Matting occurs when the fur becomes tightly tangled close to the skin. Mats may be hard to detect because they are often hidden behind untangled fur.
Not only are these tangles painful and restrictive, but they may put your dog at risk for becoming overheated, getting bacterial infections and developing sores.
Sometimes mats can be brushed out, especially if they are caught early. However, if a dog has several mats, they will most likely need to be cut out. This prevents painful brushing and gives the fur a chance to grow back healthy and neat. The safest most comfortable option is to give them a short cut.
If we suspect your dog may need some mats removed, we will let you know as soon as possible. Mats are typically removed by shaving the dog under the mats, close to the skin. This is a long and tender process for your dog and takes more time than the usual groom. Because shaving is a big operation and will dramatically change the appearance of a dog, we always ask permission first. Please remember that this is always the safest most comfortable option. Some may not like the look of a smooth shave, others do, but either way, we are 100% sure your fur baby will be much more comfortable. It is hot and painful to have a matted coat.
Mats can strike at any time, although some dogs are more susceptible to the condition than others. Be sure to keep a close eye out if your dog is:
an outdoor dog
inactive for long periods of time
To check for mats, work your fingers all the way to the dog's skin around the dog's neck and run your hands through their fur front to back. If the stroke isn't smooth or gets bumpy, there is likely a mat hidden there.
Severe matting can sometimes feel like a second skin. If you can not get a comb to touch the skin and glide through the hair, it is likely matted and in need of a good brush out before shaving is required.
You can prevent the mats from getting worse by using a slicker brush and greyhound comb (pictured to the right) to brush the mats out. The wire head of this brush is specifically designed to catch the tangles and individually pull them out.