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Matted Coat - What Now?

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

In our previous post, we explained why shaving certain breeds might be a bad idea.

“But, my groomer always shaves my dog!” - some of you must be wondering. Well, in many cases, if shaving your pet is suggested, then it is probably in your furbaby's best interest. Here's why:

  1. There's a medical reason to do so.

  2. Your best friend is a hair-coated breed, which can grow their coat to indeterminate lengths if aren't trimmed, and shaving/cutting its coat short is part of their grooming standard. As opposed to the double-coated breeds, shaving down hair-coated breeds, will not cause any damage to their coat.

  3. The coat is severely matted or pelted.

***Examples of hair-coated breeds: Standard/Miniature Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Irish Water Spaniel, Bearded Collie, Airedale, Giant/Standard/Miniature Schnauzer, Wirehaired Fox Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Wheaten Terrier, Bichon Frise, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Shih-Tzu, and Havenese.

In this post, we’d like to focus on the last point - the dreaded mats.

What is a mat?

Mats are simply hair tangles gone too far. They happen when a long coat is not brushed thoroughly, on a regular basis. The more severe the knotting gets, the tighter the mats become, getting closer to the skin and more difficult to remove. In the most extreme cases, the coat becomes pelted, resembling a tight “carpet” knitted all over the pet’s body. As a result, the mats will pull on the skin, restricting blood flow and movement of the pet, and leading to many dangerous complications.

***Do not attempt to bathe your pet if their coat is matted, because it will prevent the skin from drying properly, which can cause all sorts of infections. Plus, the mats will get even tighter as they dry!

Matted coat – what now?

Step 1

As your furball’s wellbeing always comes first, the first step towards a mat-free coat is to shave the already matted/pelted hair. It needs to be clipped from underneath the mats, close to the skin, because the clipper blade cannot cut through a mat itself. That is why the shave down will result in a short (1-2 cm) haircut. But, it grows back quicker than you might think!

Step 2

We can then keep your furball in your desired style and shave-free as long as you follow the recommended grooming schedule (4 to 6 weeks) and brush the coat at least 3-5 times a week to prevent matting in the future.

***Ask our groomer for a free consultation on choosing the right tools and best brushing technique to prevent matting of your furry friend’s coat.

Why not just brush out the mats?

Three simple reasons:

1. Humanity over vanity

Mats are painful. While a small single mat can usually be brushed out, brushing out a coat that is severely matted would be just excruciating to the pet. Our dematting policy puts your furbaby’s wellbeing first. If a pet that requires dematting for more than 10 minutes, or will not tolerate dematting due to pain, discomfort, and/or stress - our groomer will recommend a shave down. If still in doubt, you might want to take a second opinion before going ahead. You will probably find a groomer willing to brush the severe mats out, but please keep in mind what it would mean to your furry friend – hours of painful tugging and pulling on their fur and skin! Is it really worth it?

***A good groomer will never put your pet through unnecessary pain and discomfort by trying to demat an entire coat, or even single mats if severe enough.

2. Health risks

Mats can also hide many issues, including but not limited to: skin irritation, bruising, hot spots, cuts, sores, or bacterial infections, and can even house bugs such as fleas, ticks, lice, and other unwanted creepy crawlies or debris. By shaving the matting off we can find any potential issues and hopefully catch them before they become more serious.

3. Trauma

In general, dematting should be avoided when possible and is not recommended as a regular service. It teaches the pet that a grooming salon equals pain, and it stresses the pet out which will eventually contribute to stress induced health issues.

***Remember that any breed that has been shaved down needs extra protection from the elements, such as sun exposure or low temperatures!

To summarise, we’d love to keep your furball’s coat long as much as you do, and we’ll try our best to do so. However, we simply won’t do anything unnecessary at the expense of our four-legged customers. If we have a choice between shaving down a matted pet, or hours-long painful dematting - guess what we’d go for? The best cure is prevention - all you need is a regular grooming schedule and some quality time spent brushing your furball. Keep in mind that we charge per hour for both shaving and mat removal, so the better condition of your pet, the less time it will take us, and the less it will cost you!

Happy grooming!

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