About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Matted Makeover...See What I Can Do

I had a little matted Maltese in the other day.
I hate when dogs come in matted in the middle of the winter.
I really hate when they are matted, because they have been wearing a sweater.
Hair + sweater + static electricity + friction = mats!

The last thing that I want to do is shave a dog in the middle of the winter that we are having now.

This little ones hair is not really that long, but she has been wearing a sweater.

Unfortunately, the body, ears and tail are very matted.

So, in the tub we go.

I made up a mixture of shampoo and 'The Stuff' in hopes that I would be able to loosen the matting up enough to get a longer blade through the coat.

The legs were only a little matted and I was pretty sure I would be able to easily brush them out.

Her ears had been pretty long and were matted.

Her owner had also been cutting some mats out of the ears.

One ear was choppy but still long.....

.....but the other ear was really hacked  up.

So, I called the owner to see if it was okay to take both ears short and start over again.

Yes, I called the owner.

I did not just take it upon myself to make the ears look cute and uniform, she is not my dog.

Yes, I have had pet owners tell me to leave long, uneven, chopped up ears, because they did not want them short no matter how goofy they looked.

Not my dog.....I do what the owner wants.....as long as it does not hurt the dog.

This owner told me to go ahead and do what I thought was best.

The matting on the body did loosen up away from the skin enough for me to get a #3F under the mat.

Most of the matting on the legs blew out with the HV.

I did have to shave the chest and belly with a #7F blade.

The tail was a matted mess.

While not pelted tight to the bone, there were about four large chunks of mats.

I used the mat splitter to carefully split up the four large mats into much smaller mats.

 I made sure to keep the tail bone covered with my fingers so that I was sure that I was only cutting mat.

I also split the mat by putting the point of the mat splitter between the tail bone and the mat, then carefully cut down, away from the tail bone, through the mat.

I was not expecting much hair to be left on the tail after brushing out these smaller mats.

 I was pleasantly surprised.

The smaller mats brushed out quickly and easily.

I did let the owner know that dematting the tail caused the tail to lose a lot of hair and was now very thinned out.

 The cut is shorter than the owner would have liked for the winter, but I am sure that she will be wearing her sweater again.

I explained to the owner that she should brush the dog every time she takes the sweater off.

I also let owners know that it is best not to let her dog wear the sweater 24/7.

I think that she looks really cute with the shorter ears.

Maybe the owner will decided to keep them short.

Maybe......I am not holding my breath.

Pet owners love those long ears! :)


  1. I've only let my dog get matted enough for a shave down once (and it was only according to Petsmart grooming that it couldn't be brushed out). That was before I knew any better. Now I know how to brush properly and not to take my dogs to a place with inexperienced groomers who learn on the job. I'd much rather trust my dogs with someone like you who does everything possible to make sure the dog is safe, healthy, and happy while also keeping us crazy owners satisfied.

    You did a great job as always!

    1. I understand what you're saying but please don't be so quick to say that Petsmart groomers don't do anything and everything to make sure your dog is safe, healthy, and happy! We attend a month long grooming school before coming back to work and I learned from some very amazing and talented women. :) Many Petsmart groomers have owned their own shops in the past but can make better money and get health insurance for their families. Just saying!

    2. Yes going along with anonymous please don't bash all petsmart groomers we work really hard too and I know I really care about the dogs I work with and take pride in what I do and I feel like I am very knowledgable on grooming as any other mom and pop groomer would be. Just because you had a bad experience don't be so quick to judge.. there are bad mom and pop shop groomers too.. but there is also good ones. Same with petsmart.

  2. She almost looks like a bedlingtonterrier

  3. Hello,

    If you don't mind I wanted to ask you what the stuff that you use is as mentioned in this sentence - "I made up a mixture of shampoo and 'The Stuff' in hopes that I would be able to loosen the matting up enough to get a longer blade through the coat."
    Im a groomer in New Delhi, India and sadly here we don't have very many special shampoos just the normal shampoo's and I would love some advise on what can be used to loosen mats as most of the dogs come in here with mats.
    Also had read on one of your posts about using baking soda? How does that work and help?
    Love your blog have been following it for a while and have learned a lot! Would appreciate a reply.

    New Delhi, India.

    1. Hi Sadhwi,
      The Stuff is a de-tangler that I like to add to whatever shampoo I am going to use on the dog. It can also be sprayed right onto a mat to help de-tangle it. If you are not able to get 'The Stuff', using a good conditioner and letting the mats soak for a few minutes, before you rinse the conditioner off, can help to loosen the matting. Follow up with a HV dryer to help blow the mats out, or away from the skin so that you can get a longer blade under the mat.
      The Baking Soda rinse is great to use as a leave-in conditioner, or to help make sure all shampoo has been rinsed out of the coat.
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      Lisa, MFF

  4. I'm not a groomer, but I've read nearly every post on your blog the past few days (what can I say, I'm obsessed) and I've learned a few things. One thing I haven't learned is how to brush my dogs (you say to the skin, but I'm having trouble...). Which, sounds silly, but slicker brushes irritate my dogs skin, and combs just comb out tangles, I don't really get out any undercoat with them. I end up using a plastic bunny/cat brush but even that doesn't work like I want. I'm considering a coat king or a furminator (though I've heard they are hard to get to the undercoat and end up cutting off the hair you want to keep?) but, I feel like I might just be using my brush wrong.

  5. Hi lisa. It seems like a lot of groomers are wet shaving matted dogs. Do you know the person who started wet shaving? Where did it originate from?