How Does Matted Fur Affect Your Pet’s Health | Long-haired cats and dogs are immensely popular, because long, luscious coats are simply gorgeous. Who doesn’t love to snuggle up with a super fluffy pet? But many pet owners don’t realize that grooming simply isn’t optional for their long-haired lovies. They start out brushing daily, then weekly, and eventually even a monthly brushing is rare.
Since matting occurs at the base of the hairs, not the outer ends that are visible, it is common for mats to build substantially without the owner even being aware of it. Not only is the extent of the matting hidden, those mats can hide a multitude of issues that aren’t just unsightly — these can be downright dangerous to your pet’s health. Here are some of the ways fur matting affects the health of your dog or cat.
Obviously, matted fur makes brushing very painful for your pet. But even if you aren’t brushing it out, the mats pull at the skin and make it uncomfortable to walk, run, lie down, or sit. Since pets, dogs especially, tend to hide their pain from their family, you might not even realize those mats are hurting. If the mats get too bad, groomers have no choice but to shave off the fur. This can sometimes cause permanent changes to the look of your pet. Regular brushing and professional grooming prevents this from becoming an issue.
Once the mats are embedded in the fur around the legs, posterior, and tail, the pulling can become so intense that it literally cuts off blood flow to these extremities. Though rare, in the most serious cases this can lead to the loss of limbs. Long-haired breeds like the popular Labradoodle, Wheaten Terrier, Bearded Collie, Yorkies, and others can become this seriously matted, even while the top layer looks smooth. Without regular brushing and grooming, mats this severe can develop unnoticed.
As the hair follicles pull against the skin, and the mats prevent air circulation across the skin, that area never fully dries. Like any skin that is constantly exposed to moisture and heat, wounds can develop. Open sores are then susceptible to foreign matter, like stickers and burrs, which aren’t just exceptionally painful, they also contain germs that introduce even more potential for infection. Conditions like this can lead to loss of limbs and even become fatal if not addressed properly and promptly.
Matted fur tends to catch up any germs and nastiness that the dog or cat happens by. It’s like a catch-all for yuckiness. Additionally, mats create a safe haven for pests, including fleas, mites, ticks, and even fly larvae (yep, maggots). Matted fur also hides any skin issues that are indicative of the pet’s overall health. For instance, certain diseases like Diabetes and Hyperthyroidism often exhibit signs on the skin. Being able to detect these changes in skin color and condition (such as redness or dryness) helps catch these problems early. Early treatment means a much more positive outcome in the long term.
Grooming doesn’t have to be a big deal, though. Set aside a regular time to brush your pet, just like you schedule time to mow the lawn or check your fire alarms. It’s just one of those things you have to do on a regular basis. Partner with a professional groomer who can keep your cat or dog free of mats that can lead to health problems. This has an additional benefit: the groomer gets used to your pet’s skin condition, and is another valuable set of eyes when it comes to detecting changes that could indicate a change in their medical condition.
Clean, well-groomed pets are happy pets, and happy pets make happy owners. Get started on your better grooming habits at Just Happy Hounds today!
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