Dog Grooming

Severely Matted Dog Paws


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If you’re dealing with severely matted dog paws, we can help. Our dog Barley has this issue quite often, and we didn’t know it was a problem until he was in pain, unfortunately. Below you can read how to know your pup has severely matted dog paws and what to do about them.

Signs of Severely Matted Dog Paws

When a dog has matted paws, the hair in between the paw pads is matted. Matted hair collects fur around it, which then can cause the entire foot to have matted fur. When that happens, there are signs that let you know you’re dealing with severely matted dog paws.

Slipping on Smooth Floors

The purpose of padded paws is to grip the ground when out in the wild and the floors inside of the house. They are just like the soles of shoes. When those soles are covered with matted hair, your dog will slip all over the place.

So, if you notice that your dog is suddenly having a hard time walking without slipping, check the paws for matted fur covering the paws.

Licking the Paws

Since matted hair is tight, it doesn’t allow air through, which can quickly cause skin irritation. While you may not be able to see the skin irritation through the matted dog hair, licking is a sign that there is something wrong with it.

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Biting and Pulling the Paws

Dogs know there’s something wrong with their paws, so they will attempt to fix the problem themselves by biting and pulling the matted dog hair. The problem is that severely matted dog paws can be nearly impossible to treat with just biting and pulling. The matted dog hair is just too thick.


When a dog’s skin gets really irritated, your dog may start limping. In severe cases, dogs will start to bleed as well. While dog owners often think the dog injured himself/herself, it’s really the dog’s hair being matted.

severly matted dog paws

How to Treat Severely Matted Dog Paws

There are many ways to treat severely matted dog paws and each one becomes more invasive as you try to get through the matted dog hair.

Start with Dog Scissors

This will have to be done slowly and in sections. Start with small mats instead of larger ones because every small mat you get through will release some of the hair from large mats.

This set comes with different sizes for the scissors for long hair dogs.

dog scissors for matted dog paws

Add Detangling Spray

If you’re unable to get through any of the matting, try to spray detangling on it to see if loosens up. It makes the dog’s fur slippery, so sometimes it helps separate the tangled hairs.

Use the Right Tools

In addition to dog clippers, dematting combs are effective since they have sharp teeth on them. Some of them have razers in between the teeth to help cut through the matted area.

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dog mat remover for dog paws

The above mat removal tool is great for a dog’s body, but not so good for a dog’s paws since you have to work with such a small area. Sometimes, it’s possible to use the outer tooth to grip some of the matted fur, but it usually hurts our dog when we try. If you want to try it on your dog, though, Amazon has a good one:


slicker brush for severely matted dog paws

The slicker brush doesn’t work well for us, but some people swear by it for getting through stubborn mats.


The only thing that has ever worked for us is the small de-matting comb and dog clippers.

The other tool that we’ve brought out in severe cases is the dog clippers. This set has a narrow head that can be used on severely matted dog paws. It’s great for cutting through severe matting. Just be careful you don’t knick the paws, especially if you’re doing it without the guard.

dog clippers for severely matted dog paws


Use a Professional Groomer

If you’ve tried to do it yourself and nothing is working, it may be time to bring in the experts. If you’re embarrassed by the mats on your dog, don’t worry. Professional groomer deal with severe matting all the time. It’s not a reflection of you as a pet parent.

Dog groomers have a lot of experience with matted dog fur. They can get through stubborn mats in much less time than most people can do it.

The bonus of using a groomer is that your dog’s coat will also get a good brushing, which most pet parents appreciate, especially with long coats.

Preventing Severely Matted Dog Paws

After dealing with severely matted dog paws, you’ll likely not want to do it again. The best way to prevent it from happening is regular brushing. This may mean daily brushing for some dogs.

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Matting happens when loose hair tangles with other hair. That results in more dead hair, which collects more hair to make the matting worse.

While the paws are hard to brush, it’s important, especially since some dogs are susceptible to matting on the paws. It’s even more important to take care of the fur on the paws if your fur baby is susceptible to skin issues.

Using detangling spray during regular brushing can keep the hair from getting tangled and matted.

Overview of What to Do With Severely Matted Dog Paws

Long-haired dogs are more susceptible to matted dog paws, but it can happen to small dogs as well. Matting happens when loose hair tangles with other hair, which then causes hair to die and entangle with more hair. Severely matted dog paws mean that it’s hard to get through the knots or matting in between the paw pads.

Using dog scissors and a de-matting comb is the way we get through matted dog paws. We sometimes bring in dog clippers to help in severe cases.

While slicker brushes are good for regularly brushing your dog’s body, it’s not as effective in getting through matted dog fur.

When the matted dog paws are too difficult to get through, consider using a groomer. You can prevent it from happening again by brushing your fur baby regularly, especially the problem areas.

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