If you own a pooch, the chances are that you may have to deal with matted hair at least once in the dog’s lifetime. This can be one of your worst experiences, especially if you’re so concerned about the comfort of your furry friend. But hey, there is no need to break a sweat. Matted hair is common in dogs, and it’s also an issue you can deal with without much of a struggle.
But what causes matted hair in dogs?
Before skipping to the actual causes of matted hair in canines, it’s essential to acknowledge that some dogs are more prone to mats. Breeds such as the Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frise, and others tend to have mats more frequently.
Why is that so? Well, the breeds mentioned above have long hair that can tangle so easily. This is because the hair shafts in dogs are barbed just like a briar brush. The more barbs there is in the hair shaft, the more likely it is to mat. A large volume of long hair has more barbs, which is why some breeds have tangled hair more often.
All the same, the main causes of matted hair in dogs are:
- Friction – If hair rubs on each other, it gets more likely to form tangles and knots.
- Pressure – Compressing hair on a specific spot can lead to mats more easily.
- Inadequate grooming – Neglecting regular grooming makes your pet’s coat more susceptible to mats.
Why are mats so much of an issue?
Smalls knots and tangles might not be a problem at first, but they will be with time. As tangled hair increases at a specific spot, discomfort starts to set in. Your pooch will then try to scratch or even bite the tangle to get rid of it. This, however, will only worsen the problem and intensify the discomfort.
Severe mats can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort, which might stress your dog a lot. Besides, hair tangles and mats can cause some health issues as a result of improper hygiene. In some cases, the matted hair can even pull on your pet’s skin and impair proper blood circulation.
Shaving a dog with matted hair
Freeing your dog of matted hair is not a hard thing to do, especially when done early enough. All you have to do is use different tools to separate the hair, and Fido is good to go. For severely matted fur, however, it becomes an entirely different case.
Trying to separate such hair can be inhumane as it can lead to severe pain and discomfort if your dog is not sedated. Even though you might not love doing it, shaving severely matted hair is the best option. A complete shave allows for a fresh start with proper grooming habits. Wondering how to cut matted hair on a dog? Here is what you should do:
1. Watch how it’s done
If you are nervous and you feel like the shaving might be painful for your dog, you may want to get some encouragement by watching someone shave a pooch. One thing you have to acknowledge is that dogs can identify different human moods, and will know when you are nervous.
As much as nervousness may not completely ruin the process, it’s not a good thing for both you and your pet. By watching a professional groomer shave a dog, you can learn some tricks and even feel more confident. Your dog needs to feel comfortable and safe during the shave, as that will help him relax for amazing results.
2. Get the right tools
Cutting matted hair in pooches is not like any other grooming activity. You will need special tools to ensure that your pet is comfortable and that the process is successful. The main tool required for this exercise is a guarded electric pet clipper for a uniform shave. The main benefit of using a clipper instead of scissors is that shaving allows for even growth of fur, giving your pet a fresh start.
3. Restrain the dog
Shaving a dog can be a tricky process if he keeps on jumping to try and free himself. In such cases, you want to ensure that you restrain the dog to prevent him from trying to move around. Hands-free shaving is good as it achieves fantastic results. If you know your pooch is squirmy when it comes to grooming, you can seek help from a friend.
4. Go for the head first
Fit the blade onto the clipper and start shaving from the head. You should be careful with the eyes and ears to avoid injuries. Be sure to maintain a distance of at least 1 inch from the eyes when using the clippers. The main secret here is to be gentle with the shaving to prevent discomfort that can lead to twitching.
5. Underarms and the under-tail area can follow
The next parts that you want to shave should be the under-tail area. To reduce chances of injury, you should aim to move the clippers flatly against the skin. If Fido is restless, you may want to calm him down first and then continue shaving.
6. The back, sides, and legs come up next
Once you’re done shaving the underarms and under-tail areas, shift to the back, sides, and legs. These areas can be quite complicated to shave, so be ready for it. If the hair is severely matted, your dog’s coat might come off as one piece. Be sure, however, to check the clippers for overheating, to prevent burning your pooch.
7. Save the belly for last
Your dog’s belly should come last when shaving. Once you’re okay with the shaving results, you should give your dog a cool bath to reduce the discomfort that comes after shaving. You should discourage your pet from scratching themselves as that might lead to hotspots.
Matted hair can be stressful for you and your dog, but the good news is that you can handle the problem on your own. If the hair is severely matted, shaving is, unfortunately, the best option even though both you and your dog may not like it.
If you have to shave Fido to free him of matted hair, be sure to use the right tools and techniques as that will simplify the process. If you feel like you might not manage to shave your dog well, you can get some assistance from a professional.