Matted coats 2
The million dollar question – when should you shave off a coat?
It’s actually a no brainer.
- when a dog will NOT tolerate dematting
- if water CANNOT penetrate the matts – you will have no chance of loosening the matts by bathing, conditioning and blasting
So what is a matt?
Matts are dense clumps of tangled hair in a pet’s coat. They form when hairs that overlap get caught up in each other. Dirt, debris and dander become trapped in the tangled hair causing the tangles to worsen. If a dog’s coat is not brushed regularly loose hair and live hair can get tangled and become matts, particularly during the shedding season. Sometimes severe matts can form in the undercoat but are not noticeable because of the heavy top coat. Matting even if it is only slight can be very painful for the dog – think of what it was like having knotty hair as a kid!
What causes matts?
- neglect of the coat
- skin conditions
- parasitic infestations
Health hazards of matts
- dirt and debris can get caught in the mats
- natural oils in the coat cannot disperse and therefore build up in the matted area
- the oil attracts more dirt which causes the coat to mat more quickly and more tightly
- matted hair can trap bugs, fleas, moisture and bacteria causing sores
- sores can be aggravated and/or nicked by a clipper blade
Areas prone to matting
Some coat types matt more easily than others and some are easier to de-matt. Dogs with double combination coats, for example golden retrievers, tend to have specific areas that matt where the dead hair gets packed into the guard hairs. In most cases they can be easily removed with the correct tools. Fine- coated breeds such as bichons, poodles and poodle crosses and drop-coated breeds like the shitzu have more spurs on the hairs shafts, which makes them more prone to matting. Smaller breeds are more likely to be bathed by the owner at home causing matts to tighten.
If you do have to shave a coat off there are some after effects that you should make your customer aware of:
- the dog’s skin may become very itchy
- the hair might not grow back
- the dog may be prone to sunburn
- clipping the coat off may expose existing skin conditions which could be perceived by the owner to have been caused by the clipping off
In the next article we’ll be looking at the best tools for dematting and how you can help educate your customers, plus some special offers for Groomers Gallery Members.