The Truth About Matting
In pet grooming “matting” is defined as thick tangled clumps of fur in an animal's coat. The area of fur becomes a solid mass which pulls at the skin preventing proper blood flow and air circulation.
While some coats mat quicker and easier than others, all matting can be avoided. While many factors contribute to matting, proper brushing and regular grooming are required to avoid it.
Yes, that is right. All matting can be avoided.
How does one avoid having an animal with a matted coat?
There are a few things you, as a responsible pet owner, can do to prevent this.
Every owner who has a dog with hair that continually grows should have the proper tools to maintain their pet’s coat.
The first tool needed is a slicker brush.
The second tool needed is a metal comb.
First, brush your dog from head to toe with the slicker brush. Depending on how thick your pet’s coat is, you may need to line brush. To do this, lift up a section of your pet’s coat and slowly brush the hair you are holding up, down.
The second step is to use your metal comb all over your dog just as you did the slicker brush. Again, depending on how thick your pet’s coat is you may need to line brush.
The general rule is, if you can run a metal comb through your pet’s coat without it snagging your pet is completely brushed out.
If you bathe your long-haired dog at home be sure to blow them dry. Left to air dry their hair becomes compacted leading to matting. The same goes for swimming. If your long-haired dog swims they should be blown dry.
Choosing a hair length you can manage
The easiest thing you can do to prevent your dog from becoming matted is to simply choose a haircut length you can maintain at home. For instance, if you won’t have the time to brush your dog between grooms or simply cannot physically brush your dog, choose a shave down (#5 or #7 clipper blades). A short haircut will allow you to not have to brush your dog between grooming for approximately 4-6 weeks, depending on how quickly their coat grows.
When you choose any length ½ inch or longer you need to be diligent with brushing! The longer the coat, the more frequent brushing is needed.
What’s the big deal about matting?
The truth is matting is painful.
Imagine not washing or brushing your own hair for 6 or more weeks at time then trying to run a comb through it. Grab a handful of your hair and pull on it for a minute, it is definitely an unpleasant experience. Now imagine if your entire head of hair was being pulled on like that for an extended period. This is how a dog feels when their coats have become matted.
Matting prevents your dog from being able to regulate their body temperature. Your dog can overheat in the warm months as no air can reach their skin. Matting creates a breeding ground for bacteria, infections, parasites, hot spots, skin lesions and tears.
Regular grooming is needed for any dog whose hair grows continually. Depending on hair length and at home maintenance, your dog should be groomed every 2-8 weeks. Prebooking your grooming appointments will help keep you and your dog on track to prevent matting.
Grooming a Matted Dog
As groomers we chose this profession to provide care for animals because we love them. When we see an animal pelted we sympathize deeply with the animal. Common phrases we hear include:
“Leave as much hair as you can”,
“I don’t want fluffy shaved”,
“Can’t you just brush it out?!”
“You’re just being lazy, that’s why you’re saying fluffy needs shaved”
“Oh my god fluffy is naked”
We cannot undo what you have chosen not to do for your dog since they were last groomed. There is no magic answer, we wish there was. The humane solution for your dog is to shave the matted coat to avoid causing pain. This leads to angry customers and bad reviews:
“Wow what a hack job”.
“My dog is naked; we will never be back!”
“You ruined my dog; I’m telling everyone not to come here”.
“Wow, now my dog looks dumb”.
Despite our best effort in safely removing a pelted coat the groomer often takes the brunt of a customer’s frustration with the outcome of a matted pet shave.
Often there is an adverse reaction to the removal of the pelted fur. Sometimes a tiny nick can occur because the matting pulls on a dogs’ skin, and we were unable to see it through the pelt resulting in a clipper blade catching it. Sometimes under the matting there are red marks, bruising, maggots, fleas, ticks, open sores. At times there are huge clumps of ear hair and mats we must gently pull from your dogs’ inner ear, which can cause your dog to shake their head and sometimes result in an ear infection. Common behaviours you might see after a matted shave down are licking, biting, scratching, hiding, withdrawing, shaking, hematomas, redness and skin irritations. These are not the fault of any groomer. These are the result of a matted coat. Prevention is key!
Your groomer is not lazy. They have not taken the easy way out. They care very much for your dog and want to do what is best for them. Please do not take your frustration out on the groomer who is trying hard to work with you to have your animal at their best.
Please take responsibility. Please do what you as a pet owner need to do to look after the animal you have chosen to care for.
Are you unsure of what your dogs’ grooming schedule should look like? Are you unsure whether you have the proper tools? Are you worried you are brushing your dog wrong? Are you overwhelmed by trying to decide on the right length?
Ask us. Plain and simple, ask for help. We are more than happy to help you answer these questions. We would love to show you how to look after your dog. Anything we can do to avoid your dog coming in matted we will.
Again, matting is preventable. Matting is painful. Matting is not okay.
In the interest of what is best for your dog, we here at Pampered Pups we will not demat your pet with excessive brushing. Going forward we will not be held responsible for the side effects of matting. We will be refusing service to owners who continually allow their dogs to become matted. We will no longer tolerate any verbal abuse to any of our staff.
If we work together, we can ensure each dog will be kept mat free.
The groomers who love your pets