Matts are densely tangled hairs that form solid lumps of fur that are so matted they cannot be combed or brushed out.
They begin as knotted hair in long-haired dogs. If these knots are caught early they can be brushed or combed out but if left within a few days of routinely walks they will turn into matts and become impossible to brush out without causing pain to your dog.
Matts can form in both the outer and under-coat. Sometimes matts in the under-coat are harder to detect so whilst you think you are brushing your dog, you are only brushing the outer-coat and the the matts underneath may actually be getting worse and this is why your dog is not allowing you to brush him as it will be very painful.
Areas that are the first to develop matts tend to be where there may be movement or friction such as behind the ears, collar area, under armpits particularly if your dog wears a harness, groin area and feet & legs where they gather the most dirt.
Matts are painful for your dog because they pull on their skin - like when you catch your hair in a zip.
A completely matted dog is living in a straight-jacket that prevents him from moving, sitting or lying down without discomfort or pain.
They can hide all kinds of nasties like ticks, fleas, skin problems, thorns, burrs and twigs, which would hurt your dog every time it moves.
They can constrict the circulation causing gangrene or get so tight they tear the skin.
You CANNOT clip through matts, only underneath them. Cutting them out runs the risk of cutting through the delicate skin of your dog.
Brushing them out is intensely painful and contrary to the 2006 Animal Welfare Act under which offenders face imprisonment or fines running to thousands of pounds.
If more than 10% of your dog's coat is matted, for example his feet and groin area, then yes a total shave-off is the only option.
To brush these matts out would produce longer than 20 minutes of pain for your dog which is against the Animal Welfare Act.
We need to clip them with a blade that can go between the skin and the matt so the closer the matt is to the skin the shorter the blade required to clip them, the shorter the hair will be left on the body.
To partially shave your dog would look unsightly and leave the coat growing at different lengths. As a reputable salon we would not send a dog out looking like this.
Some of the most common breeds we see in this condition are:
Cockapoos, Tibetan Terriers, Labradoodles and any other poodle crosses.
To brush out matts or remove them by shaving underneath them can take more of your groomers time and therefore you will be charged for this.
A complete shave off will be done before bathing and therefore clipping an unclean coat blunts clipper blades which we have to pay to get sharpened or replaced.
The simple answer is brush your dog as often as possible. If your dog gets dirty from walks on a daily basis then brushing daily is required.
If you wash your dog do not let its coat dry naturally always brush out preferably with a hair dryer. When drying areas that are prone to matting such as feet do not rub with a towel but squeeze as rubbing creates friction thus matts.
When brushing your dog use a suitable brush with curved metal pins such as slicker brush. Make sure you part the hair and brush right down to the skin. The ideal way to keep you dog matt free is to use a metal comb. If your comb gets stuck in the coat because it is starting to matt you can then use the slicker brush to break down the matts.
I am ALWAYS happy to show you how to brush and comb your dog to ensure matts do not occur.
Your dog's hair needs looking after just like your own hair. You wouldn't go without brusing your own hair for weeks and expect your hairdresser to sort it out, so please don't expect miracles from your dog groomer - we use brushes too not magic wands!
Thank you :-)