How to Keep Poodle Hair from Matting
While poodles are hypoallergenic and don’t tend to shed much, their hair is surprisingly high maintenance. Poodle hair is particularly dense and curly, making it more prone to matting than most other dog breed’s hair. To keep it from matting, it’s important that you consistently brush, wash, and trim your poodle’s hair and use the right products so that it stays healthy and clean. If your poodle’s hair does mat, however, you can try working through the mats with a detangling spray and brush.
Providing Regular Hair Care
1. Brush your poodle’s hair 3 to 4 times per week.
While washing and grooming are important, the best way to keep your poodle’s hair from matting is to brush it about 3 to 4 times per week, or as often as needed to keep it tangle-free. Unlike many dog breeds, poodles have 2 layers of dense, curly hair, which causes it to mat quickly and tightly. Therefore, it’s important that you brush your poodle as regularly as possible to prevent potentially painful mats from forming.
- While all poodle hair is generally thick and curly, there are variations in thickness and texture from one dog to another. If your poodle has particularly thick hair, you’ll likely need to brush their hair every day to keep it from matting.
- Check your poodle’s coat at the end of every day to remove any twigs, leaves, or debris that are tangled in the hair.
2. Use slicker and bristle brushes to keep your poodle’s hair tangle-free.
Because poodle’s hair is particularly thick and prone to matting, you’ll likely need 2 types of dog brushes to de-tangle your poodle’s hair and prevent matting. A “slicker brush” is a wide brush with short bristles that will help remove dead hair and debris while detangling your poodle’s thick, curly shorter hair layer. In addition, you may need a “bristle brush,” which is a longer bristle brush that will help remove tangles from your poodle’s longer hairs.
- If you trim your poodle’s hair so that it’s short, you may only need a “slicker brush” to prevent matting.
3. Switch from the slicker to bristle brush as needed for your poodle’s hair.
Because the length and texture of poodle hair varies depending on their size, hairstyle, and specific breed or mix, there are no hard and fast rules about how to best brush your poodle’s hair. Therefore, you’ll likely need to assess which brush to use and switch as you go through your poodle’s hair.
- While it varies, try starting with a bristle brush for longer hair, such as your poodle’s tail, sides, and the top of their head, and switch to a slicker brush for the shorter, tighter hair, such as their face, paws, and armpits.
4. Wash your poodle with shampoo and conditioner every 3 weeks.
To keep your poodle’s hair from matting, give your poodle a bath at least once every 3 weeks using a gentle shampoo and dog hair detangling conditioner. This will help minimize matting and make it easier for you to brush through your poodle’s thick layers of hair.
- To ensure that you use a shampoo that is gentle enough for your poodle’s sensitive skin, look for options that are labeled “hypoallergenic” or “for sensitive skin.”
- If you decide to get your poodle groomed once every 3 weeks, you can skip this step.
5. Trim your poodle’s hair every 4 to 6 weeks.
To help keep your poodle’s hair healthy and free of mats, use electric dog hair clippers to trim your poodle’s hair into your preferred length and style every 4 to 6 weeks. Trimming your poodle’s hair will help remove dead ends and damaged hair, which can cause matting, while keeping your poodle’s hair from getting too long and more prone to tangling.
- You can either trim your poodle’s hair yourself or take your poodle to a professional groomer to get their hair trimmed.
- If you plan on clipping your poodle’s hair yourself, it can be helpful to start doing so while they are young. That way, they’ll get accustomed to the activity and the sound of the electric clippers, making them less likely to get stressed or agitated.
- If your poodle has any mats that are too thick to remove with electric clippers, you may need to use scissors to cut the mats out. This can be difficult and dangerous to do, however, so you may need to take your poodle to the groomer to get the mats removed.
6. Take your poodle to a professional if you don’t groom them at home.
If you choose not to bathe and trim your poodle at home, taking your poodle to get professionally groomed every 3 to 6 weeks will help keep their hair from matting. Because groomers are trained to take care of many types of dog breeds, including poodles, they’ll likely know the best ways to brush, bathe, and trim your poodle and have some of the best tools and products to work with.
- Even if you want to groom your poodle at home, it may be helpful to take them to a professional groomer a few times so you can talk to the groomer and watch to see how they help prevent and remove mats from your poodle’s hair.
Maintaining a Healthy, Hassle-Free Coat
1. Give your poodle food that is high in healthy fats and protein.
To help keep your poodle’s hair healthy and prevent matting, ask your vet to recommend a high protein and high-fat food that will suit your poodle’s dietary needs. Both protein and healthy fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, keep your dog’s skin healthier, which cuts down on dander that can cause matting or make matting worse.
- In addition, healthy fats and protein help stimulate healthy hair growth, which will make your poodle’s hair less prone to matting
- A protein deficiency can cause your dog’s hair to become dry and brittle, which can cause it to break and mat.
- In addition to asking your vet for a recommendation, you can also ask your vet about supplementing your dog’s diet with chicken and flaxseed oil to ensure they get the fats and proteins they need.
2. Avoid putting your poodle in clothes to help prevent matting.
While it can look quite adorable, putting your poodle in clothes can create friction between your dog’s hair and the fabric, which can cause your poodle’s hair to mat. Therefore, unless it’s necessary to protect your poodle from extreme cold, avoid putting them in clothes to help keep their hair tangle-free.
- Because poodles have sensitive skin, wearing clothes can also cause irritation and rashes.
3. Shave your poodle’s hair if you want it to be maintenance-free.
Keeping your poodle’s hair mat-free requires consistent maintenance, which can take a lot of time and, if you use a professional groomer, money. If you want to keep your poodle’s hair free of mats but don’t want to put in the time and effort to brush, bathe, and trim their hair consistently, shaving your poodle’s hair may be the best option for you.
- You can shave your poodle at home by setting your dog hair trimmer on the shortest setting, or take your poodle to the groomer to get shaved every 3 to 6 weeks.
- You can also keep your poodle’s hair partially shaved, or clip it into a shorter trim. While these options will still require regular brushing, partially shaved hair is less likely to mat than longer hair.
1. Coat your poodle’s hair with a pet hair detangling spray.
First, spray the pet hair detangling spray over your poodle’s hair until it’s completely coated. Use your fingers to massage the detangling spray into the matted clumps.
- You may need to do a few extra sprays over the mats to make sure they’re completely saturated.
2. Leave the detangling spray to dry for at least 6 hours.
Once your poodle’s hair is saturated, let the solution dry for 6 and to 24 hours. This will give the solution time to condition the matted hair so it’ll be easier for you to pull apart without breaking it.
- You can start checking your poodle’s hair to see if it’s dry after 6 hours, but it may take up to 24 hours for the spray to completely absorb into the hair.
3. Use your fingers and a brush to gently pull apart the mats.
First, use your fingers to gently pull apart the mats as much as possible to minimize breakage. Once the clumps are separated, use a slicker brush to work through the remaining mats one layer at a time.
- While the detangling spray will help loosen the mats, this process can still take quite a bit of time. It’s important to work gently and slowly with your fingers and the brush, however, so that you don’t break your poodle’s hair or cause any unnecessary discomfort.
- After brushing out the mats, you can run over your poodle’s hair with a detangling comb to ensure that you’ve gotten all the knots out.
4. Use a pet clipper to cut off the clumps if the matting is severe.
If you’re unable to work through the mats with your fingers and a slicker brush, you may need to use a pet hair clipper to cut the mats off. In most cases, you’ll be able to use a #5 or #7 clipper blade to cut through the hair, but if the matting is particularly severe, you may need to use a #8, #9, or #10 blade.
- While you can use scissors to cut the matting off, it can be dangerous since you could easily cut through your dog’s skin.