Let’s face it. We all have bad hair days, humans and animals alike. Moisture in the air, processing, and sun damage can keep our hair from looking its best. It is no different with our pets, especially if they are longhaired.
Unfortunately, tangled and matted hair is more than a cosmetic problem; it’s uncomfortable and even painful because the matting can cause pulling on the skin, which can then result in the dog or cat licking that area to try to relieve himself of the pain. This only makes the matting worse and can lead to major skin irritations. For cats, the licking can cause fur balls and create digestive problems.
Test for Matted Fur
Even dogs or cats that look okay may have mats. The best way to check for tangles or mats is to run a comb through your pet’s coat. If the comb runs smoothly through the coat to the skin, then you know your pet does not have mats. If the comb gets stuck and you are not able to get it through, then you know you have mats.
Prevent Tangles and Mats
Keeping long haired dogs and cats tangle free and sleek takes commitment. Daily brushing and combing will prevent most instances of matting. Brushing will also stimulate the natural oils in the skin and coat as well as helping the circulation and most dogs and cats just love the attention.
The most common areas for matting are:
- Armpit area – the constant motion of the legs can create matting. A de-matting comb can be used if the mats are not too bad. Otherwise cutting or shaving will need to be done by a professional. Consulting a professional is recommended.
- Around the ears – This is especially true for small dogs if brushing is not a regular habit. The little designer dogs have an undercoat, which, if not brushed out regularly will accumulate and mat up.
- Between the paws – mats that clump behind and between the paws can be cut out with scissors fairly easily by your groomer.
- Under the belly – the fur on the inside of the hind legs and around the tummy is very prone to matting. this is a very sensitive area and most likely, shaving is the best alternative if matting occurs. Let your trusted groomer fix that for you!
- Tail – long coated dogs and cats will quickly matt up if not brushed regularly. If your pet has an undercoat be sure it is getting brushed out, not just the top coat. If matting happens close to the tail, it is best to shave the whole tail very short and start again.
- Collar and Harness Area – another problem area can be the neck where a collar or harness rubs against the fur. If possible, remove your pet’s collar when they are at home. Be sure to remove the collar when brushing to be sure the undercoat on the neckline gets a thorough brushing.
Finding the best tools for the job:
- Short hair with no undercoat – a bristle brush or a curry brush will remove any dirt and loose fur.
- Short coats with a thick undercoat – a slicker brush or an undercoat rake will get the undercoat out more effectively.
- For longer, thicker coats – a medium pinned brush is a better choice. When using pinned brushes, be sure not to brush too vigorously to avoid damaging the skin.
- For very thick coats – a medium slicker brush plus a undercoat shedding rake.
Using the right tool for the job makes all the difference in the results. We are happy to help you select the best grooming brushes and products for your pet. We carry a variety of tools in our boutique and are happy to advise you on how to use the tools to keep our pet looking and feeling terrific between grooming appointments.