Matted hair on pets is a problem, and a painful one for your dog. Many owners come in (particularly after winter) and they’ve just ‘let the dog go’ over winter because its cold. They think it just doesn’t look good and don’t realize that it’s very uncomfortable for your pet to have his or her hair matted. Every time they move that heavy clump of hair is pulling tightly on their thin tissue paper skin!
“Matting” refers to densely tangled clumps of fur in a pet’s coat. If a coat is not properly and/or frequently brushed, loose and live hair become embedded in large masses. Matting is common on non-shedding breeds of dogs and range from harmless to dangerous. A few small mats are common, especially around a dog’s ears or collar, and in between the legs. But when matting gets close to the skin, or there are many mats, it can become a problem.
Heavy matting can be even more of a problem. Matted hair can hold tears, feces and urine next to the skin. This can cause irritation, pain, and potential skin infection. Heavily matted hair can change a dog’s movement, cut off circulation, or hide infected wounds and fleas.
In addition to health problems, manual de-matting or a close shave are both uncomfortable for your dog. In extreme cases a dog may need to be sedated by a vet for a complete shave – that’s how painful it can be.
Shaving the hair off the dog comes with its own risks. Close shaves require changing and cooling blades of the clipper to protect dogs from heat burns. Friction burns (like a rope burn) are unfortunately possible because the moving parts of the clipper are so close to the dog’s skin. A dog’s skin is thin like tissue paper, and dense mats can cause it to become loose due to the weight of the matting. Minor cuts can sometimes be unavoidable if the matting is right against the skin and pulling tightly.
We will not try to brush out mats if it is causing pain to your dog. Severe mats will be shaved, but only after consulting with the pet’s owner.
When hair is this matted, groomers have to use a very low blade in order to get underneath the hair and cut it off. This puts a sharp, fast moving, hot piece of metal (the blade) right against the skin of your pet. This may result in razor burn or serious skin irritation, at best, and if your dog moves or jumps at the wrong moment, may result in a nick or serious cut.
After shaving, a pet may develop an itchy skin response. Owners should watch to ensure that constant scratching does not cause the skin to become irritated. While every care is taken, the salon will not be held responsible for rashes or cuts that occur due to the removal of matting.
How can I avoid this?
Regular and frequent grooming—especially brushing and combing—is absolutely necessary to not only prevent mats, but to keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy.
Make sure you have the right equipment – we can advise you on detanglers, brushes and combs to use.
Comb and/or brush your dog at least once a week, or more often if you know your dog is prone to matting.
Don’t bathe your dog at home if they are already matted. Bathing tightens mats, making them even more difficult to remove.
Don’t try to remove mats with scissors at home. It is too easy to injure your dog! If your dog only needs a few mats trimmed out, but isn’t ready for a complete groom, schedule an appointment for a tidy up and de-matting only.