The Dangers of Matting and How To Avoid It 

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a photo of a golden retriever getting a bath

At times, owners don’t realize the seriousness of taking care of a pet’s fur. Sure, their gleaming coat has been very dull lately. And yes, their pet has been itching and scratching day and night and against every surface available in the house. But that doesn’t mean anything is wrong. 

So when they finally visit the groomers who inform them their furry best friend will need to be shaved down, the owner is shocked. Sometimes the response is an adamant, “Oh it can’t be that bad” to abject horror at the fact their dog will have a buzz cut. Why would the groomer do this to them? 

Because it could possibly save the dog’s life.

Yes, matted fur can be that serious. 

How and Why Does Matting Occur?

Matting occurs when hair becomes tangled and knots around itself. As your pet naturally sheds dead fur, instead of covering your favorite jacket, the loose dead fur ends up trapped. With nowhere to go, the fur creates clumps that get closer and closer to the skin and eventually, lead to severe skin pain and sores. 

In addition to the skin issues, matting can also cause your pet to be unable to regulate its temperature and create a perfect breeding ground for fleas or ticks. 

Some dog breeds like poodles, cocker spaniels, terriers, and Shih Tzus are more susceptible than others to matting and so owners should be particularly careful. Especially if they have curly, fine fur and long, double coats. But if a dog has fur, they could have matting. 

Lack Of Consistent Brushing

It’s possible that even with brushing, matting can still occur. Why? Because you may not be aware of the proper techniques to manage and carefully brush your pet’s hair. Adding to the situation is your pet squirming and even playfully nipping at you as you’re combing out a difficult knot, you might be inclined to stop. While you want to make sure your pet is comfortable and not in pain from your ministrations, you also have to keep in mind the long term suffering they could experience if you allow knots and tangles to get worse in their fur. 

Brush Them The Correct Way

Is your current dog brush worn out? Maybe it’s missing some bristles and the plastic got gnawed on by your dog after a particularly bad brushing session? 

While you might think you can continue to use that brush, it’s really time to say goodbye. Buying a good brush with a firm rubber backing and short bent wires will be a much gentler experience for your pup. The same goes for the comb you use on your pup. 

Choosing a solid and metal comb with one side with medium teeth will work well. Different knots and tangles may require either smaller or medium teeth and it’s important to use a solid comb that won’t break like plastic. That way you can have a firm, yet gentle grip as you gently work the tangles out from the bottom up to the root. 

If you’re still having difficulty brushing your puppy’s fur, don’t worry! You and your pup can always come in to see a professional groomer here at ONYVA for a quick brush and go. Booking a weekly or biweekly appointment is always an option, but learning how to maintain your dog’s fur at home is still an important skill which you can learn more about in our blog post, The Right Way To Brush Your Pup.