complete home remedy, regular hair trims can significantly reduce the risk of matting. Keep your dog’s coat at a manageable length, especially in areas prone to tangling. This doesn’t mean you have to shave your dog—just keep the coat neatly trimmed to prevent excessive matting.

6. Proper Diet and Hydration

A healthy diet and proper hydration play a significant role in maintaining your dog’s coat health. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to a shiny, strong coat that’s less prone to tangling and matting.

7. Comfortable Resting Areas

Make sure your dog’s resting areas are comfortable and clean. Bedding with minimal friction can help prevent mats from forming when your dog lies down.

These home remedies for matted dog hair are quick and easy to use, but they may not work for severe cases of matting. If your dog has large or tight mats that are close to the skin, you may need to consult a professional groomer or a veterinarian for safe removal.


Is it ok to shave a cocker spaniel?

It is not ok to shave a cocker spaniel. Cocker spaniels have a double coat of hair that helps them regulate their body temperature, protect them from the sun, dirt, bugs, and other elements, and keep their skin healthy and clean. Shaving their coat can cause them to overheat, get sunburned, develop skin infections, and lose their natural insulation.

The only time a cocker spaniel should be shaved is for medical reasons or excessive matting as in the case of Ted in the video above.

If you want to keep your cocker spaniel’s coat in good condition, you should brush it regularly, trim it lightly with scissors in some areas, and take it to a professional groomer every few months . This will help prevent shedding, tangling, and matting, and make your dog look neat and tidy.

Can I use regular scissors or clippers to shave my matted dog?

No, you should not use regular scissors or clippers to shave your matted dog. Regular scissors can cut your dog’s skin, especially if the mats are close to the skin. Regular clippers can also pull and tug on the mats, causing pain and injury to your dog. You should use special tools designed for shaving matted dogs, such as mat splitters, mat rakes, or dematting combs. These tools can help you break up the mats and remove them gently without hurting your dog.

How do I prepare my dog for shaving?

Before you start shaving your matted dog, you should make sure your dog is calm and comfortable. You can give your dog a treat, a toy, or some praise to help them relax. You should also check your dog’s skin for any signs of inflammation, infection, or injury. If you notice any redness, swelling, bleeding, or pus, you should take your dog to the vet before shaving them. You should also brush your dog’s fur as much as possible to remove any loose hair and dirt.

How do I shave my matted dog?

To shave your matted dog, you should follow these steps:

-Choose a quiet and well-lit area where you can work without distractions.

-Use a mat splitter, a mat rake, or a dematting comb to break up the mats into smaller sections. Start from the outer edges of the mats and work your way inwards. Be gentle and patient with your dog and avoid pulling or yanking on their fur.

-Use a pair of blunt-tipped scissors or a clipper with a short blade (such as #10) to trim off the mats. Hold the scissors or the clipper parallel to your dog’s skin and cut along the direction of the hair growth. Leave at least 1/4 inch of fur on your dog’s skin to protect it from sunburn and irritation.

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-Repeat the process until you have removed all the mats from your dog’s fur.

-Reward your dog with a treat, a toy, or some praise for being a good sport.

How do I care for my dog after shaving?

After shaving your matted dog, you should do the following:

Check your dog’s skin for any cuts, nicks, or burns. If you find any minor injuries, you can apply some antiseptic cream or spray to prevent infection. If you find any major injuries, you should take your dog to the vet for treatment.
Bathe your dog with a mild shampoo and conditioner to soothe their skin and remove any dirt or debris. Rinse well and dry thoroughly with a towel or a blow dryer on low heat.
Apply some moisturizer or oil to your dog’s skin to prevent dryness and flaking. You can also use some sunscreen to protect your dog from sunburn if they have light-colored or thin fur.
Brush your dog’s fur regularly to prevent new mats from forming. You can also use some detangling spray or conditioner to make brushing easier.

How do I prevent my dog from getting matted again?

To prevent your dog from getting matted again, you should do the following:

Choose a suitable grooming routine for your dog based on their breed, coat type, and lifestyle. Some dogs need daily brushing, while others need weekly or monthly grooming sessions.

Use the right tools for brushing and combing your dog’s fur. You should use a slicker brush, a pin brush, or a bristle brush for smooth-coated dogs; a wire brush, a rake, or a comb for long-haired dogs; and a curry comb or a rubber brush for short-haired dogs.

Trim your dog’s fur regularly to keep it at a manageable length. You can use scissors or clippers to trim around your dog’s eyes, ears, mouth, paws, tail, and genitals. You can also take your dog to a professional groomer for a full haircut every few months.

Keep your dog clean and dry by bathing them as needed with a mild shampoo and conditioner. Avoid bathing them too often as this can strip their natural oils and cause dryness and matting.

Avoid using products that can cause matting such as hairspray, gel, wax, or mousse on your dog’s fur. You should also avoid putting any accessories such as bows, clips, or bands on your dog’s fur as they can tangle and pull on their hair.

Can you shave a short haired dog

This is a question that many dog owners may have, especially in the summer months when the weather is hot and humid. Shaving a dog may seem like a good way to keep them cool and comfortable, but is it really a good idea?

The answer is: it depends. Some short haired dogs, such as poodles, schnauzers, and terriers, have hair that grows continuously and needs regular trimming to prevent matting and tangling. These dogs can benefit from shaving, as long as it is done by a professional groomer who knows how to avoid cutting too close to the skin or injuring the dog.

However, other short haired dogs, such as labradors, beagles, and boxers, have a double coat that consists of a dense undercoat and a protective outer coat.
These dogs should not be shaved, as their coat helps them regulate their body temperature and protects them from sunburn, insects, and skin infections.

Shaving these dogs can damage their coat and cause it to grow back unevenly or not at all. It can also make them more prone to heatstroke, as they lose their natural insulation and cooling mechanism.

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