Mats are those nasty, knot like bits of fur which develop without proper maintenance grooming (i.e. brushing) which can collect dirt and cause pain as they pull at the dog’s skin.
1. Hold the entire mat in your hand at the base of the mat (closest to your dog’s skin) as you want to make sure you don’t hurt your dog’s skin. By holding the mat in your hand you can make sure that any ‘brush burn’ will happen to your hand and not your dog’s delicate skin. That is, if you apply too much pressure to the brush, or brush too frequently in the same area.
2. Rub a pinch of cornstarch or baby powder into the mat. This is a tried and true home remedy and is very effective as a de-matting aid! (But Shh! It's a grooming secret!)
3. Use a Mat-breaker to split the mat. They come in many fancy combs with many fancy names, the gist is it’s a comb with hook type ends that are razor blades and help break the mat up. Use the Mat-breaker to break the mat into two or three smaller pieces. Stop there, though, you don’t want to make a hole in the coat or your dog!
4. Use a slicker brush to break up the mat. A slicker brush has wire bristles that are slightly bent at the ends. Never let the bristles touch your dog’s skin. To avoid this, be sure to brush the mat as you hold it in your hand.
5. Brush the entire area with a pin brush. These are dog/cat grooming brushes that look sort of like normal human hair brushes. Here is where you can let go of where the mat was as at this point it should be about gone.
6. Finally, comb the area with a steel comb. Start with the wide toothed side and finish with the small toothed side.
If your dog is not amenable to this process, or if the mats are too close to the skin, you may need to have your professional groomer shave him down. You’ll be doing the right thing for your best friend, as dematting large areas of matting can be potentially painful for the dog.
Not to be crude but think of the most sensitive area on your body. Go ahead...now imagine it matted, right?!?!? OW!! Now worse, imagine someone picking and prodding and pulling the hair in this super sensitive area...There is no way in H-E double hockey sticks you'd sit still and just take it. Your dog’s skin is that sensitive EVERYWHERE!! In six weeks the coat will grow back quite a bit and be nice and fluffy again. You can ask your groomer to be creative with the shave down. Trust me, your dog’s health and sanity is worth more than a little vanity. ;)
Hope this helps! Till next time...
I've been a groomer for almost 15 years. After working for big corporations and veterinary hospitals I have found the peace of working for myself and at home. Here are some of the things that happen, and tips on how to care for your pet.