|“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.
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.
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.
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.
Keeping your dog’s hair at a manageable length also helps to 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)