Mats and Tangles

Matted hair is hair that has become tangled beyond what will come out with regular brushing. Mats can be hard and compacted or just feel like thicker areas of hair. Often times they aren't even noticeable until you begin combing. 

Areas that are most prone to matting are the ears and behind the ears, around the neck, armpits, rear legs, groin,  tail, and the underbelly, however dogs can become matted on their entire body/face. The process of de-matting is nearly always uncomfortable. 

If there are only a few areas on the dog where the mats are relatively loose they can usually be taken care of with different de-tangling products and the use of mat splitting tools, if the dog allows it. If most or all of the body is matted (even if it doesn't look that bad), or if certain mats do not come out easily or gently, then there is no other option but to shave them. In this case it is not possible to cut "through" the mats, but it necessary to go underneath the matting. In other words, between the matting and the skin. There are several areas that are just too sensitive to try to de-mat and must be shaved if matted. This includes the belly, armpits, behind the ears, neck, and feet, or any other area where it would be dangerous or that the dog is showing that it is too uncomfortable during the de-mat. 

Matting can sometimes cause skin irritations (hot spots) on the dog or conceal other skin problems. It is possible for a dog to have red, chapped, dry and flakey, itchy spots on the skin that will be noticeable and even aggravated after the shave down.

Dealing with matted hair is not fun for the dog, and can be quite a timely, tedious chore for the groomer. Therefore de-matting nearly always comes with an extra fee.

The best remedy for mats is prevention. Bring your dog in regularly for a low maintenance haircut (about every 5-8 weeks). Brush and comb at least weekly to remove dead hair that can become trapped and start the formation of a mat. Remove any burrs, leaves, twigs, etc. quickly after they get in your dogs hair. Do not bathe your dog without brushing and combing before or afterwards. Do not use scissors to cut mats out, because skin can easily be cut this way.

Regular brushing/combing and professional grooms will ensure your dog doesn't have to deal with this dreaded aspect of grooming.