Want to make grooming like a walk in the park? Check out our tips for a purrrfect coat!
Sometimes, coat maintenance can be the difference between grooming trips being a breeze or a nightmare. Matting happens when hair twists together to form clumps that can be impossible to remove with a comb alone. While different coats require different care, mat prevention is a huge part of making sure that your pet is happy and healthy. Regular coat maintenance and grooming is the key to preventing severe matting, which can cause your pet extreme discomfort. We’ve put together our best tips for keeping your pet’s coat in great condition.
1. Brush your pet at least two to three times per week.
It really is that easy! A simple weekly brush out that goes all the way through the coat to the skin can prevent mats from forming, exfoliate your pet’s skin, and guarantee your pet’s comfort as their fur grows out between grooms.
2. Bathe your pet regularly.
Regular baths also help to exfoliate your pet’s skin and prevent any dirt or oil build-up that contributes to heavy matting. As an added bonus, they smell amazing!
3. Use the right tools.
Every project requires the appropriate tools, and maintaining your pet’s coat is no different. There are seven types of brushes for pet grooming: slicker brush, pin brush, bristle brush, shedding blade, undercoat rake, dematting rake, and the furminator deshedder.
- Slicker brushes are great for all coat types, and have thin pins that help to remove loose fur and detangle mats. It is important to remember to always be gentle when using a slicker brush. The fine, tightly-spaced wires can cause your dog discomfort if too much pressure is used or the brush is pulled while caught on a matted or tangled area.
- Pin brushes are similar to human hair brushes. They generally have long, plastic-tipped pins that are great for getting through longer coats. These are best to finish off a groom, and aren’t recommended for the dematting or detangling process.
- Bristle brushes are best for shorter coats, and act as a means of removing excess fur from the coat and stimulating the skin. These are not great for detangling, as they usually can’t get down to the undercoat on dogs with longer fur.
- Shedding blades are great for removing built-up fur as well. These are best for shorter to medium-length coats, and help to scrape out excess shed from the short undercoat.
- Undercoat rakes are best for medium to long hair pets, and they get deep into the undercoat to remove fur build-up. Rakes are amazing tools for preventing matting in a longer-haired or double-coated animal.
- Dematting rakes have their purpose in the name: they demat! This tool has special curved blades specifically made to get through long double-coats without pulling or hurting the skin. Even without mats, it gets down into the undercoat and does an amazing job of removing fur build-up or tangling. This tool should not be used on pets with thinner coats, as it may cause skin irritation.
- Furminators are a pet owner’s best friend (other than their pet, of course)! This brush claims to reduce shedding by up to 90% by removing loose fur from below the top coat, and has a button to release collected fur. It’s perfect for everyday maintenance, and is a favorite among pet owners.
4. Use the right products.
If a pet has difficult fur and brushing regularly becomes a dematting session, pet safe detangling sprays or conditioners can be a life saver! Additionally, daily fish oil supplements support your pet's heart health, promote a silky coat, reduce itchy and flaky skin, and can help relieve allergies and joint pain. However, be sure to ask your veterinarian before starting your pet on any new vitamins or supplements to make sure that it’s right for them.
5. Distraction is key.
Use licking mats, peanut butter Kongs, or other time-consuming treats to distract your pet during the brushing process. When they’re focused on something else, they’re less likely to experience discomfort during coat maintenance.
6. Get pets groomed professionally regularly.
The most important thing you can do to maintain your pet’s coat is to get them groomed regularly by a professional. Best practice is to start pets off with grooming early on so that they get used to the sensation, especially the feeling of someone touching their face and feet. At PPI, we offer contact appointments specifically for young pets to help condition them to the feeling of being groomed. We also have the option of scheduling standing appointments for pets every 4-6 weeks. A regular grooming schedule is an amazing way to keep your pet’s coat under control with the least amount of stress!
My pet's coat is matted, now what?
When pets’ coats aren’t properly cared for, owners face a new issue: dematting. The solution varies depending on the severity of the mats. For smaller mats, a brush can be used to gently detangle the spots using small strokes. You should never try to cut out mats with scissors, as you may cut your pet’s skin in the process. Instead, if a mat can’t be removed by gentle brushing, a professional groomer should be seen to discuss shaving them out. Unfortunately, this can sometimes mean that the length of a pet’s fur can’t be saved.
Extreme matting is referred to as pelting. This happens when large mats merge together into a solid mass covering a large area of a pet’s skin. When this happens, pets can experience extreme discomfort, loss of mobility, and circulatory issues. A veterinarian is required to fully sedate and shave an animal in this situation. Animals in this condition are usually victims of severe neglect, and have been left ungroomed for months at a time.
Matting and pelting is completely preventable through regular coat maintenance. All of us at Pampered Pet Inn are committed to the health and proper care of our guests’ pets, and we are happy to provide more information about coat maintenance upon request. Most of the time, though, it’s as easy as regular brush outs!