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What is matting and how is it harmful to your pet?

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matted dogThis is a subject & issue I’m kind of surprised I don’t see more on Facebook about.  I know there are unfortunately tons of matted pets out there that people & pet professionals see everyday.

Matting is a clumping together of your pets’ hair. It can be a minor to severe condition that is not only painful but also unhealthy for your pet. The question you have to ask yourself is would you walk around with unbrushed, tangled and knotted hair? Most would answer no to this question. Imagine your head and most sensitive areas of your body having tight knots of your hair right to your skin and think of how it would feel everytime you move, even the slightest bit. A matted catpretty painful thought, huh? Well, your pets don’t like it either. Especially with your pets that have a longer coat, it is SO IMPORTANT to brush/comb their coats down to the skin, while being careful not to brush/comb too hard and irritate the skin, preferably on a daily basis and just as you would do to your own hair. Even the shorter haired breeds benefit from regular brushing, it helps stimulate the skin, spread coat oils and removes dead or loose hairs. Once they become accustomed to this regular routine and learn that it is not a painful process, they should start to welcome the one on one time with you whether it’s while sitting on the couch watching TV or doing something else. It is worth the extra effort to spare your pet the undue stress of a matted coat, and they will thank you for it as well as you will have a much cuter and healthier pet.

matted abused catHow do you tell if your pet is matted?
One simple tell tale sign, can you take a stiff metal comb, such as a greyhound comb with a fine or medium width and comb to the skin through out your pets’ ENTIRE coat? If you can’t, you most likely have a matted pet, and it needs to be resolved as soon as possible for your pets’ optimum health and comfort.

What happens to a matted pet?
Mats are like a diaper, they lie next to the skin and soak up moisture. Matting can tighten, pull the irritated skin and in severe cases cause lesions. If your dog is covered with matting, you also might not catch new cancer spots, moles, tumors, swellings, ticks and fleas. Did you know that mats are frequently referred to as “Flea Motels?” Yes, that’s right, those little buggers LOVE a matted dog! Severely matted coats have reduced air circulation and are missing the stimulation from regular brushing. In extremely severe cases, the skin is so damaged and unhealthy that the outer layer of skin “peels away” with the coat in “Sheep Skin Rug Style”…………….Veterinarian treatment should be the only option in extremely severe cases.

shaved matted catWhat do you do once your pet is matted?
If it is just a sparse of loose matting, it might pull free at a light touch. If you are experienced with scissors and are AWARE AT ALL TIMES WHERE YOUR PETS’ SKIN is, you could cut them out; however, you have to be careful as NOT TO CUT THE SKIN. If you accidentally cut the skin, you are talking about a vet visit with potentially very high bills, depending on the severity of the lesions, not to mention medication as well in many cases. If you have any doubt as to what to do, PLEASE take your pet to a professional groomer or vet to spare your pet of even more potential stress and health problems. For a severely matted case, the answer is simple, take your dog to the groomer or vet for a shave down. It is time consuming, painful, and considered cruel to do anything other then a shave down in badly matted cases.shaving a matted cat Remember, your pets’ hair will grow back. If you want to keep your pet in a longer coat, you will need to start
maintaining your pet’s coat on a regular basis from this point on, as you should regardless of the length. If you don’t have time to do maintenance, then you should, for your pets’s well-being, keep them in a shorter coat at all times. Remember, when a matted dog is shaved down, they will often come out down to the skin and can become  itchy/irritated from the experience.matted fur Hopefully, you will have learned that this is not a nice experience for either one of you and that this now somewhat silly looking; “naked” pet is not what you want and you will not allow this to happen again. Most groomers will be more than happy to set up regular standing appointments to assist you in maintaining your pet’s coat. Also, keep in mind that nails and ears, on average, should be maintained on a monthly basis or more in some cases. Even if you have set up regular appointments (every 4-6 weeks is the typical suggestion), this doesn’t mean your homework stops;  you still need to maintain your pets’ coat, preferably on a daily basis, for your pets’ happiness
and health.

Happy grooming, brushing and combing!!!

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