By Katherine Durr
Before I discuss the tricks used to remove matts on your dog I must emphasize a few things
If your dog is badly matted or the matts are close to the skin I strongly recommend you take your dog to a professional to have him groomed.
I also recommend a professional if your dog is elderly or can not tolerate being brushed.
Having said that let’s talk matts. There are certain areas of your dog that I would not recommend de-matting. Some dog groomers refer to them as the sensitive areas. They are located between the back legs, under the armpits, on the belly, and under the tail. These areas I would recommend that you clip with a #10 or #15 blade. One of the most common areas for a dog to matt is around and behind the ear. This happens because this is the most popular petting spot. The area behind the ear has very thin skin and can be very hazardous to de-matt. If gentle brushing does not remove the matt you can cut the length of the matt in half and try again to brush it out. To make sure you do not cut your dogs ear try holding the matt with your finger tips at the skin and then cut the matt in half. Now try gentle brushing. If this still does not remove the matt it may be time to use clippers.
Matts can occur anywhere on your dog. One way to remove them is to take a pair of scissors and put the blade between the skin and the matt. With the sharp side away from the skin you can either use a sawing motion to cut through the matt or you can simply cut it in several places parallel to the direction of hair growth. Try again to brush the matt out.
There are several de-matting combs on the market. All of these work well but you should be careful when using them. Take the de-matting comb and comb it under the matted area. When it catches a matt, use a sawing motion to cut through the matt. Try to limit the pulling motion because most dogs do not like it.
If your dogs tail has matts you can use either method above to remove them. Before cutting the tail try to gently brush it out. If the matts are too extensive, either cut through the matts parallel to the direction of hair growth and then attempt to brush them out or shorten the entire length of the tail. Simply hold the tip of your dogs tail and shorten the entire length by cutting parallel with the tail. If the matts are hanging from the tail in different places you should be cutting them in half with this method. When you have removed all the matts from the tail and after you have bathed and dried him you can go back and even up any long hair.
If you are uncertain about shaving the sensitive areas, the pads of the feet or shaving matts from around the ears, some grooming shops will shave just these areas for a small fee.
During any dog grooming session you should praise your dog but especially while brushing them. Most dogs do not like to be brushed and they need the added reinforcement when they are tolerating it.
Katherine Durr has been a professional dog groomer for over 17 years and is the author of “How to Groom your Mutt”. Visit her website at Doggie Dews
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