- 1 How to Handle Matting in Dogs
- 2 Cost of Grooming in the United States
- 3 Preventing Knots
- 4 A Healthy Coat
- 5 Regular Grooming
- 6 Grooming Schedule
- 7 Untangling the knots
- 8 When to Call a Professional
- 9 Choosing a Dog Groomer
- 10 When to Do It Yourself
- 11 Detangling Agents
- 12 The Tools and How to Use Them
- 13 Bath Time
- 14 A Final Note on Matting
How to Handle Matting in Dogs
The fluffier, the curlier, the cuter, the better, right? Well that a matter a preference, but if you have ever had a fluffball of a dog, you probably know that the cost of that beautiful fluff is lots of grooming and very often a lint roller or three.
When it comes to matting, it is definitely a problem in our fluffier friends, but it can also be a problem for our curly companions or even our silky long-haired sidekicks. Matting is common in non-shedding breeds such as a Schnauzer, a Poodle, or a Maltese as well.
Matting occurs when there is friction and the fur becomes very densely tangled and while a few mats here and there are manageable, they can cause serious problems if left unattended. Even small mats can collect debris and other not so clean substances such as urine and feces resulting in irritation or more serious issues such as infection. Aside from wanting to have a happy healthy pup, dealing with severe matting can also break the bank!
Cost of Grooming in the United States
The cost of professional dog grooming is variable depending on the size and type of dog, region, and the mobility of the service. The average cost of full-service grooming generally ranges between $40 and $80 in the United States with mobile grooming and larger dogs toward the higher end.
A cheaper alternative to is to use a self-service dog grooming station where tools are provided from $10 to $20. Regular grooming by a professional may seem expensive but can be supplemented by at home care or self-service stations. . Prices are comparable in other countries when taking the exchange rate into consideration.
Leaving mats unattended to save money is not the solution because there are extra charges for harder cases and in a worse scenario, if your pup gets an infection or has some other complication, the associated veterinary cost is likely more than grooming.
If you are really strapped for cash, try some of the safer DIY options which can in the least, reduce the length of time needed at a groomer. There are also great applications and search engines where you can buy discounted services. Additionally, if you plan to be a regular customer, some groomers will give you a discount for repeated or regular visits.
The easiest way to deal with matting is simple – try not to let it happen in the first place and if it does, deal with it promptly. Regular at-home grooming is the simplest and most cost-effective solution for dog owners.
There is nothing wrong with regular professional grooming either especially in unique cases like a Puli or similar lovingly called “mop dogs.” Knowing a little about your dog’s breed or more specifically it’s coat type can go a long way. If you are at a loss, it never hurts to consult your local groomer or vet.
A Healthy Coat
The first step for at home coat care is to have a healthy coat, to begin with. This means feeding them the appropriate healthy diet for their breed and life stage as well as keeping them clean and brushed. A strong healthy dog will have a nice healthy-looking coat.
If your dog’s coat does not look good and it’s not because they just rolled in the dirt, it is important to talk to your vet and rule out other health concerns. If your friend is all clear at the vet, a balanced diet with the proper levels of nutrients as well as vitamins and minerals should do the trick. Some dogs may need additional oil supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids if they are extremely picky eaters or continue to have coat or allergy issues.
Not every dog and not every dog owner has the demeanor or experience to sit calmly through a thorough grooming session every week. This may be especially true for new owners or for a rescue dog who was not socialized previously. It is a good idea to learn how to do some grooming at home not only to save money but also to build a stronger and more reliable bond with your dog. Whether you DIY grooming or go to a professional, it’s important to keep it regular.
The extent and type of grooming will vary based on the type of coat your fur baby has and should be discussed with your vet. Age is another important factor when determining how frequently and to what extent to groom your dog because older dogs may not keep up with normal hygiene quite as well. On the other hand, if you have just brought home a puppy, this is your opportunity to get them comfortable with grooming practices.
It will make your life easier and will reduce the amount of time and money needed if you choose to go to a groomer. For those who plan to carry out regular grooming at home, remember that many brushes only get to the top layer so consider following up with a comb to ensure there are not mats forming.
Untangling the knots
While prevention is the best medicine, matting happens. The first step after identifying the problem is to gauge the extent of it. Can you handle it, or do you need to call a professional? If you recently rescued a severely matted dog off the streets, for example, it is probably best to call the vet for a plethora of reasons.
In a less extreme example, say your dog has developed a few bad mats, what do you do? Your instinct may be to just shave it or cut it off, but that is not always the best solution because there is inherent risk in the procedure, and it may not even fix the problem if the mat is down to the skin.
If it is bad enough that the coat needs to be shaved it is better left to someone with experience. A bath and a good conditioner might seem like a good idea, but it is important to make sure that mats are taken care of before bath time. If the knot has reached the level of becoming an actual mat, a little more than a bath is going to be needed.
When to Call a Professional
Mats can fall into 3 basic categories relating to their structure and severity: mild, tangled dead hair, more moderate mats with a dreadlock appearance, and severe matting that becomes very densely packed and covers a large area of the skin. Mild cases can generally be dealt with at home, but if you encounter severe matting, consult a professional. Severe cases are not the only time to consult a professional.
If at any point you or your pet becomes too uncomfortable or tired, take a break and if it continues to be too difficult, or consult a professional. If there is a stubborn mat or one that is too close to the skin, it is time to call the vet or groomer. If you suspect complication such as infection, consult your vet.
It is never a bad idea to consult a professional even before trying to fix the problem yourself. Your vet will know tips and tricks for your specific type of coat and will be able to advise early on if a professional is needed. It may seem costly, but matting should be taken care of in some way as soon as it is recognized. Severe matting can not only lead to infection and irritation, but even problems with circulation or toughening of the skin.
Choosing a Dog Groomer
Many people have their preferred hair salon or doctor’s office. Dog owners likely have their preferred vet or groomer so ask the people around you. Outside of review search engines or friend and family recommendations, it also helps to know a little bit about the groomer’s training.
Some amazing groomers have no formal certification, but there are associations for doing so. Some certifications to look out for are from the International Pet Groomers Inc (IPIGI), the International Society of Canine cosmetology (ISCC), or the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA).
When to Do It Yourself
Locate the Problem
At a fundamental level, the matting is caused by friction so the areas with frequent friction are more prone to the problem. Some common places for mat formation include under or around the collar and at the joints such as the shoulder blades, or around the ears and under the belly.
It is easy to check for mats by examining hotspots and gently running your dog’s comb through their fur which also subsequently helps prevent further matting. There are other factors that can contribute to worse matting such as the animal’s activity level and other external factors like the climate being dry or cold. Don’t forget to check your pup’s paws as mats can form between the pads!
There are home remedies and products that may make the process go more smoothly, but it will still likely require some time for brushing and ultimately patience from all parties. Once a mat has formed, brushing alone probably won’t work and wouldn’t be a very nice process.
Instead, invest in a commercial dog detangling shampoo and conditioner or a home remedy such as cornstarch or coconut oil dog conditioner. To get the full benefits of a detangling agent, apply the product to affected areas making sure to fully penetrate the mat.
The Tools and How to Use Them
After applying your detangling agent of choice, it is time to break apart the mat. You can use your fingers or there are also specific de-matting tools that can be purchased, pin brushes and or your dogs’ normal comb can work if used properly. First and foremost, never pull on the mat away from the skin especially not with the brush or comb.
Hold the base of the hair with your hand between your implement of choice and the skin and gently tease apart the mat in the direction that the hair naturally grows. If caught early enough, some mats can be teased apart almost completely using only your fingers and a comb through.
Just like the frequency of grooming, the tools you should use also depend on the dog’s coat. Simple slicker brushes should be used in dogs without a thick undercoat like Golden Retrievers. Just like with human hair, using a bristle brush can help spread oils and hydrate the coat which will ultimately prevent further matting.
Bristle rushes are good for short haired dogs like Jack Russels and Greyhounds. Normal pin brushes are generally good for the curly coat of a Poodle or the long coat of a German Shepard. Some examples of specific tools that can be purchased are high torque dog fur clippers and heavy duty brushes that can lift mats. The most essential tool for dealing with matting is a heavy duty dog clipper.
To reiterate an earlier statement: bathing before taking care of the mats will probably make them worse. Okay, now that the mats have been removed and the coat can be brushed through, it is finally bath time.
Use both shampoo and conditioner to clean your dog and help prevent future matting. Care should be taken in choosing the right shampoo and conditioner, avoiding some highly toxic and harsh flea shampoos for example. Again, a local groomer is a great resource for deciding what to use.
A Final Note on Matting
Whether you decide to take of your canine companions grooming at home or with a professional, matting matters and cause some serious problems. Avoid matting through regular grooming and healthy coat especially in those particularly prone to it are essential for keeping a healthy and happy pup!