Has the groomer ever shaved all or part of your dog and claimed it was due to felting, but you didn’t really understand what that meant? What exactly is a mat? Why is that a reason why your dog can’t have long fluffy hair?
A mat is a large clump of hair that feels like a lump in your dog’s coat. Small mats may be able to be brushed out without causing your dog too much pain, but attempting to brush large mats out of a dog can be painful and even dangerous. Dematting can cause a variety of injuries, from burns from the brush to cuts due to cutting skin that has been pulled into the mat.
Once your dog has mats, it is best to cut the mats out or, if the mats are severe, shave the dog. It is the only humane thing you can do for severe felting.
Once your dog is shaved, how can you prevent him from being shaved again in the future? The most important thing is to brush well. Make sure you brush all the way down to the skin. Use a slicker or pin brush to lift and brush your dog’s hair under it. When you think you have brushed your dog thoroughly, use a fine-toothed metal comb to find any more tangles.
Depending on how long your dog’s hair is, you should brush your dog once a week to every day to prevent matting. Always brush your dog before washing him! Water makes mats worse. Conditioning spray or cornstarch can be applied to small mats to aid brushing.
The longer you want to keep your dog’s coat, the more often you should have it groomed. The groomer can find mats that you have overlooked and should be able to remove them before they become so serious that shaving is necessary.
As always, if you have any questions, please ask your groomer.