Mats and tangles are not just ugly and dirty—they are painful and damaging to a dog’s skin.
They can form in the outer- and undercoat, where they may remain unnoticed for weeks.
Painful sores can develop underneath the matting. Once mats start to form, they seem to collect more and more hair and anything around like grass, twigs and dirt until the entire coat becomes a mass of mats.
Mats and tangles occur most commonly in long-haired dogs. As new hairs grow in, mats can occur very close to the skin if the dog is not regularly brushed at home and this can cause for difficult shave downs where irritation and cuts can be more likely. The areas most prone to tangling include under the front legs, the legs themselves, behind the ears, and at the base of the tail as well as the chest and rear.
To prevent mats and tangles from forming in the first place, brush your dog right down to the skin with a rubber tip protected slicker brush.
It is not sufficient to simply brush the outer coat, because mats tend to form in the underlying inner coat.
Be careful, of course, not to brush the skin itself, which can irritate it.
If you irritate the skin, your dog will come to not enjoy being brushed.
If he does not like brushing, he’ll be more unpleasant to work with, which will make you avoid the task and the coat will become steadily more matted. At that point you will have to take him to the groomer, where most of the coat will be shaved off and will be a slightly higher bill as it is very time consuming work. The lesson? Brush your dog regularly and gently.
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