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The elegant Havanese has a smooth, silky coat, but owners know that there’s lots of care and time involved in keeping it that way. Just like other breeds with long hair, Havanese’s coat is prone to matting, unfortunately.
In the following sections, we’ll discuss everything an owner should know about a Havanese’s coat – including what to do if it gets matted.
Is Havanese’s Hair Prone to Matting?
As mentioned, Havanese’s hair is prone to matting. They need to be brushed and combed regularly to avoid this problem.
Unfortunately, matting and tangles are extremely painful and dangerous for your pup. Mats and tangles are highly likely to form because of friction (i.e., around the collar), in the areas on which the dog sits, or around debris or dirt stuck in the coat.
Why Is It Important to Prevent Your Havanese from Having Matted Hair?
When not properly cared for, a Havanese’s hair becomes tangled, forming knots. If not brushed, these knots become larger and larger as more, longer hair gets stuck in the tangled hair. It is important to prevent your Havanese from having matted hair for multiple reasons.
First, smaller mats are uncomfortable for your dog, while larger ones become downright painful. In some cases, they are so painful that owners must shave the coat to remove the tangles. Also, the matted hair acts as a trap for dirt and debris, which can irritate the dog’s sensitive skin. In some cases, major mats can impact blood circulation and lead to skin infections.
Unfortunately, some mats are not as easy to find as others. Some may be easy to spot if they are on the exterior, but mats can also form close to the dog’s skin, so they’ll be more difficult to find. Also, if your dog swims (even during bath time), it is more likely to get matted hair. Generally, it’s recommended to brush the coat before the bath.
How to Keep a Havanese’s Hair from Matting
Establishing a regular grooming routine is the best way to keep your dog’s hair from matting. You also need to get your puppy used to grooming as soon as possible, even if it may not need as much maintenance when it’s small.
Regular bathing, brushing, and combing are key to preventing mats.There are also many dog-friendly products on the market that help with this task.
Below, there are some tips on what you can do to prevent the Havanese’s hair from matting.
1. Brush and Comb
Daily brushing and combing will keep the hair untangled and free of debris. You need to make sure you comb or brush all the way to the skin, not just the hair on the top, otherwise, mats close to the skin may form. Make sure you invest in high-quality brushes and combs appropriate for your dog, so they won’t scratch or hurt the skin.
Another tip is to always condition the hair when you bathe your dog. There are also products like conditioning gels that don’t need to be applied when bathing (they work on dry hair, too). Conditioner helps to make the hair smoother and silkier, so it’ll be easier to brush and comb.
3. Remove the Collar
As discussed above, friction is one of the main causes of matted hair. Remove the collar and harness when they are not necessary, such as when your dog is indoors. The parts underneath the collar and harness often get mats a lot easier than the rest of the hair for this reason.
4. Keep the Coat Short
The longer your dog’s hair, the easier it gets tangled. Monthly visits to a professional groomer are recommended to keep the coat at a manageable level. It’s always best to prevent mats and tangles rather than treat them, so you should go to a groomer even if your dog doesn’t have them – they can trim the hair, which prevents matting in the first place.
Can You Detangle a Havanese Without Shaving?
Unfortunately, even with proper grooming, tangled hair may still happen, especially when it comes to Havanese dogs. However, to detangle the knots without shaving it all off, you need to check your dog every day.
The easiest way to do this is to feel their fur. If you feel any knots or tangles, it’s important to start detangling them right away, as they become larger the longer you wait. Dematting your pup may be quite challenging and requires a lot of patience. This process may be very long, depending on how matted the hair is.
However, it may still be a preferable alternative to completely shaving it off. If the hair is too tangled or is painful for the dog, shaving may still be the only option.
How to Detangle Havanese Hair
With that said, let’s take a look at how to detangle your Havanese.
Step 1: Gather the Supplies
It’s recommended to use a spray (with water or, even better, detangling conditioner) to make the hair moist (but not very wet). You’ll also want to place a towel underneath (that will catch the loose hairs), a wide-tooth comb and brush, and bathing supplies. If the knots are very tight, you may also need scissors or clippers to cut the fur loose.
Step 2: Lightly Wet the Dog’s Coat
Use the spray to wet the coat and make it easier to detangle. It’s important not to comb or brush your dog when the hair is wet after a bath. Although it may seem easier, it is actually more difficult because the wet hairs are more likely to get tangled.
Ideally, you should bathe your dog, let the hair get dry naturally, then brush it. However, in case of major knots, using a conditioning spray for tangled hair may help you loosen up the mats easier.
Step 3: Use an Appropriate Comb or Brush to Work Through the Mats
With lots of patience and care, start combing from the tail toward the head. You should use gentle movements, first trying to loosen the knots as much as possible, then brushing them away. If the knots are too tight, you can use the scissors to cut through them and loosen them up.
Step 4: Wash, Rinse, and Dry
Once you are done with all the matted hair, make sure you wash your dog’s fur with shampoo and dry it with a towel. While working through the mats, it is highly likely that dust and debris got loose and mixed up with the rest of the hair, which can lead to more knots. Hence, it’s important to make sure their coat is clean when you are done to prevent further matting.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
Here are some mistakes to avoid when removing mats:
- If you use scissors to loosen a mat, make sure you keep the tool away from the dog’s skin (to avoid potential injuries)
- Always make sure a mat can only be removed by using the scissors, otherwise try to use only combing and brushing
- When cutting, it helps to place a comb between a mat and the skin, hence it’ll act as a barrier between the scissors and the dog’s skin
- Don’t comb or brush only the top layer of the fur – make sure you reach all the way to the skin (without scratching or hurting the dog)
Additionally, here are some tips and tricks to remove mats easier:
- Before combing, you can try to loosen the knot with your fingers a bit
- Always start combing the knot from the furthest point from the skin
- Use small strokes when brushing or combing
- Give your pup lots of treats and take multiple breaks
- Always start with the smaller mats and go for the larger ones later
- Try to hold the hair at the base and brush or comb from the inside out (once you’re done detangling)
- Best to brush in the direction the hair grows (but avoid applying too much pressure, which can force the teeth of the comb into the dog’s skin)
Finally, there are a few things you most likely have in your pantry that will help you detangle the dog’s hair. Coconut oil and olive oil are perhaps two of the most popular choices for dog owners. These oils will also leave the dog’s coat shiny and healthy thanks to their properties.
You can simply put the coconut oil or the olive oil on the clump of hair and massage it into it with your fingers. Then, with patience, you can start working on the clump with the appropriate comb or brush as usual.
All in all, Havanese dogs have luxurious coat, but it needs daily care to remain healthy and free of tangles. Ideally, you should brush or comb it every day to avoid problems – it’s easier to prevent rather than treat.
However, it’s impossible not to get our dog’s hair matted at some point, so we’ve walked you through some steps to help you remove mats and tangles. Also, it’s recommended to run your fingers through your dog’s fur every day to find knots when they are very small, so you can remove them much easier and avoid having to shave the coat off.