Matts are solid lumps of fur, so tangled that they cannot be combed or brushed out.
Matts are as painful for your dog as you getting your privates caught in your zip.
A completely matted dog is living in a straight-jacket that prevents him from moving, sitting or lying down without discomfort or pain.
They can occur anywhere on the body, but most frequently in high friction areas:
- Immediately behind the ears, and around the collar area,
- in the armpits, groin or under the tail,
- but perhaps the most painful are in the pads and between the toes, those hurt with every step.
They hide all kinds of nasties like ticks, fleas, thorns, burrs and twigs, which would hurt your dog every time it moves.
They can constrict the circulation causing gangrene or get so tight they tear the skin.
So the short answer is yes, matts do matter.
You cannot clip through matts, only underneath them. Cutting them out runs the risk of cutting through the delicate skin of your dog.
Brushing them out is intensely painful and contrary to the 2006 Animal Welfare Act under which offenders face imprisonment or fines running to thousands of pounds.
So in severe cases (more than 10% of the dog) a total clip-off is the only option.
We use the new wet-clip off technique here at Centre Stage. Its quicker, less painful, less stressful and we can usually leave more fur on than other groomers using older dry clipping technique.
The most common breeds we see in this condition are:
Cockerpoos, Labradoodles, Bichons and Poodles.
Westies, Schnauzers, Lhasas and Shih Tzus are also high on the hit list.
Whether you are a client or not, we are ALWAYS happy to show you how to brush and comb your dog for FREE.
Why Brushed Out Matts Reoccur So Quickly
There is another reason why you cannot brush matts out of your dog.
No matter what brush or comb you use, whether you use detangling sprays or conditioner, or how carefully you attempt this time consuming task; you simply cannot help breaking some of the hair while brushing though the tangles or unpicking the felt that has accumulated at skin level.
Look at the diagram:
Natural hairs have a point at the tip.
Cut hairs have a blunt tip.
But broken hair looks like a dead tree.
The "branches" of the tree wrap around each other and entangle themselves in a manner that the pointy tip of a natural hair or the blunt tip of cut hair could never achieve.
So looking at the diagram, it is now obvious why a de-matted dog will get matted twice as quickly as a dog where the matts have been cut out or clipped out.
A dematted dog will have therefore been put through a painful process which served no purpose in the long term.
Which is why we won't do it.
After a Clip Off
Do not take your dog swimming for at least a week.
Monitor its skin very carefully, it's been clogged with dead hair and unable to breath for some time.
Be aware that the air at ground level is several degrees cooler than the air at face height.
Do not laugh at the dog, or let anyone else laugh at it either. Your dog doesn't know it looks any different.
Comb your dog every day. This gets it used to the process while it cannot hurt.
The Wet Clip Technique
I apologise for sounding irritated in this clip, but after 4 1/2 hours of back breaking work, this dog had left the salon 12 weeks previously in full coat, without a single knot or tangle.
The owner, who was charged the normal fee for a border collie at that visit, promised she would never let him get into this state again.
This shows what three months of neglect or inadequate brushing techniques can do.
Please note that we fully comply with the Animal Welfare 2007 Act and we no longer dematt dogs where more than 20 minutes of gentle work will be required.
All owners are asked to sign this form before we can proceed.