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How to Avoid the Dreaded Shave Down

What is Matting?

Matting occurs when a dog’s hair next to the skin gets knotted, tangled in clumps masses. If un-brushed, the clump gets bigger, tighter, and closer to the body.  This can be caused by a lack of brushing, wet coats that have not been brushed out or dried properly, or a harness or collar that continually rubs against a dog’s fur. It is important your dog stays mat free as it can cause health issues like stress from licking and biting at the area, leading to general discomfort. Fleas and parasites might be hiding in their coat, which might cause sores, lesions, bruising, or discolored skin. The matted hair might also be hiding hot spots, and other skin infections. Unchecked, those areas can get bigger and spread. This could lead to the dreaded shave down.

a brown dog half way through getting a shave down

Simply put, matting is painful for your dog and brushing out established matts involves a process of pulling live hair out of the skin as healthy hair is encase in the matting. De-matting can cause increase pain and irritation, redness, and swelling.

What does it feel like to brush it out? Imagine a painful knot you’ve had to brush out of your own hair. Now imagine that you don’t understand what’s causing that pain. And to top it off, its on sensitive areas of your body like behind your ears, or in your armpits or on your chest. Yikes!

Do we need to get a shave down?

If the matting is somewhat loose and not close to the skin, it may be possible to brush through and remove some areas. This process is usually painful and stressful for most dogs. The kindest way to remove matting is the dreaded shave down, whether the matting is sparse or covers the dog. Shaving out the matting is not an easy fix! The clippers the groomers use get hot, which can cause further irritation. The matting might pull on the skin as it’s being taken off, which increases the likelihood of nicks. The best thing to do is to avoid matting in the first place, and maintain a healthy and knot free coat.

Maintain your Dog’s Coat = No Shave Down

short, manageable, & cute

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