What if my dog is Matted?
Many breeds of dogs that have fluffy coats, mixed coats, or curly coats can be prone to mats. A mat is essentially a group of tangles in your dogs coat that was left unbrushed for too long that tightened into a thick patch we call a mat. Mats can also worsen with wet or snowy weather, if you dog goes somewhere where they get very dirty, play hard, or simply are not groomed often enough.
Matting in coats can cause a variety of health problems for your pet; it reduces air circulation to the skin causing hot spots, bacterial or fungal infections, and even risk of fleas or other parasites hiding inside. The skin underneath the mats is often raw or inflamed, at the very least irritated. Matted parts of your dog’s coat will not dry properly and, if left untreated, could lead to rotting fur and skin. Sometimes mats even occur in places where urine or feces can get stuck or embedded in the fur putting your dog at risk for further infection. In extreme cases, mats in certain areas like joints or legs can reduce the mobility of your dog’s limbs.
Due to this matting, your dog’s fur will need to be shaved short and/or close to the skin in some or many areas. Matted fur rests tightly against the skin and a short blade is often the only way to remove it. In addition to this, it is important to note that to return an extremely matted dog’s coat back to a healthy starting point, the required grooming session could be long and tiring, and your pup may need some calm and quiet time afterwards to rest.
Our team here at Bellevue Pet Spa would be happy to show you the recommended way to brush and comb your pup to avoid mats in the future if needed, but unfortunately due to the severity of the mats at this time, small or large areas of your dog’s fur may have to be shaved out or cut short. It is unfeasible to de-mat/brush out the coat at this time as this would cause excessive pain and stress to your pet. Think about it like this, would you go to the hairdressers without combing or brushing your hair for six weeks and expect the service to be comfortable and pain-free? You probably would not enjoy it, which is why your dog will not enjoy the dematting process even if it were possible.
There are many ways to avoid extensive matting. For many breeds that are prone to mats, our recommended solution is something called line brushing. At home all it requires is something called a greyhound comb, a long metal comb with long teeth varying degrees apart, and a slicker brush, usually a curved brush with man small curved wire pins (both available at most pet stores and here in the shop.)
With these two tools, daily or almost daily brushing, and recommended professional grooming, you can avoid mats, pain, and the shaving of your pup, allowing your pup to have a better quality of life. Line brushing is gentle and easy on the dog’s skin when done correctly, and it is an effective way to work the coat down to the skin.
Hold or push up the coat with one hand, parting it, and work evenly over the pet. This can be done with a comb or brush but usually the comb is just reserved for checking the work of the brush. With the slicker brush on the seam line you made, pull a small amount of fur down with each stroke. Do not move to the next section until the brush glide smoothly and the skin at the seam line can be seen. The motion used for line brushing is ‘pat and pull’, Softly pat the coat with the full pad of the brush and pull out and away from the skin with each stroke, leave the wrist in neutral position and don’t flick it to avoid puncturing the dog’s skin or causing brush burn. Few pets will object once this technique is mastered. For more information YouTube or Google ‘Line Brushing’ or brushing for your specific breed and come back to the shop anytime with questions!