How to Fix a Matted Shih Tzu Coat

Do you own a Shih Tzu that just can’t seem to keep their coat from matting? Are you tired of seeing your beloved pet struggle with tangled fur? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many pet owners face the same problem, and fixing a matted Shih Tzu coat can seem like a daunting task. But fear not, with the right tools, techniques and a little bit of patience, you can restore your pup’s coat to its former glory. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the common causes of matting, the tools you’ll need, and step-by-step tips and tricks to fix and prevent future matting. So let’s get started!

Understand the Causes of Matting

Matting occurs when hairs in your Shih Tzu’s coat tangle and twist together, forming tight knots, and can be quite uncomfortable for your furry friend. Understanding the causes of matting can help you prevent it from happening in the first place. One of the main causes of matting is the lack of proper brushing and grooming, which can lead to the accumulation of dead hair, dirt, and debris. As a result, hair creates knots and mats, especially in the areas that experience the most friction, such as the armpits, behind the ears, and around the legs.

Another common cause of matting is the exposure to moisture, such as rain, snow or excessive humidity. It usually happens if the coat takes a long time to dry, creating a perfect environment for the formation of mats. It is essential to dry your Shih Tzu’s hair thoroughly after bathing or spending a day outside in wet weather.

Even though matting can happen to any dog breed, Shih Tzus are more prone to matting due to their long, dense, and curly hair. Proper grooming is essential, and regular brushing is vital. For more information about the importance of brushing, tips, techniques, and tools, check out our Shih Tzu Brushing Importance, Shih Tzu Brushes, Shih Tzu Brushing Techniques, Shih Tzu Brushing Tips, and Shih Tzu Brushing Mistakes articles.

Understanding the causes of matting can help you take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening. But suppose your Shih Tzu has already developed mats despite your best efforts. In that case, you need to follow a step-by-step approach to detangle them properly and prevent future matting, which we will discuss in the next sections.

Tools You Need to Fix a Matted Shih Tzu Coat

When it comes to fixing a matted Shih Tzu coat, having the right tools is crucial. Here are some tools that you will need:

Grooming Comb: A grooming comb is an essential tool when it comes to fixing a matted Shih Tzu coat. It helps to loosen tangles and mats, making them easier to remove. Look for a comb with both wide and narrow teeth, as this will make it easier to work through different types of mats.

Slicker Brush: A slicker brush is another must-have tool for fixing a matted Shih Tzu coat. It has tightly packed fine wires that can work out the smaller mats in your dog’s fur.

Grooming Scissors: Grooming scissors with rounded tips are perfect for trimming away matted fur without harming your pet. They make it easy to remove mats close to the skin without causing injury.

Dematting Tool: A dematting tool is an excellent option for removing severe mats from your Shih Tzu’s coat. It has sharp blades that can cut through mats without hurting your dog’s skin.

Detangling Spray: Detangling spray helps to loosen tangles and mats, making them easier to remove. It can also condition your dog’s fur and make it look shinier.

In addition to these tools, make sure you have a calm and patient attitude, as removing mats from your Shih Tzu’s coat can be a long and tedious process. Take breaks as needed to avoid overwhelming your dog or yourself. For more information on Shih Tzu grooming steps, check out our article Shih Tzu Grooming Steps: Tips and Tricks.

Steps to Fix a Matted Shih Tzu Coat

Now that we’ve looked at the possible causes of matting and the tools you’ll need, it’s time to start fixing your Shih Tzu’s matted coat. Don’t worry if the matting seems severe; with patience and care, you’ll be able to restore the coat to its former splendor. Follow these important steps to ensure that you do everything right and prevent your furry friend from getting uncomfortable during the process. Let’s get started!

Untangle Minor Mats

When you notice some minor mats on your Shih Tzu’s coat, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent them from becoming severe. Here are the steps that you can take to untangle minor mats:

  • Prepare the necessary tools: Before you start untangling the mats, make sure that you have all the necessary tools such as a slicker brush, a metal comb, a detangling spray, and some treats for your furry friend.
  • Start with the outer edges: Begin brushing your Shih Tzu’s coat at the edges, slowly working your way towards the mat. Make sure to use gentle strokes, and avoid pulling on the hair. Use the slicker brush to separate the hairs until the tangled area gets loose.
  • Use a detangling spray: If you’re having trouble with the tangles, you could use a detangling spray. Spray it on the matted area and let it sit for a few minutes before you begin brushing again.
  • Use a metal comb: If your Shih Tzu still has some stubborn knots, use a metal comb with wide teeth to gently comb through the tangles. Use the comb to separate the hair strands and loosen the knot by working on it from different angles. DO NOT cut the mat with scissors.
  • Reward your furry friend: Always remember to give your Shih Tzu plenty of praise and treats as you work through the mats. This will help keep them calm and cooperative.

By following these easy steps, you can effectively remove minor mats from your Shih Tzu’s coat, and keep your furry friend looking healthy and happy. Remember to always approach your dog with kindness and patience, and to avoid using too much force as this can cause your dog discomfort. If the matting is too severe for you to handle, it’s always best to seek the help of a professional groomer.

Remove Severe Mats

When dealing with severe mats, it’s essential to approach the situation with care and caution. Grab your tools and make sure your Shih Tzu is still and comfortable before proceeding.

1. Cut the Mat

For mats that are too severe to untangle, cutting might be the only solution. Use a pair of scissors with rounded tips and slowly work around the mat, cutting it into small pieces. Be mindful of your dog’s skin and make sure you can clearly see where the skin ends.

2. Use a Dematter Tool

Dematter tools are designed to cut through severe mats without hurting your dog’s skin. These tools have razor-sharp blades between two plates that safely cut through the mat without pulling your dog’s hair. However, dematter tools require proper technique and careful handling. Use them with caution, and always follow the instructions to avoid hurting your Shih Tzu.

3. Detangle from the Ends

When trying to remove severe mats, work from the ends and slowly make your way towards the root. Begin by separating the mat into smaller sections using your fingers. Gently pull each section with your comb and try to loosen the mat from the tip. Work slowly and don’t tug on the mat, as this can cause pain and discomfort to your Shih Tzu.

Tools You Need to Remove Severe Mats

| Tools | Description |
| ————- |:————-:|
| Scissors | Rounded tip scissors for cutting the mat |
| Dematter Tool | Razor-sharp blades between two plates for safe cutting |
| Comb | Use a metal, wide-toothed comb for detangling and removing mats |

Note: If you’re uncomfortable removing severe mats or unsure of how to use the tools, seek the help of a professional groomer. Don’t force the process as it can cause harm to your Shih Tzu.

Bathe Your Shih Tzu

After you have successfully untangled or removed the mats from your Shih Tzu’s coat, it’s time to give them a good bath. Bathing your Shih Tzu helps in removing any remaining debris and eliminates any tangling or matting that could have been left unaddressed.

Here are several tips for bathing your Shih Tzu:

  • Use a high-quality dog shampoo – Make sure you are using a mild, dog-specific shampoo that is formulated for your Shih Tzu’s coat type. Avoid using human shampoos or any shampoo that contains harsh chemicals or fragrances.
  • Start by wetting your Shih Tzu’s coat – Use lukewarm water to wet your Shih Tzu’s coat thoroughly. You can use a handheld showerhead to make the process easier.
  • Apply the shampoo – Apply a small amount of shampoo to your Shih Tzu’s coat and lather it gently, making sure to avoid the eyes, ears, and nose. Pay special attention to the areas where matting tends to occur, such as the armpit and groin areas.
  • Rinse thoroughly – Rinse the shampoo off your Shih Tzu’s coat with lukewarm water, making sure not to leave any soap residue behind. Repeat the process if necessary.
  • Towel dry or use a hairdryer – Use a towel to gently pat your Shih Tzu’s coat dry, and then use a hairdryer on the lowest setting to dry their coat completely. Avoid using a high heat setting on the dryer, as this can damage their coat and cause tangling.

Note: It is important to make sure your Shih Tzu’s coat is completely dry after the bath to prevent any moisture from accumulating in their fur, which can lead to future matting. Additionally, if your Shih Tzu has a long coat, you may want to consider using a leave-in conditioner or detangler to help prevent future mats from forming.

Prevent Future Matting

After successfully fixing your Shih Tzu’s matted coat, the next important step is to prevent future matting. Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to matted coats! Here are some tips to help keep your furry friend’s coat tangle-free and healthy:

Brush your Shih Tzu regularly: Regular brushing is the key to preventing mats. Brush your Shih Tzu daily, especially if they have long hair. Use a slicker brush and a metal comb to get rid of tangles and remove any debris stuck in their fur. Be gentle and avoid pulling on their hair.

Trim the hair around the eyes: The hair around your Shih Tzu’s eyes tends to grow quickly and can cause irritation and matting. Use scissors to carefully trim the hair around their eyes every few weeks, making sure not to poke their eyes.

Keep the hair around the anus trimmed: The hair around your Shih Tzu’s anus can also cause matting and hygiene problems. You can use scissors or clippers to keep it trimmed regularly, or you can take your Shih Tzu to a professional groomer for help.

Avoid moisture: Moisture can cause mats to form quickly, especially in the armpits, groin area, and under the ears. After a bath or a walk in the rain, make sure to dry your Shih Tzu thoroughly with a towel or a blow dryer on a low, cool setting.

Use a detangler spray: You can use a detangler spray to help prevent matting, but make sure to choose a high-quality one that won’t damage your Shih Tzu’s coat. Follow the directions on the bottle and apply the spray to their hair before brushing.

By following these tips, you can keep your Shih Tzu’s coat healthy, soft, and tangle-free. Remember, regular grooming is crucial to the health and happiness of your furry friend.

When to Seek Professional Help

As much as we want to fix our beloved Shih Tzu’s matted coat on our own, there are times when seeking professional help is necessary. Here are some situations when you need to take your furry friend to the groomer or a professional pet stylist.

Severe matting: If your Shih Tzu’s coat is severely matted and you’re unsure if you can remove it without hurting or harming your pet, it’s best to let a professional handle it. Groomers have the experience, knowledge, and tools to deal with tough matting.

Behavioral issues: In some cases, matting can be a result of your pet’s behavior or anxiety. A professional may be able to assess and address such issues that can help prevent matting.

Health concerns: If you notice any unusual bumps, bleeding or sensitive areas on your dog’s skin, it’s best to have a professional examine your pet thoroughly. A professional can identify any health concerns that could be making the mats worse.

Time constraints: If you have a busy schedule and don’t have the time to sit down and fix your dog’s matted coat, taking your pet to a groomer may be the best option.

Remember that fixing a matted coat takes patience and care. You don’t want to risk injuring your pet while trying to remove the mats. Seeking professional help is always an option when in doubt. After all, our pets deserve the best care possible.


In conclusion, taking care of a Shih Tzu’s coat is a crucial part of being a responsible pet owner. Regular grooming helps prevent matting and ensures the coat stays healthy and shiny. However, if mats do appear, it’s important to address them promptly to prevent discomfort and pain for your furry friend.

Remember to use the right tools, such as slicker brushes and detangling sprays, and to take your time when removing mats. If the mats are severe or in sensitive areas, it’s best to seek professional help.

Additionally, it’s crucial to establish a regular grooming routine, including daily brushing and regular bathing. This not only helps prevent matting but also improves the bond between you and your beloved Shih Tzu.

By following these tips and tricks, you can easily fix a matted Shih Tzu coat and keep your furry friend looking and feeling their best. So, grab your tools and get to work giving your Shih Tzu the care they deserve!

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes Shih Tzu coat to mat?

Shih Tzu’s long and fine hair can mat and tangle easily due to natural shedding, grooming negligence, dirt or debris buildup, or excessive moisture.

What are the essential tools to fix matted Shih Tzu coat?

You need a slicker brush, a comb, detangler spray, scissors, and electric clippers to fix your Shih Tzu’s matted coat.

How often should I brush my Shih Tzu’s coat?

You should brush your Shih Tzu’s coat daily using a slicker brush to prevent matting and tangling.

Can I use human shampoo to bathe my Shih Tzu?

No, you should always use a mild and dog-specific shampoo to bathe your Shih Tzu. Human shampoo can dry out your dog’s skin and cause irritation.

How can I remove minor tangles and mats from my Shih Tzu’s coat?

You can use a detangler spray, a slicker brush, and a comb to gently untangle minor tangles and mats in your Shih Tzu’s coat.

How can I safely shave my Shih Tzu’s severely matted coat?

You should use electric clippers to shave your Shih Tzu’s severely matted coat to avoid cuts or injury. Start with a longer blade setting and trim slowly.

How can I prevent future matting in my Shih Tzu’s coat?

You can prevent future matting in your Shih Tzu’s coat by brushing daily, trimming hair regularly, avoiding moisture buildup, and using detangler sprays after each bath.

What are the signs that my Shih Tzu’s coat needs professional help?

If your Shih Tzu’s coat is severely matted, has skin irritation, bleeding, or hot spots, you should seek professional grooming help.

How much does it cost to get my matted Shih Tzu coat fixed professionally?

The cost of fixing a matted Shih Tzu coat professionally can vary depending on the severity of the matting and the groomer’s location and rates. It can range from $50 to $150 or more.

Can Shih Tzu’s coat types affect matting?

Yes. Shih Tzu’s with a thicker and curlier coat type (such as the American or German lines) may be more prone to matting than those with a straighter and longer coat type (such as the traditional or Imperial lines).


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make Doggolab a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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