Thursday, October 25, 2007

Getting The Mats Out Of Your Dog's Coat

I brush my dog's coat. Why do I still have problems with mats? What tools should I use to get the mats out of my dog's coat? What should I do if I can't get the mat out? Should I have my dog shaved rather than try to brush the mats out? I've heard that when you shave a dog, the hair might not grow back. Is that true?

I brush my dog's coat. Why do I still have problems with mats?

Are you brushing your dog regularly?:

Generally, longhaired dogs should brushed at least 3-5 times a week. Shorthaired dogs should be brushed at least 2-3 times a week.

Is your dog a puppy moving into adulthood?:

Longhaired dogs that are about one year old are leaving the puppy stage. As they shed the puppy coat, it needs to be brushed out so it doesn't mat.

Do you live where there are long periods of humidity and damp weather?
Dogs that spend time in water and snow will mat easily if they are not properly brushed and dried afterward.

What tools should I use to get the mats out of my dog's coat?:

The thin wire teeth on a slicker brush will work out small mats. For tougher cases, try one of these tools:

Undercoat Rake:

The best-kept secret of the grooming tools, also known as a rake comb, it is ideal for removing dead undercoat hair and is best used on coarse-textured or large breed dogs, such as the Golden Retriever, Collie or Samoyed. You'll generally see one to three rows of teeth that are long and spaced far apart.

Mat Comb:

Mat combs are used for cutting through matted hair without destroying the coat. These combs have long, heavy teeth or blades that are sharp on one side. These teeth can be resharpened and should be kept in good condition. Mat combs come with a handle and a thumb rest for better control.

Mat Splitter:

A mat splitter is a tool simply designed with a handle and a sharp blade. It is used to "saw" through the mat by actually cutting the mat into sections. The splitter is placed between the skin and the mat with the sharp edge facing outward. Be extremely careful to avoid injuring the dog when using this tool.

What should I do if I can't get the mat out?:

Resist the temptation to use scissors. The risk of cutting the dog is just too high. Instead, consider consulting a professional groomer. They are equipped to handle these situations. Another possibility is to have the dog partly or completely shaved.

Should I have my dog shaved rather than try to brush the mats out?
If your dog's coat is severely matted, the best alternative might be shaving. The pain of pulling and tugging to remove extensive or very tight mats is not pleasant for the dog. Shaving removes all of the matted, tangled fur, and allows a new coat to grow. After shaving, a routine of regular brushing will keep the dogs new fur mat-free.

I've heard that when you shave a dog, the hair might not grow back. Is that true?
A typically healthy dog will certainly re-grow his hair coat after shaving. How quickly the hair grows back will depend upon many factors, such as breed, age, and diet.

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Obinna Heche: Los Angeles- California

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