Help, My Pet is Matted!

Many pet parents are all too familiar with that feeling of dread you get when you are petting your long-haired dog (or cat) and notice those annoying, unsightly clumps of hair in their coat. Those clumps of tangled hair are referred to as mats, and while minor matting might just seem inconvenient, more severe matting can have serious health consequences for your pet.

Matting happens when a dog or cat’s hair becomes wound up and tangled around itself, trapping both live and dead hair in a tight ball. Certain activities like swimming can increase your pet’s chances of developing mats. Though matting might seem like a cosmetic issue, it can actually be harmful to your pet’s health. Matting decreases airflow through your pet’s hair, causing moisture to build up and create skin sores, irritations, and even infections. Mats are painful as your pet tries to move and feels a constant tugging, pinching sensation because the mats have pulled his/her skin taught. In severe instances, matting can cut off circulation to your pet’s skin and cause hematomas.

The best way to prevent matting is by regular, frequent brushing to remove any knots or tangles before they turn into mats. Bringing your pet in to the groomer’s on a regular basis (usually every 6 to 8 weeks) is great, but it is crucial to maintain good brushing habits at home to upkeep your pet’s coat in between groomings. Not only is it good hygiene, but it is an excellent bonding experience for the two of you and an opportunity to work on grooming manners. You should invest in a good slicker brush, as this is the preferred tool for long hair and matting prevention.

One very common mistake a lot of pet parents make when grooming at home is bathing a matted pet. NEVER, under ANY circumstance, should you bathe your pet if it has mats. Getting the mats wet makes them tighter and more difficult to remove. Another thing you should NEVER do is try to cut the mats out yourself with scissors. Even though you’ll try to be careful, the risk of cutting your pet’s skin is too great – mat removal should be left to a professional groomer, who is trained to safely remove mats.

Hopefully this has been helpful in building your understanding of mats and the effects they can have on your pet. If you have any questions, our groomers are always happy to help!

The Yappie Cuttery Team