Some coats require considerably more maintenance than others. Typically, the longer, thicker or curlier the coat, the more brushing is required. While regular appointments with a groomer will certainly help maintain a coats condition, home grooming is also essential. While your groomer may be able to remove small knots and tangles without affecting the appearance of the desired cut, matting is much more serious and could mean your desired style is not achievable.
Matts can be a serious problem, which can cause a number of health issues if they are not dealt with appropriately. If left they can irritate a dogs skin, cause infections, cuts, sores and even result limited blood circulation or tearing of the skin. They can also hide other serious problems, such as growths appearing.
How can I remove matts?
Matts normally form in a mass close to the skin, which causes a webbing sort of effect. As matts cannot be brushed out, the only way to get on top of them is to ensure they are removed completely. The safest (and fairest) way to remove matts is to clip them out. This usually leaves the coat very short, because it essential from a safety perspective to clip under the matting, otherwise you risk catching the dogs skin and potentially causing serious cuts. You can buy matt splitting tools online and in some pet shops, however, these can be dangerous if not used correctly, so our advice would always be to seek professional advice from a qualified groomer before attempting any matt removal yourself.
How do I stop my dog getting matted?
If you have a breed that is prone to matting, then home maintenance is key. Some breeds require minimal brushing while others need to be brushed daily! If you are unsure, speak to your groomer. Some people decide to keep their dogs coat a shorter length (even if they prefer longer styles) because it’s realistically more manageable for them. Most groomers will be happy to have a coat consultation with you, to discuss what style may work best for you and your dog, based on their coat type and your lifestyle. We are also best placed to give you a realistic home grooming schedule, as well as recommend products and tools and give brushing demonstrations. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice, we love making your pooches look beautiful, so we are always willing to help!
What tools should I use to prevent matts?
For the majority of (long/curly haired) dogs, a slicker brush and a greyhound comb are essential tools! But you can ask your groomer what they’d recommend. A slicker brush will break up any knots forming in the coat (remember to brush everywhere, especially hard to reach areas!), once you’ve brushed the coat you should pass a comb through to ensure it doesn’t snag anywhere on any remaining knots – if it does, you know to continue working on those areas. Remember, if it doesn’t brush out they may be matts rather than knots. You can also buy a variety of detangling/conditioning sprays, which can help to make brushing easier. Speak to your groomer about specific products that they recommend for your particular dog.
Are there areas I should focus on?
Anywhere there is hair, you dog needs to be brushed. There are certainly areas that are more prone to matting or often forgotten. Behind the ears, the tummy, inside legs (“armpits” or “hygiene area”) and chest are common areas, also remember to brush the tops of feet, tail and ears.
At Bubble Bark, we will never subject a dog to any more than 15 minutes de-matting, in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act, 2006. We will not inflict any unnecessary stress or pain to your pet and therefore a clip off may be needed. We will always try to alert you at drop off if we think that a clipoff may be necessary. However, sometimes matting isn’t obvious (even to us as professionals!) until we’ve got your dog in the bath or under the dryer. Therefore, in some cases we may need to call you to discuss the best way forward.
If your dog has had to be shaved off due to matting, please keep in mind that it was the fairest, safest decision to make, and don’t worry – it’ll grow back 🙂 We know you don’t like it (and believe us, nor do we, we much prefer making your pup look gorgeous!) Consider it a “reset” of the coat, you and your groomer can now work together to get your pooch back to looking lovely, but also, feeling much better! We know that some coats are really hard to maintain, and that sometimes it can get a bit out of control, but we are here to help, and are more than happy to offer as much time and advice as you need.