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Grooming a very matted coat?

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  • Grooming a very matted coat?

    I took in a foster dog from the local shelter yesterday. He is a 14 yo Maltese whose elderly owner passed away. It appears that the owner was unable to care for him properly as he is very underweight (only 4#), has severe dental disease, and his coat is a matted mess. The shelter wants him in a foster home for about a month to see if he's able to gain weight. If he does, they will be able to give him the much needed dental surgery.

    In the mean time, his coat is pretty bad. He has dreadlocks and mats all over his body and he is very itchy because of it. I groom my Cavalier, but he's much more substantial and can handle a bit of tugging when getting nasty mats out. He also gets groomed regularly so he's never been as bad as this little guy! Since he is so frail, I want to be as gentle as possible. Will a bath help get mats out, or could it potentially make them worse? I will bring him to a professional if I need to, but he is a timid dog outside of the home environment so I'd rather not stress him out if I don't need to.
    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

  • #2
    I had a very sick kitty who matted terribly; what worked for us was to gently hand scissor the knots out until she'd had enough. Then we'd do more the next day. It took a while and it wasn't the prettiest clip but she seemed to feel better. I think bathing him might make the knots tighter. Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      buzz him. the hair will grow back.
      Not to mention that it's probably bot too healthy to start with, juging from the malnusrishment...
      Originally posted by BigMama1
      Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
      GNU Terry Prachett

      Comment


      • #4
        Don't bathe him. Cut out mats as Mrs.Fitz suggested or take him to a pro. Once the worst is removed, you can work to acclimate him to grooming and get his skin and coat in better condition.

        Tip for cutting out mats: you may carefully cut into the mat perpendicular to the skin. So instead of finding the base of the mat and whacking it off, find the mat -and where it ends!- and cut into it then brush it out. This saves some coat.

        A lot of fosters with pro-grooming coats like this just get buzzed down. The hair is the least of concerns. Plus the new owner will ultimately find a pattern and length that works for them.

        Comment


        • #5
          To loosen some mats you can use corn starch. Work it through the mat and gently comb. If the coat is to badly matted just shave down. It will grow back, don't bathe him, that will only tighten the mats.

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          • #6
            I groom for a living: water makes mats worse. Don't bathe until they're gone. I would STRONGLY recommend not using scissors to remove the mats. They can actually have skin pulled up into them and if you're not careful you can SEVERELY cut the dog. The safest way to remove mats is with clippers. If you want to do it yourself, any clippers with a 10 blade (what most people use to body clip a horse anyway) will work.

            A problem with dematting a coat like this is you do so much damage to the hair that it mats that much more easily the next time. I recommend shaving it down and starting over. I would take him to a pro if at all possible. If you go early in the morning or in the evening, things are usually slower. I've got several clients with elderly dogs like this who I literally just shave the dog down while they wait and hand them the dog back. It's not pretty, but the dogs are too old to handle much more.

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            • #7
              Thanks, candysgirl, you just saved me a huge mistake. Ms Yorkie-mix (maybe a Maltese mix, or so we're told) has not had a good haircut in ages and number 1 on my to do list for Sunday was a bath and a ton of conditioner and the clippers. Guess we'll reverse that, and start with the clippers and end with the bath.

              To the OP, if you need to use scissors, we've found that a new pair of child's fiskars with blunt tips is a little safer. When they're new they're pretty sharp and the blunt tips minimize the risk of poking them... a little...

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              • #8
                Candysgirl is dead on. Do NOT bathe him and please, please do not use scissors. The dreadlock-y matts are one thing but the swaths of low-laying, close to the skin matts very likely have skin pulled tight to them and are very, very difficult to get out without nicking. Take him to a pro and just have the lot shaved off so you can start fresh; it will be the easiest, least stressful and painful solution in the long run. Find a local shop with one or two groomers rather than a big chain pet store and try to get an early or late evening appointment, as candysgirl suggested. Most shops will also want to bathe him as well, after the shave down, but ask for just the shave & bathe him yourself at home to minimize the time he spends in a strange environment. There is likely a lot of nasty trapped under there contributing to the itching; I like the microtek skin soother for severely matted, itchy pups. It is gentle, widely available at many feed/tack stores, and seems to offer instant relief.
                bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                free bar.ka and tidy rabbit

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with the others that clipping him and starting over is your best bet. After he's clipped, he can get a bath (I bet he's pretty stinky at this point) and he'll feel a whole lot better.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Definitely do not scissor. I've seem some awful cuts happen that way. Shave down to the skip with a 10# and get a clean start. He'll look pathetic but he will be so much more comfortable, you can better assess his weight, and it will let you keep an eye on his nails, skin, etc.

                    Shavings is really the only humane option when they get knotted to that point.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thank you SO MUCH for the replies!! I figured a bath would be a terrible idea, but wanted to check with people with more experience first I clip my Cavvie with my Andis clippers with a 40-blade with a 1/2" guide comb, but he does not have the kinds of body matts this guy has. @Rubyfree- your description is exactly the situation: "swaths of low-laying, close to the skin matts ". It's like the fine hair right against his skin is all matted up. He looks pretty fluffy on top of it, but you can feel the matts when you pet him.

                      I will ask the shelter about getting a professional groomer to clip him. He's so much smaller than my Cavalier that I don't want to accidentally hurt him. They told me they have professional groomers who will sometimes donate their time clipping the shelter dogs.

                      I will definitely need to purchase him some clothing. I suspect he will look very sad (and a little scary) once he's clipped close. He's SO skinny and boney under the matted fur.

                      Pictures of the little dude. The shelter called him Simba, but he doesn't respond to the name. I've been calling him Charlie instead

                      http://imageshack.us/a/img827/2583/5...1434301024.jpg
                      http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/4...2234321525.jpg
                      "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mg View Post
                        Thank you SO MUCH for the replies!! I figured a bath would be a terrible idea, but wanted to check with people with more experience first I clip my Cavvie with my Andis clippers with a 40-blade with a 1/2" guide comb, but he does not have the kinds of body matts this guy has. @Rubyfree- your description is exactly the situation: "swaths of low-laying, close to the skin matts ". It's like the fine hair right against his skin is all matted up. He looks pretty fluffy on top of it, but you can feel the matts when you pet him.

                        I will ask the shelter about getting a professional groomer to clip him. He's so much smaller than my Cavalier that I don't want to accidentally hurt him. They told me they have professional groomers who will sometimes donate their time clipping the shelter dogs.

                        I will definitely need to purchase him some clothing. I suspect he will look very sad (and a little scary) once he's clipped close. He's SO skinny and boney under the matted fur.

                        Pictures of the little dude. The shelter called him Simba, but he doesn't respond to the name. I've been calling him Charlie instead

                        http://imageshack.us/a/img827/2583/5...1434301024.jpg
                        http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/4...2234321525.jpg
                        hahahahaha, what a face!
                        Originally posted by BigMama1
                        Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                        GNU Terry Prachett

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Aw geez. I am not a small dog person at all (grooming/bathing them doesn't help ) but that poor little bugger is comfortably in the "so hideous he's adorable" category. I like them when they look like rejected extras from Henson's workshop

                          Don't tell him I said any of that. Tell him how pretty he is.

                          When they are that matted sometimes you'll get a real "pelt" from a shave-down. It's impressive to see. Take pictures to show potential adopters how far he's come. He's going to feel SO much better after he's naked, I bet you'll see a whole new side to his personality. Good luck to you & the little ewok!
                          bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                          free bar.ka and tidy rabbit

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            http://petgroomingthegoodthebadthefurry.blogspot.com/

                            A few days ago she posted about bathing before grooming matted dogs. Lots of good hints and good stories in here

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Do they at least have the poor guy on antibiotics? The dental disease could be KEEPING him from gaining weight. Soft food only.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                He looks like he could be a total ham once he gets back into shape! Reject from the Henson factory is right, but a cute one. Get the poor wookie shaved, in a sweater, and start fresh from square one.

                                Good luck with him!

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                                  Do they at least have the poor guy on antibiotics? The dental disease could be KEEPING him from gaining weight. Soft food only.
                                  Yes, he is on antibiotics and pain medication. He's on wet food and has been very good about eating since he got home.

                                  Originally posted by VaqueroToro View Post
                                  He looks like he could be a total ham once he gets back into shape! Reject from the Henson factory is right, but a cute one. Get the poor wookie shaved, in a sweater, and start fresh from square one.

                                  Good luck with him!
                                  I really can't wait to see what he's like once he's feeling better. He's very energetic and playful as it is.

                                  To be fair, he is actually cuter in person! I think he will clean up nicely once he gets a bath and I'm able to finish clipping his nails.
                                  "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

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