Matts and De-matting
WHAT ARE MATTS?
Matts (mats) are impenetrable felt-like clumps of entangled hair lying very close to the skin. They are most often found in ‘high friction’ areas – in armpits, in the groin, behind the ears and collar/harness areas – but they may become so severe that they cover most of the dog’s body.
HOW DO MATTS FORM?
Matts are caused by extreme tangling of the hair and can form in the following ways:
- Dirt, debris and shed hair becomes entangled within the still-growing coat
- Friction and compression from movement, collars/harnesses, lying down etc.
- Like our hair, if not thoroughly and effectively brushed and combed through on a regular basis, the hair will tangle within a few days. If this tangling is not removed at this point, matts will develop
I’ve written this blog as it explains what matts are, how they form, what we will do about it and how to avoid them forming again.
This is a full coat of matted hair being carefully removed from a dog. Notice that the hair is so densely matted together that it keeps its shape after being removed. The dog had sores from the matted coat ‘pulling’ on its skin, which required veterinary treatment.
Removing the matted coat also revealed a large tumour which was hidden under the matting This is the process required to remove a matted coat by clipping with a short blade between the skin and the matted hair. Notice how close to the skin the blade must be.
ARE MATTS A RISK TO YOUR DOG’S HEALTH?
YES – severely matted hair can turn healthy skin into irritated dark pink, red or even broken skin, creating a breeding ground for infection. Parasite infestation can quickly take hold, be impossible to detect and difficult to treat. PLUS having a matted coat is extremely painful for the dog.
The only humane way to release a dog from a matted coat is to use a very short, sharp blade, working between the skin and the matted hair. This is time consuming and intricate work which requires a high degree of skill and experience and for which additional charges are made.
The best method of preventing matting in the future is to:
- Establish a home grooming routine of regular brushing and combing. We are always happy
to give you a demonstration of the best brushing techniques for your particular dog and
- Set up regular professional grooming appointments (ask your groomer to help you choose an ‘easy care’ length).