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.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday's Tip #60: Cheap Mat Splitter

Hi Everyone!
It has been a very long month.
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who left the nice comments on my last post.
It is amazing how fast someones life can turn around.
My Father has gone from living in his own home and driving to a Hospital stay, then rehab, and now will be moving into Assisted Living with 24/7 care.
I am very thankful that I found him when I did.
I am also very grateful that he still knows who I am, even though everything else is so mixed up in his head.
I had hoped to bring my Father home to live with me, but unfortunately he will require around the clock care.
I am also very lucky that I found a beautiful, very caring place for him to live that is close to my home so that I can see and check on him often.

Once again, Thank You for all of your good wishes! 

On to Tuesday's Tip:

I know that a lot of groomers prefer to just cut or clips mats out of, or off of a dogs coat.
There are also groomers out there, like me, who like to save a coat, face, ears, or tails.
Many groomers have their own way that they like to demat a coat.

My tip today is for using a tool that will help split large mats into smaller mats so that they will be brushed out more easily.

There are many groomers that like to use mats rakes.
That's fine as long as groomers are very careful while using them.
Personally, I don't care for them.
Too many blades to worry about getting caught up with the skin that the mat is pulling.

I like the single blade mat splitter.

(Don't ask me why I have three of them. ??)

I feel like I have more control using just the one blade.

I also know exactly what and where that one blade is cutting at all times. 

 This single blade mat splitter only costs around $5, but there is one problem.

It is hard as heck to find replacement blades for it.

The blades are small, narrow razor blades that are sold in a cartridge (as shown are).

These blades have to be changed fairly often, because they tend to lose their sharpness quickly, but they are great when they are sharp.

The splitter goes through the mat like a hot knife through butter.

It is also a very dangerous tool, and must be used very slowly and carefully, preferably on a dog that does not jump around.

Also, the blades, when you can find them, are not cheap.
If you use the splitter a lot and want to keep it sharp, it can turn into and expensive tool.

There is a cheaper alternative....

A letter opener......yes, I said a letter opener.

Not just any old letter opener.

It has to look something like the one pictured here.

This one came from Wal Mart for a whooping .97 cents.

You want a letter opener where the blade is surrounded by plastic.

The orange line shows the part of the letter opener that will be between the dogs body and the mat.

The plastic point helps glide the blade through the mat.

 This dog has been bathed and blow dried.

Most of the mat easily brushed out while fluff drying, but there are still a few larger mats that need to be split into smaller mats so that they can be brushed out more gently.

 The pointy tip of the letter opener goes down behind the mat, between the mat and skin.

**Always make sure that the blade is facing out, away from the dogs body.

With the grooming mat splitter tool (shown in the above pictures), all you need to do is get behind the mat and pull the blade through.

With the letter opener it is a little different.

It is best to use a picking motion.

Down, up, down, up.

Push the blade down into the mat and than pull back up.

 Down, up, down, up.

**Always away from the dogs body. Never use sideways.

  Now the mats are smaller.....

...... and much easier to brush out.

 The mat is gone and there is no hole in the coat that would be left if it had been scissored or clipped out.

Here is a quick video of me using this inexpensive letter opener as a mat splitting tool:

I feel that the letter opener is a little safer than the Mat Splitter Tool, but it is still a razor blade and must always be used very carefully.
Always make sure that you are only cutting through mat and not pulling skin up into the blade.

Because this letter opener is so cheap...even if it dulls after using it on only one dog (big job)...you can easily charge the customer an extra dollar for the use of the demat tool.
Throw it away and grab a new letter opener for the next demat job.

Hope this tip helps someone. :)


  1. Sorry-last comment cut off-anyway, I'm not a professional groomer-but I do cut and groom my Sissy (Lhasa apso) and every now and them she'll get a mat..I think this is a great, SAFE way to work those out. You're so clever~

  2. Amazing job and very helpful! Those 'real' mat splitters are scary, lol. What breed of dog is that (or mix)? Very interesting color! Again thanks for this post, looking forward to the next :)

  3. I love your blog! It's so helpful to me as a new groomer. I have an off topic question for you: what techniques do you use to get a dog dry fast and efficiently? I seem to be taking a whole lot longer than everyone else at my salon drying a dog! Thanks so much :))

  4. Hi there,

    I have a standard poodle puppy which I would like to send to you for grooming. Can you please let me have your location? you can contact me at silverylite@gmail.com.


    Joanna Poh

  5. Neat tip!

    I have a question, I'm a new groomer and I do house calls. I was just wondering, how do you keep your tools clean? Do you disinfect after each groom?


  6. Hi Lisa!
    In Russia they sell it as a "brand" matt splitter called "Капля" $5.5 each :) Never realised it was actually a letter opener!
    I have a question for you. I have recently asked myself what if I had actually cleaned my old blades properly how much longer they would have served me? To be honest I hadn't cleaned them for months up until yesterday. And I don't know how to go about cleaning them except for force blowing then using clipper oil and I don't really like them greasy. If you have time and will, could you please make a blog post about your method of cleaning blades? I heard about washing them with soap but won't it rust my precious expensive blades? I'm totally confused
    Thank you!
    - Allie, your fan, been reading your blog for 2 years

    1. Hi Allie,
      Thank you very much for reading my blog!
      I will try to get some pictures together to show how I have cleaned my blades. Maybe it will be my next Tuesday's Tip. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  7. I like your article because the tips you shared here was easy to understand compared to the other blogs I saw before. I got the topic about dog grooming in the Vets North Somerset so, I continue to look an informative article like yours. The cheap mat splitter posted here was so impressive because it really helps to make our dog to be gorgeous. For more information please visit this link: http://wellpets.co.uk/weston/

  8. Great post! There's some really helpful advice here. I'll definitely be trying this out!