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Old 3rd September 2003, 09:15 AM
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
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Help for a matted long haired dog needed.

Does anyone have experience with long haired dogs? I have only had boxers so I can't help my poor friend.

She has a 10 month old Bearded Collie puppy, Griffin. She took him to a groomers yesterday for an end of the year groom and they told her that his under-coat was too matted and the only option was to shave him. Being that we are in Canada, shaving a dog just before winter I think is mean.

She bought some dematting tools from the pet store last night and worked on him at home, after a couple of hours she managed to finish and small area (a few square inches). If she can do it why can't the groomers (I am sure they can do it and much faster too).

She has called around to a few groomers and they have all told her various things like she is inhumane, selfish, and a bad dog owner... I think this is unacceptable behaviour on the groomers part.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

I told her that she needs to do something fast for the health of her dog. From my understanding matts can be painful and are not good for the skin (no air cirrculation...).

I have not seen the puppy in about a month an a half so I really don't know how mad it is.

Please help if you can.
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Old 3rd September 2003, 09:56 AM
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I once took a LhasoApso home from a friend's friend whom was severly matted. I thought I could put the dog in the bath and comb the knots out but, I was wrong. It was so bad that I couldn't even get soap down to the skin because of the tangles. I had no choice but to take him to the Vet's and get a GI Joe done on him. Once he was shaved he felt so much better. However, the vet found a cancerous growth on his leg that was hidden by all the matted fur. All, I know is that if the dog needs to be shaved and it is close to winter..when he goes outside couldn't you put a doggie coat on him? I know dogs that go to the groomers every few months to get their long hair cut and groomed. The hair will grow back and she can at least start the grooming process all over to keep it from getting so matted again.

Old 3rd September 2003, 10:31 AM
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Thanks for your story - that is scary.

She said most of the matts are around his ears and neck, so I told her just to cut the matts our by hand if she didn't want to shave him completly...

She feels horrible about all of this. She really is a good dog owner, but I guess the long hair was more work that she thought. Now that she knows, he willbe brushed everyday I'm sure!

I am encouraging her as much as possible to get rid of the matts (cutting or shaving) so that she can start from scratch.

Worst case scenario is that the dogs needs to be shaved, and wear a coat for the winter - my dogs wear coats so I know how to make them!

Old 3rd September 2003, 10:38 AM
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Yikes - Beardies have a LOT of hair...I wouldn't wish this problem on anyone. I'd say go ahead and shave him. It's the only way to get rid of all the matting, and the hair will grow back faster than she thinks. Boxers survive just fine in the Canadian winters with their short hair. My poodles always continued to have their hair cut through winter and summer...down to the pink. I think it's worse for this poor guy to have to live with such severely matted fur. If it's so bad that it took hours to do a few square inches, it must be REALLY bad. It would probably cost an arm and a leg for a groomer to do it and would take so long the poor boy would be in discomfort for an unacceptable length of time.

I think the flak your friend is receiving from the groomers is because they are wondering HOW it got so bad (as am I) - does she not groom him regularly? I know that soft fur matts easily, but really, a little time with a brush every night and this shouldn't have happened.

I have a friend who has a Bichon/Shih Tzu whom she NEVER grooms and this poor little guy is always severely matted. He gets shaved a couple times a year and that's all he gets for grooming. I think it's selfish and she is a bad dog owner (he's also not neutered, has serious temperment problems, escapes all the time and gets picked up by Animal Control, and she's thinking about breeding him to make some extra money). Every time he gets loose I hope that someone else will adopt him and give him the kind of life he deserves.
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Old 3rd September 2003, 12:51 PM
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I have a Bichon Frise... I brush her everyday... it's a must!
If do happen to find a mat, I'll either pick at it with my fingers until it comes apart or clip it out. I would suggest she either shave him and start over or just clip the mats out. And ALWAYS brush EVERY day!
Rachel & the fur-pack.

Old 3rd September 2003, 03:36 PM
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I am a groomer and to be honest, I will not demat badly matted dogs anymore. It is painful to the dog, very painful to my hands & shoulders. Old age???

I charge $30.00 per hour to demat dogs that will allow it. If the mats are only behind the ears and few on the rear, they can be cut out, but I would bet that there are numerous mats down near the skin. A lot of times the top couple of inches look ok, but the bottom inch, next to the skin will be a solid mat. The groomers may be feeling that. And, the other groomers she has talked to are probably speaking from their experiences. I can't tell you how many times I have had people tell me, the dog only has a couple of small mats. That usually means one in the front and one in the back, and they meet in the middle. :LOL:

If your friend wants to tackle it, she can use creme rinse or some of the coat detanglers and work it into part of the coat and then brush out that section. But, to be honest again, there will probably be a lot of coat damage from the major brushing which will make the coat look "yucky" and even mat up again quickly.

I would recomend that she have the coat taken off and start over. Unless the dog is being left outside for long periods of time, it will do just fine.

Oh, and she will want to start brushing as soon as the coat starts growing. If she waits until it is a couple of inches, it will be starting to tangle again. A good brushing and combing (after the brushing) three times a week and she will have a gorgeous dog.

Hope this helps.

Plum and Page (the Boxers), Ruby and Casper (the little Miniature Bull Terriers)

Old 3rd September 2003, 09:29 PM
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I have to agree with the others that say that she should shave him and buy a nice warm coat to keep him warm and promise that she will keep him well groomed in the future. Mats pull at the hair and is really uncomfortable for the dog.
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Old 5th September 2003, 11:00 AM
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Yikes!! I grew up with 2 long haired dogs, an old english sheepdog and a puli..as far as i know the old english has a similar coat to the bearded collie...from what i remember it is pretty much mandatory to brush these dogs at the very least once a week and when the weather is inclement they need even more!! From experience, I have seen how painful it can be for the dogs to be dematted especially if they are as bad as you say. I would strongly recommend shaving the dog for the dogs health and your friends sanity!!! the hair will grow back and you can always get a cute sweater for the wintertime best of luck.

Old 5th September 2003, 01:01 PM
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As usual you guys are a wealth of information - thank you. I will share all of you comments with my friend.

She is brining the dog over tonight, so I will be able to see it in person. She also managed to talk with her obedience trainer (used to be a groomer) and she showed her a couple of things to do first, and if that doesn't work then her last option would be to shave the dog entirely.

The person told her to cut the mat into section and then brush it out from there, in the worst case cut the entire mat out completly. The groomer felt the dog all over and agreed that the mats are really just around his ears and neck.

All my friend wants is the best for her dog so I am sure that if shaving is the most humane thing to do she will do it no problem.

I will make sure to see if the mats are all the way down to the skin of if they are more at the top...

Yet another reason I am glad to have Boxers - don't have to worry about mats!

Old 5th September 2003, 06:56 PM
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We own a Shih-Tzu/Poodle mix and we made the mistake of waiting a while before having her groomed. There is nothing you can do except have 'em shaved and start over. Definetly brush him all the time.

"Whoever said money couldn't buy happiness, didn't know where to buy a Boxer!"

Jackie---2 year old, female Jack Russell Terrier

Old 5th September 2003, 07:32 PM
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Kysha, I would go with the shaving too and start again properly from scratch.

By the way how is Owen doing?

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"If you have your health, everything else is a bonus"

Old 5th September 2003, 08:00 PM
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Originally posted by Kysha

The person told her to cut the mat into section and then brush it out from there, in the worst case cut the entire mat out completly. The groomer felt the dog all over and agreed that the mats are really just around his ears and neck.

Taking scissors through the mat will be a big help. Usually the mats behind the ears are too tight to split and brush. Also the skin behind the ears is very tender. One very, very large note of caution. When she is cutting the mats, only do a small section at a time and be sure she can see the scissors as she snips. Too many times the mat will pull some skin up into it or very close and it is very easy to cut skin. Not to worry if you can see the scissor edge as you cut.