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Be VERY careful cutting mats out. I've seen many cases of owners leaving holes in their dogs and cats by using scissors to remove mats.

If you can't hold your fingers between the mat and skin, you'll have to use clippers. Luckily, if you hold the untangled hair out of the way when you clip, it will usually fall over the bald spot and you can't really even see it.

Sometimes they can be picked out, but clipping them is the safest way to go. To prevent them, use a fine toothed comb and make sure you get down to the skin the entire time you're combing.
 
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