.....sometimes, dematting just isn't possible!
Dematting vs Shaving
Where possible, we always try and save the coat. However there are a number of important considerations before deciding on the best course of action:
How tight are the knots/mats and how close are they to the skin?
Clippers cannot cut through mats, it has to go beneath. The closer the mat to the skin, the closer the shave has to be.
Are the knots minor or are there areas of the coat that have felted?
Minor knots can usually be teased out using a variety of techniques, but when a coat has felted, there is nothing that can be done other than to shave.
How much of the coat is affected? Does it involve sensitive areas?
If a high percentage of the coat is involved, it is kinder to shave and start again. Dogs are prone to matting in sensitive areas, such as groin, armpits, behind/under the ears and chin. It is painful to have knots removed from these areas and we would usually shave.
Is the dog already in visible discomfort during the initial examination?
There is no doubt that knots and mats in the coat are extremely painful. The skin can be caught inside these areas, and could already be inflamed and possibly bruised. The dematting process will inevitably cause more discomfort.
How cooperative is the dog likely to be?
If the dog is likely to be jumping around and resisting any attempts to remove the knots, the risk of injuring the dog increases substantially. In addition, we don't want to stress the dog any more than is necessary, making future grooming problematic.
How long is it likely to take?
It's not fair to expect a dog in discomfort to spend excessive amounts of time on the table. We will work as quickly as possible to ensure stress is kept to an absolute minimum. We aim to finish a shave down, bath and dry within 90 minutes.
How committed is the owner to keeping the coat knot free in the future?
There is little point in putting a dog through the dematting process if it is likely to reoccur. It may be a better option to shave the coat and then maintain it at a more acceptable and manageable length.