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How to Deal with the Nasty Fur Knots My Dogs Get Behind their Ears

Matting on Your Dog

If you have a dog, chances are good that you will have to deal with matting on your dog at some point. Don’t fret! It happens to the best of us. Matting happens because of dense tangles and knots, and it’s important to deal with it before it leads to other health concerns. When a dog has a mat, it can result in infection or irritation, or hide parasites. By cutting off the air flow to the dog’s skin, matting traps moisture and can be painful. In the worst-case scenario, matting can cut off circulation to the dog’s skin, resulting in hematomas that require veterinary condition. Some dogs are more prone to matting than others, but all dog owners should learn to deal with mats.

What Causes Mats?

Friction often causes mats, so you’ll typically find matting in areas where there’s a lot of friction. These areas include where the collar or harness sits, behind the eats, in the armpits, in the groin area, on the belly, or on the legs. Matting can also be seasonal, happening when dogs are getting their summer coat and losing their winter fur. Brushing the loose fur out can help prevent it from matting. Dogs with allergies will lick their skin, and if they have long hair, it’s likely to mat. Additionally, dogs with fleas will scratch and mat their fur. Finally, water can contribute to matting, and can make existing mats tighter. That’s why you always want to brush the dog and remove any mats before a bath.

Removing a Small Mat

To get rid of a small mat, all you need is cornstarch, a comb or brush, your fingers, treats, and a towel. Use the treat- preferably a Kong or lick mat- to distract the dog. Place the dog on the towel, and hold the mat in your hand or pinch it with your fingers. Sprinkle cornstarch on the mat, and let it sit for about a minute. Starting at the tip of the hair, use a comb or slicker brush to gently work the cornstarch down to the base. If you’re having trouble making progress, use more cornstarch to break up the mat. Love on your dog, and once the mat is broken up, comb the area twice. The first time, you’ll want to use a wide-toothed comb to make sure the mat is gone, and the second time you’ll want to run a small-tooth comb through the fur. If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use diluted conditioner and use the same process to remove the mat.

Tips from a Groomer

  • If you have to cut out the mats, use clippers. Using scissors is risky, because it’s easy to cut your dog. Be aware that a groomer will not just cut the mats out of your dog’s fur.
  • Brush all the way to the skin. Sometimes, dog owners feel matting under the brushed fur and think it’s skin. If you bring a dog to the groomer with this matted pelt under the topcoat, it will need to be shaved.
  • Be careful with your dog’s ears. Your dog’s ear skin is thin and sensitive, and matting can cause the delicate blood vessels in the ears to rupture. This causes painful hematomas that require a vet visit.
  • Be realistic about grooming. If your dog is matted, the safest way for a groomer to handle it is to shave the mats. This will leave a bare patch, but the fur will grow back.

Preventing Mats

If you can prevent mats, it’s much better than trying to remove them. Feed your dog a nutritious diet, with plenty of Omega-3s, to keep the coat healthy. Brush your dog, removing the collar and being careful to brush the whole body, with a brush designed for your breed of dog. Bathe your dog regularly, to keep the skin and coat in good conditions and remove the build-up of dead skin and hair. Some dogs will need monthly baths, while others will need to be bathed weekly. Use dog shampoo, never human shampoo or dish soap. Get your dog’s coat cut every four to six weeks, to keep it at a manageable length and prevent matting.

Everything You Need to Care for Your Dog

If you need help grooming your dog, Dr. Dave’s Doggy Daycare can perform this service for you. From teeth to toenails, you want to give your dogs the very best care, and no matter what kind of care your pet needs, Dr. Dave’s Doggy Daycare, Boarding, and Grooming is your one stop shop! Our staff full of pet lovers has extensive experience in the pet care industry, and we understand that your pets deserve the best of everything. If you don’t want your dog to be lonely while you’re away from home, our daycare services will provide socialization with other dogs and a staff that will pay special attention to your pet’s needs. If you need to go out of town, we will keep your dog safe and happy, and we have a certified veterinarian available 24/7 in case of health care issues. Does your dog need grooming? We’ll provide your pet with a spa day worthy of royalty. For more information about all the services we offer to dog lovers and their dogs, call 408-647-2774 in Saratoga or 408-520-4902 in Campbell.