Best Dog Dematting Combs

Updated October 2021
Header Image
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

36 Models Considered
20 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best dog dematting combs

Maintaining your dog’s coat helps it stay comfortable and supports your pet’s healthy and happy life. A clean, well-groomed coat regulates temperature, maintains moisture, and helps prevent itching and irritation. It also looks, feels, and smells good. Dog coats vary, and different breeds require different tools and care. For dogs with long, fine hair that can become tangled, a dog dematting comb is an essential tool.

Matting occurs when the fur becomes so tangled that it sticks together. Mats can be small or large, and at their worst can block moisture and air circulation in the coat, causing or exacerbating skin conditions. Mats occur in areas where the fur is pressed on and doesn’t move for a long time, such as under the collar or on the hindquarters. Matting can occur if the dog isn’t groomed often enough.

Our buying guide has all the information you need to find the dematting comb that matches your dog’s coat so combing doesn’t cause pain or discomfort. Check out our favorites too. Soon, you and your pet will have a grooming routine that is familiar and even fun for your dog.

dog dematting combs
While there are many dogs that tolerate and even enjoy grooming, some may never sit still for it. In some cases, particularly for larger dogs, hiring a professional groomer might be the best course of action.

Key considerations

Matting 101

Mats are often found around a dog’s legs, rear belly, and neck. They occur when the dog’s fur, including shed fur, gets tangled and stuck together. Mats may start loose, but over time they can tighten and grow, flattening against and potentially irritating the skin. Cats may also develop mats, but they are more fastidious about self-grooming than dogs.

Some breeds are more prone to matting than others, while some breeds don’t suffer from this issue at all. Dogs that are most prone to matting are those with long hair that doesn’t shed and dogs with a thick undercoat that frequently sheds, including poodles, bichon frises, collies, and shepherds.

Types of dematting brushes

Removing mats and detangling hair is not easily accomplished with a standard dog brush or comb. While the tools don’t necessarily have special names, you can divide the options into four general categories.

Slicker brush: This brush has long, thin wires. The slicker brush is useful for basic grooming as well as removing loose, simple mats from dogs with long hair and no undercoat.

Rake: This versatile tool has small metal blades that can break through mats. The blades are rounded so as to not hurt your dog. Most blades are spaced somewhat generously apart in order to avoid pulling or tugging on the coat. The rake is ideal for serious tangles in dogs with thick coats.

Comb: The comb has long, thick, durable teeth to pick out the most stubborn mats on dogs with thick or fluffy coats. This tool is only used for dematting and isn’t effective for grooming.

Splitter: A mat splitter doesn’t untangle a mat but cuts it up and out. This is your last resort for the toughest of mats. A splitter looks like a hook that has a sharp edge for grabbing and slicing through mats. Use this tool with extreme caution.

Dematting

Dematting is not the same as basic grooming. Even if your dog is comfortable with a brush, they might not enjoy a dematting comb because it can tug on or even irritate the skin. What’s more, grooming can be quick and easy while dematting takes more time and calls for more focus and effort from you.

It’s best to get your dog comfortable with the grooming process at an early age. Start with a short brush, offer plenty of praise, and reward your puppy with treats. Increase the frequency of grooming as well as the duration until your pet is familiar with the process and remains calm. When dematting, sit in a comfortable position where you have control of both the dog and the comb. It might be worthwhile to have a friend nearby who can distract and comfort your dog if it grows uneasy.

You might try a dematting spray, which can loosen up matted areas to be brushed out. However, the spray is only effective on fairly loose mats, and the fur still requires a thorough combing.

STAFF
BestReviews

Features

Size

Consider the overall size of the brush as well as the size of the bristles or blades.

First, you want a brush that is easy to wield and is appropriate for your dog’s size. If it’s too large, it might be uncomfortable to use or ineffective on your pet. A brush that’s too small could be equally ineffective and take more time to remove mats.

Second, the blades or bristles should be long enough to reach through the mat to the skin. The length of blades you need depends on the length and thickness of your dog’s coat.

Undercoat combs

Some dog dematting combs focus on the undercoat to tackle the matting in certain breeds. These have bristles or blades that are long and closer together, better for grabbing loose fur and removing mats without disturbing the top coat.

Double-sided brushes

Some dematting combs include two different types of comb, one on each side. In these models, one side has widely spaced blades designed for dematting and the other side has bristles for basic grooming.

Material

Look for a dematting comb that has teeth, blades, or wires made of stainless steel. This is the most effective option when dealing with mats. The teeth won’t bend or break and will hold up well over time. Stainless steel combs can also be used on wet or damp fur and won’t rust.

Comfort

While not necessarily a priority, if you’re going to be regularly using the comb and you have a large dog, you might want to look for a dematting comb with an ergonomic handle. Particularly when it comes to tougher mats, the ergonomic grip will help ease the tension and exertion on your hand and wrist.

dog dematting combs
DID YOU KNOW?
Come summertime, certain breeds can benefit from having their body shaved in order to be more comfortable in hotter temperatures. This is also a useful way to prevent mats.
STAFF
BestReviews

Accessories

Dog shampoo: Burt’s Bees Calming Shampoo for Dogs
One important part of grooming involves regular bathing. We recommend this gentle and soothing shampoo from Burt’s Bees that‘s infused with lavender and green tea.

Dog dryer: Flying Pig Grooming High-Velocity Dog Dryer
After a bath, a dog with a long, thick coat benefits from a powerful dryer that can dry fur quickly and avoid tangles and mats. We recommend this powerful yet gentle option from Flying Pig Grooming that has variable airflow and temperature settings.

Dog toothpaste: Arm & Hammer Pet Dental Care Kit
Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is just as important as maintaining its coat. We recommend this toothpaste and double-sided brush combo from Arm & Hammer to help you get your dog into a healthy habit.

Dog dematting comb prices

Inexpensive: You can find a small, simple comb or slicker brush for around $10.

Mid-range: Most quality dog dematting combs, including stainless steel rakes, cost between $10 and $15.

Expensive: For over $15, you can find a range of large dematting combs, including two-in-one options as well as those with ergonomic handles. You likely won’t have to spend more than $20.

We recommend creating a schedule for your dog’s grooming and regular care. Dogs like routine, so yours could start to enjoy the daily combing and teeth brushing.

STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Demat dry fur. Do not attempt to remove mats when your dog’s fur is wet. The moisture can worsen the mat and also cause added discomfort for your furry friend. (However, in some cases, misting the mat might help.)
  • Don’t use scissors. You might be tempted to use scissors to remove your dog’s mats, but don’t. Any sudden movement by your dog and you could cut the skin and cause serious injury.
  • Watch your dog for reactions. Any time you're tending to your dog’s coat, an adverse reaction is possible. Keep an eye out for bumps, redness, or visible signs of discomfort during and after combing.
  • Praise and reward your dog. However comfortable your dog may be with simple brushing, dematting can be annoying. Make the experience as pleasant as possible by rewarding your pooch with treats and praise when you’re done.
dog dematting combs
Ask your vet about any issues or concerns you have about your dog’s coat. They can direct you to the best grooming habits for your dog’s breed, especially if your dog has any sensitivities or special needs.

FAQ

Q. How can I prevent mats in my dog’s coat?

A. Regular grooming is the best way to prevent mats. The environment, however, may also play a factor. In dry seasons, particularly winter in colder climates, mats are more likely. Use a humidifier or diffuser to add moisture to the air to help maintain your pet’s coat. While you shouldn’t try to use a dematting comb on wet fur, it’s recommended that you mist your dog’s coat lightly if you’re brushing and grooming when the air is dry. Regular bathing can also help prevent mats. The frequency will depend on your dog, but once every month or two is common. Also, a simple way to prevent matting around the neck is to remove your dog’s collar when it’s indoors.

Q. How often should I groom my dog?

A. For a dog with matting or shedding issues, it’s recommended that you brush it two or three times a week. How often you brush depends on the breed: some dogs need daily brushing while others can be brushed once a week. During the winter, you might want to groom more frequently because the low temperatures and lack of humidity can dry out coats and increase the chance of mats. Regular brushing decreases the frequency or even eliminates mats altogether. Brush gently in one small area at a time, following the direction the hair grows and praising your dog along the way.

Q. How dangerous are mats?

A. Mats can cause slight discomfort initially, but they can grow over time and start to irritate the skin, trap moisture, and lead to sores and infections. What’s more, mats can also block access to the skin, which means it’s harder to identify any issues. A disheveled and tangled coat can attract and easily hide ticks or fleas, for example. A healthy, clean coat helps dogs maintain their body temperature and feel comfortable, and mats hinder that ability. The longer the mats are left alone, the bigger problems they cause and the harder they are to remove.

 

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
See more
Our Top Picks