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The truth about matted coats & double coats

“Matting” refers to densely tangled clumps of fur in a pet’s coat. If a coat is not properly and/or frequently brushed, loose and live hair become embedded in large masses. Sometimes “mats” can be combed out, but if left too long, it is impossible without seriously harming the animal.
Matts can form in both the outer coat as well as the deeper undercoat. Sometimes severe matts form in the undercoat and are unnoticeable because of a heavy outer coat. If left completely unattended, a pet’s fur can become entirely matted to such an extent that the only recourse is to shave the entire coat.
If you have longer hair, take a brief moment to grab some and twist tightly and hold it there, you may find your scalp becoming sore. This is a similar feeling to a matt on your pets skin, as they move it pulls tighter. A very uncomfortable feeling for your loved pet. We understand wanting to keep your rascal(s) "fluffy" but we can't compromise your pets safety and comfort to achieve vanity. In some cases we do have to to start fresh and shave your pet entirely, this will be communicated to you prior. We don't wish to shave your pet, it isn't the "easy route." We would much rather invest our time and talents into using your dogs coat to create grooming artistry and display our skill sets. Shaving a matting coat is a delicate and sometimes stressful process and dulls our tools far quicker than other services. As always we will do our best to ensure your rascal looks cute and is comfortable. A fresh start is a healthy start and it will grow back. We are more than happy to guide pet parents with popper brushing techniques at home and we have a fur-tastic re book program that offers discounts for booking upon check out to maintain a frequent grooming schedule for your pet(s). At times we can de matt (not a heavily matted coat) at times we can use a combination of products and techniques to lift matts, consult required. Regardless if we can save the coat by MILD dematting or by having to make the difficult choice to shave, dematting fees may apply. De matting fees will be discussed as needed during consult or via a phone call while the pet is i our care and can range from $10.00-$30.00 and up (these fees reflect an industry standard.) Dematting fees may apply to a coat that has been shaved, due to the fact that some dematting is required to get clipper blades through the coat.
Causes
Matting is especially prevalent in long-hair dogs during seasonal shedding if the excessive hairs are not removed. Regular and frequent grooming—especially brushing—is absolutely necessary to not only prevent mats, but to keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy.
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Dangers
Severe matting can be extremely painful to your dog during brushing. Brushing only causes live hairs to be pulled out of the skin with excruciating pain. Even mild matting can cause your pet a great deal of pain. Matting can cut off blood supply to extremities, and deny regular air circulation. Skin denied fresh air and stimulation from regular brushing becomes quite unhealthy. It can turn dark pink to red, and open sores are apt to form emitting foul odors. Even organic matter, like weeds and stickers, can become embedded in the skin. Matts have been known to contain stool of the pet and even fly larvae that further irritate the skin. Remember, sometimes these mats and their consequences can be completely hidden from view.
Some severely matted pets may require the attention of a veterinarian.
Removing Matts
Throughout the grooming industry, the term “dematting” simply means to rip the matts from the dog’s skin. Many groomers will do this with no regard for your dog’s comfort in order to make money. At Natalie's Rascals Spa & Pet Services have taken a stand on this controversial issue, and we will not remove mats that will hurt your pet. Please do not ask us to do so as we will not compromise our professional standards. Severe mats will be shaved, but only after consulting with the pet’s owner.
Shaving a matted coat is a delicate and slow process requiring experience and expertise. A dog’s skin is thin like tissue paper, and dense mats can cause it to become loose due to the weight of the matting. Clippers can easily cut loose skin if not done properly and safely.
After shaving, a pet may develop an itchy skin response. Owners should watch to ensure that constant scratching does not cause the skin to become irritated. These process's can increase the cost of your services.
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Prevention
Dead, loose hairs should be removed through regular and thorough brushing. This is especially important for long-haired dogs, and when dogs shed seasonally. Brushing also aerates the fur and skin. Regular, professional grooming is essential, too, because Dog Day Afternoon groomers thoroughly bathe and brush with particular attention to areas where mats quickly form. Keeping your dog’s hair at a manageable length also helps prevent matting. Grooming should be done on a regular basis every 4 to 6 weeks;* after 8 to 10 weeks, a coat may become too dirty and matted to maintain (depending upon breed and lifestyle of your dog.) Consider our paw-tastic re book program if appointment's are booked upon check out, earn 5%-15% off your rascals next spa day!
"Double Coated dogs" To Shave or Not to Shave? Double coats, also known as down hairs, ground hairs, or undercoat, are very fine, fluffy hairs closest to the skin on some mammals. Common dog breads that have undercoats include the German Shepherd, Pomeranian, Chow, Husky, Malamute and Samoyed. The hairs are short and crimped, which makes them highly efficient at trapping air and insulating the animal. This keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The most informative blog we have come across explains further:
Myth #1: "Long-haired, double-coated dogs need to be shaved in order to be cooler during the summer." False.
Double-coated dogs are dogs that have a heavy undercoat. The lighter, softer coat that sheds naturally does not need to be shaved. Unless the dog has passed the point of no return in the matting department, the best type of grooming for these dogs is a vigorous undercoat raking with a special tool that helps remove the undercoat. This raking, followed by a bath, and a blow dry, will help separate the hair so the groomer can get to the rest of the undercoat. Once the undercoat has been thinned out, the dog does feel cooler. The guard hairs on the top, which do not shed out, provide protection against the sun’s rays and actually insulate the dog from the heat. However, one might consider shaving a strip on their belly, so that they can lay on cool surfaces, and get maximum coolness. If mats are your main concern, then it’s best to simply keep up with them so they don’t get bad to the point of having to shave your dog.
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Myth #2: Cutting a dogs hair off will cause the dog not to shed. This is not necessarily true. Dogs with undercoats shed. After a cut, it may shed shorter hair, but it will still shed.Myth #3: Don’t worry; it’ll grow back. The most harmful myth, as far as the dog is concerned is ”Don’t worry, it’ll grow back." Well, sometimes it will. However, the older the dog is, the less likely the guard hairs will re-grow. While the undercoat will re-grow, the upper hairs sometimes do not. This gives the dog a patchy, scruffy, frizzy appearance. Also, a shaved dog is more susceptible to sunburn – skin damaged by UV rays. These are rays that the dog would not otherwise be exposed to. This, unfortunately, can be painful and take a long time to heal. The dog may have scaling and dandruff for quite some time, even after the hair has re-grown. Dogs like poodles, Maltese, Shih Tzu’s, and other dogs, which do not have undercoat, require regular grooming and haircuts. But dogs with undercoats rarely need shaving. So shaving your long-haired, double-coated dog in the summer is not really necessary, according to some veterinarians. But there may be just as many veterinarians and groomers who hold the opposite opinion and this needs serious consideration, too. To shave or not to shave? This controversy is sure to continue.
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