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MATS: What To Do About Them

Your fuzzy little snow bunny has emerged from winter and you spaced out his groomings because you figured he would be cold with a haircut. Or maybe your water pup spent all summer at the lake cabin swimming his heart out. Even our double coated friends need frequent professional groomings and consistent brushing sessions at home to get out the undercoat that is trying to shed out. 

Matted coats can range from tiny tangles all over the body to a severe one piece sweater-like mat, encasing the entire body. The problem with mats is that they can hurt. For tangles, it’s uncomfortable to brush out and certain areas are more sensitive than others. For extreme mats, it’s not only uncomfortable, but impossible. 

The longer mats sit, the tighter they get. When mats are on the skin, they can cause redness, itching, and sores. Mats can tighten around the tail and limbs causing extreme pain and make your pet lethargic. They can also cause infections which can seep into the bloodstream making your pet ill or even cause death. We have also seen bruising and hematomas on the ears. 

That’s why it is so important to pay attention to the condition of the coat and keeping a regular schedule with your groomer. Your groomer should be able to tell you when they estimate the next grooming should occur based on how well you take care of the coat at home, what type of length you prefer, and how fast the hair grows. Certain breeds with wiry coats tend to grow slower and are easier to brush out. 

Some things you can do at home is use a slicker brush and “line brush” in sections. This means to lift the coat working all the way down near the skin and out in line. Always finish with a fine tooth metal comb to catch the spots you missed. Pay attention to the tail, underarms, ears, and where the collar and harness sits. Remove your pets collar and harness frequently and give that area a good brush. Always dry your dog off after he comes in from the wet weather and snow and also after swimming, and then brush him thoroughly. Brush him before and after a bath because water tightens up the mats. There are lots of pet detanglers and conditioners on the market that can make it easier for you and him, and your groomer should be able to recommend one to you. 

Just remember that spacing out your groomings to save in costs can actually end up costing more. Intensive brushing sessions or grueling shave downs typically cost more than a regularly scheduled grooming. It’s harder on your pet, can be dangerous, and result in brush burn or nicks from the clippers. It’s more time consuming, and a day at the spa should be fun and feel good. 

Why does my pet have to be so short?! Because our clippers need to get UNDERNEATH the mats and the mats hang out on the skin. Remember that groomers became groomers because we love animals and want them to feel good. We don’t want to shave your pet down to nothing just as much as you don’t. We always base our decisions on humanity, and if we feel it is inhumane to do so, we have no choice but to shave him down. Ask for a consultation on your options. You can always take your pet home and vow to brush on him over several days if he will tolerate it and bring him back for the haircut you desire. Just be sure to be cautious of brush burns and discomfort. 

Now for the best news ever……….it grows back!! With a clean slate and scheduled professional groomings, you will get the look you were wanting in no time! 

If you would like information on properly brushing out your own pet, please email Christina at We offer 2 hour basic bathing and brushing classes. Thanks for reading and good luck!

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