Oh the dreaded moment when your groomer tells you your doodle will need to be shaved down. Imagine the embarrassment! All the neighbors might mock you, or even worse, your dog will hide in shame! As a dog walker I know that this is not usually the case, but I know us dog people want to keep our dogs looking adorable and fluffy, so here are some tips on preventing matted fur.
Matting can become harmful to your dog’s health in many ways. As a pet care professional I have seen mild to severe cases, but the most severe are when you shave with your shortest blade (which is hard on the dog because it is SO close to their skin so it’s uncomfortable for them), and under the pelted fur is a possible yeast infection, sores from the matts digging into the skin, irritated and red spots, or even hematomas, which is where a swelling of blood accumulates at the surface. Though these are indicative of a very severe matting situation, possibly one where there is a case of neglect and the entire “blanket” of fur comes off as one big attachment, but even slight matting can become uncomfortable for your dog. Matting can provide the perfect place for fleas or other pests to hide, so we want to keep our dogs as matt-free as possible. So, you ask, how do I keep my dog from matting?
Well, here are your answers:
Positive Training with the Brush
The FIRST thing (and most important in my opinion) is to create a positive association for your dog with the brush. If your dog has the type of fur that needs to be brushed on the regular then this is going to be essential, because no one wants to chase a dog around with the brush all day. If they hate it, most people just won’t do it. I hear it all the time “Oh we didn’t brush him, he hates getting brushed”. Meanwhile their dog comes in with matts behind their ears so pelted to the skin that there are little flakes coming off of it. In order to do this you are going to want to use lots of praise and treats while brushing your dog. If your dog freaks out or screams during brushing, it is important to keep them below their threshold while training them to love the brush. The way you can do this is by moving the brush more and more towards them while giving them treats when they don’t react negatively. As they get more used to the brush you will eventually be able to actually touch them with the brush, and continue the process. Eventually your dog will know that good things happen when the brush comes around! The brush is my friend. I get treats and love when the brush comes around, and I get pets as I get brushed.
This technique is specifically useful if you have a long haired pup or a dog with a coat like a Goldendoodle and other similar doodle breeds. I use these dogs as an example because though they have an array of coat types (flat, curly, or wavy), regardless of the type they can be prone to matting. We bred them for several reasons, but one is their most loved adorable coat that makes them look like a teddy bear. To line brush, you’re gonna want to start at the bottom of one leg and brush in a line, then work your way up the leg. You’ll do it this way because it’s the best way to not miss anything, especially since their coat can get tiny little whip knots that are so hard for the naked eye to see. Unfortunately as a care taker I get a lot of people who swear they brushed but the dog is too matted to do a long full style haircut on. They may have brushed, but did they brush correctly is the real question. If not, they might be facing a shorter haircut than they wanted because you can’t put a guide comb through tangled hair, and if there are too many knots it just isn’t fair to have your dog sit through a de-matting session for hours just because you want a desired look. So our policy is if it isn’t brushed day to day it might not be able to be saved. We care about your dogs mental health and no we are not being lazy, we just don’t want your dog to hate their grooming experience and sometimes it’s just more ethical to go for a shorter do and grow it back out while keeping it maintained.
Bathe your Dog or Have a Groomer do it
What I will say is that bathing your pup is a great idea BUT you do not want to put matts in the tub because the water will tighten them. This is why I say that if you aren’t going to brush them out all the way first then taking your pup to a professional might be your best option. Some of the worst scenarios I’ve seen are when an owner has bathed their dog repeatedly and not brushed them. The matts can attach tightly to the skin and create a painful scenario for your pup over time. On the flip side, bathing your dog after brushing is a great way to prevent matting by keeping their fur soft and clean. Dirty hair has a tendency to mat quickly, so keeping it clean will make their lustrous coat less prone to it!
The Proper Diet
Believe it or not, your dog’s diet has a lot to do with the quality of their skin and coat. Foods high in Omega-3 or fish oil supplements are amazing for your dog’s coat! Not only does their dog protect them from the elements but if it is properly fed from the inside out the fur will be healthier and actually less prone to matting.
Regular Professional Grooming
Now I know professional grooming can be costly, but your groomer will be able to style your pup, remove matts properly, and if needed, do a shave down as safely as possible. They will also let you know about anything odd that they notice since most groomers do a pup’s ears, nails, glands and teeth brushing. We also siffle through your pups fur and can get those pesky matts that are extremely hard to shave out between their toes, etc. And trust me most groomers have a passion for taking care of animals, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing this job. It sure is hard work!
Overall, having a dog with a healthy and well maintained coat is key for a well kept dog. Not only can an unhealthy coat cause hair loss, itching and inflammation but it can also make your pup generally uncomfortable if they are matted, and no one wants that! And we all know dog matting behind the ears is just the WORST! Keeping your pup healthy and matt free is part of all the fun that is dog ownership, and we all know they deserve to have the lustrous and tangle free coat they desire! If you or anyone has a doodle in the Hillsborough New Jersey area please share this article with them to prevent matting!
About It’s Pawty Time: It’s Pawty Time is a fully bonded and insured dog walking and pet sitting company located in Hillsborough, NJ. We currently provide services in Hillsborough, Belle Mead. Please contact us to see if we service your area. At It’s Pawty Time, we know your pet is a member of your family and their happiness, comfort and safety are our top priorities. We are excited to meet you and your pet – feel free to browse our website and social media pages to learn more about who we are and why you should choose us!
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