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. :)