Q: During the school holidays, my Poodle went out a lot, and each time she returned, her fur was matted! My husband and I spent hours detangling her fur. What are some grooming tips to keep my furkid knot-free? 

A: Since Poodle fur is very fine and naturally curly, the tendency to get mats and tangles is high. A severely matted poodle is not a happy poodle—tangled fur and resulting mats pull on your dog’s skin, leading to skin irritation, pain and discomfort. If left unchecked, it can reach a stage where it is too tangled and can only be fixed by clipping the dog bald. To keep you and your Poodle happy, here are some tips to prevent the problem.

Daily brushing will prevent small tangles from becoming large clumps of knotted fur. With a good metal comb, slicker brush and pin brush, you should be able to comb out minor tangles. Should you find more problematic knots that can’t be easily separated with your fingers or a slicker brush, use a de-matting brush to separate them. Pay special attention to matting hotspots, such as the mouth area, ears, under the armpits, legs, feet, tail, and around the belly. If your pooch is distressed or frightened, consider stopping the process and resuming later. Speak to your Poodle in a calm voice, and never yell or scold him during the process.

While it may be cute to dress your Poodle up, dog clothes and even walking harnesses and collars can cause matted fur. If it is necessary to use a harness when walking your dog, make sure it is not too tight and take it off as soon as possible post-walk. If your furkid’s hair is getting long, inspectand separate any tangles as soon as possible before any matting has the opportunity to worsen.

If your Poodle becomes wet from rain or swimming at the beach, make sure you bathe him as soon as you get home, using a dog conditioner to soften his coat. After bathing, avoid leaving your dog’s hair to air-dry. Instead, blow-dry with a hairdryer. Brush his fur to leave it soft and fluffy.

Finally, as a Poodle paw-rent, you need to commit to a regular grooming regime. Trimming of fur has to be done every four to six weeks, as once the fur grows beyond a certain length, tangles become inevitable.