Matting is Painful! Imagine how your head would feel if your hair was matted. Imagine trying to brush those mats out. Now imagine how your pet feels! But for dogs the matter is worse. Mats mostly occur in the groin area, the armpits, and around tails. All of those areas rip and pull when the pet moves or is picked up, so the hair is constantly being tugged and ripped - ouch! Pet’s skin is just as sensitive as our own skin.
What if I can't get the mats out? If the mats are not brushed out before they become too tight to remove safely, they will eventually become an extreme health hazard to your pet. In the worst case, the mats can rip the skin. Wetting the pet will just make it worse, and the mats will weave tighter and pull even harder on the skin. The only humane way to remove mats at this stage is to have the pet shaved. Even then, the pet will be at risk from clipper rash and possible nicks from the clipper blades, as mats are usually very close to the skin. This is especially dangerous for cats and puppies. NEVER attempt to remove mats with scissors, as the skin can be easily cut open unintentionally. Fleas and ticks can hide under matted coats making their extermination almost impossible. If the mats cover the 'private' areas, urine and faeces will be pressed against the skin or stick in the coat, causing further irritation and possible infection and rotting of the coat and skin.
How can I keep my pet mat free? The amount of coat care will depend on how much coat your pet has. Medium to long coats, and those with more undercoat will require more attention than short coats. Even short coats need some kind of attention. The proper tools are essential. The Basic Tools required for most coats consist of:
- A slicker brush
- A metal comb
- Dematting spray with silicone
- Good quality shampoo and conditioner
Depending on your particular breed, other tools may be recommended. These tools should be available from a local Pet Supply shop or available to purchase at Doncaster Dog Grooming. Your Groomer should also be able to help you find the proper tools.
I have the tools, now what do I do? On most breeds, it is recommended to start at the bottom of the feet and pushing the coat up with one hand using the slicker brush to brush the coat below with your other hand. The slicker should be used to pull down a small bit of hair at a time, brushing all the way to the skin. Work your way up using this method. Once you have gone over the entire coat you can then run a metal comb through the coat to find any tangles and knots you have missed. Make sure that you can part the coat to the skin with the comb. Many people spend plenty of time brushing their dog with a brush unsuitable for the job, only to find that they have merely been brushing over the top. The coat they thought was well brushed, is in fact solidly matted near the skin.
I Found A Mat! Now is when you use a little elbow grease and A LOT of care. Mats are usually in delicate areas and ever since they were formed, they have been tugging on the dogs skin. That means, it will hurt a lot if you pull it. You must hold the mat in one hand near to the skin, dampen it with a dematting spray, and work the mat out a few hairs at a time to break it up. If you have not trained your dog to be handled for brushing and combing then you'll have quite a job on your hands and will probably need the help of another person to hold the dog.
Why not just take the dog to a Groomer? Yes, you can take your dog to the Groomer to have it properly groomed, but do not expect de-matting to be a regular part of your grooming. It takes a LOT of extra time and care to de-mat a pet, and you will be charged an additional fee for it on top of your regular grooming charge. Do not be surprised if your Groomer will not de-mat. If the matting is too extensive, the only option they will give you is to shave your pet. A caring groomer will not torture a pet just because you do not want it shaved. Remember, it is not the groomer's fault your pet has fallen into this condition.
REMEMBER - DAILY COAT CARE IS TRULY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PET'S OWNER.
You will find in the long run, proper coat maintenance will cost you less and your pet will be much healthier and happier.
Reproduced with the kind permission of Watt-a-dog 2010