How we deal with Knots and matts in the salon

How we deal with Knots and matts in the salon

Avoid the matting!

matted samoyed

All dogs and cats coat textures are variable, causing them to knot up differently.

Coarser, more wiry coats, like those of some Terriers, usually take longer to knot up and are easier to brush out and remove knots from; whereas the poodle type, more woolly coats, tend to knot quickly and the knots are more difficult to brush out.

The breed of dog or cat you have will help you to determine the amount of coat maintenance required from you at home.

Very matted cat

matted cat
matted cat

How do we remove knots and matts from the coat in the salon?

We can remove some knots by brushing them out or cutting them out, this will often still leave long hair on the pet which we can style. Which course of action we take depends on how close the knot is to the skin and how sensitive your pet is to grooming.

Matted coats are created from knots that have attached to other knots, creating a huge mass of knots or matting. This matting can be on smaller areas or the whole coat (pelted coat) and becomes tighter and closer to the skin, the longer it is left. Matting like this usually needs to be clipped off, much like a sheep’s fleece.

We can never cut through matting; we have to cut underneath it to remove it safely from the pet. To determine how much hair will be left, will depend on how close and tight the matting is to the skin.

What makes a pets’ coat matted?

There are lots of reasons why a pet’s coat can become matted. Most often it is through lack of maintenance; brushing and combing, washing and conditioning. Using the wrong techniques in brushing and combing can also help knots to stay in the coat which then goes on to matt…

Leaving the hair wet or damp by the skin causes matting to occur very quickly – often within a week! So, allowing your pet to get wet in the garden or park and become wet-dry/wet-dry/wet-dry and so on, without any brushing or combing in-between, will result in matting very quickly. Water tends to encourage the formation of knots as well as making current knots tighter and vaster. Conditioning when washing and using leave in conditioners in between bathing helps to avoid the formation of knots.

If you want a nice coat on your pet, these are all the things you need to think about, before the coat needs to all be removed.

Very Matted Shih-tzu

matted shihtzu

Knots and matts often cause damage to your pet’s wellbeing and their skin.

As they increase in size and tightness to the skin, knots and matts become uncomfortable for your pet, often causing such discomfort the pet does not like to be touched or stroked.  The skin cannot breathe, the coat cannot function and regulate the temperature of the pet, so the pet gets very hot. Matts encourage fungus and bacteria to grow underneath because it is often a warm damp place, this makes the skin really sore. The pet will be very uncomfortable.

Underneath the matts

matted shihtzu

Matts will pull on the skin and often cause your pet to itch and bite themselves.

Matts damage the skin, causing bruising and often ripping the hair out by the roots. This action causes damage to the hair follicles, often changing the regrowth texture and colour of the hair.

During knot and matt removal, a very short blade is often required, pressure is now removed from the skin and this can cause complications such as: making your pet feel different and have a change of behaviour, they may start itching, get a clipper rash or start head shaking.

Clipping a coat very short can cause various issues, as skin can become inflamed and hair follicles damaged.

This happens especially on the ears, when the restriction on the blood vessels are removed, head shaking can start and cause bleeding and haematoma’s (blood blisters) on the ears. This is a complication when removing matting from the ears and head, we do our best to avoid this happening during grooming, as well as advising, how to manage this at home, should it occur.

Tight matts

Matted Cat Absolutely Animals

Pets feel different when matts are removed

Once these knots and matts are removed your pet will often look and feel different, we know this as when knots and matted hair are removed, your pet is appreciative and often loves to be stroked much more than before.

Pets who have been groomed and especially those that have had a severe haircut may behave differently at home, with you and with other pets. It is very important to tell your pet how great they look and not to laugh at them in any way on their new appearance, as they will feel they have done something wrong and hide away when they get home. We certainly don’t want this to happen.

Matts pull on the skin

Matted Cat absolutely Animals

We advise, your pet wears a jumper after having coat removal. This reassures the pets and makes them feel less different and vulnerable.

In the salon

We do our best to assess the severity of the knots or matts on first inspection, when your pet comes in for grooming, so we can realistically tell you how much coat can be saved. We usually get the prognoses right and can often use our magic tricks to send your pet out looking gorgeous.

But sometimes the groom may not go to plan; the pet may object; some pets are more sensitive than others and will not tolerate too much handling, or the matting may be tighter than we thought, and we need to remove more hair. This is the best path for the pet’s well-being. I am sure you will agree.

Humanity before Vanity!

But the good news is, hair usually does grow back! We work with our clients, to put a plan in place for regular grooming at home and in the salon, as well as any handling techniques that you may need, so this can be avoided in the future.

Prevention is better than cure! 

Avoid knots forming with regular grooming of your pet at home, and everyone is happy.

You are happier, your pet is much happier, and the groomer is much happier still: how……? Well, keep reading on to find out!

Prevent the matts

Cat Grooming
matt from a cat

Close bonding with your pet is good for the soul.

Dogs and cats generally love grooming, if it is carried out frequently. It’s in their make-up to be groomed by fellow social members, and it creates a closer kinship.

Your pet’s skin works much in the same way as ours, it is the largest organ in the body and works by dropping dead skin cells and establishing new skin cells which grow underneath, rejuvenating the skin.

The skin has a connection with the other organs in the body and the massaging effect it receives when being stimulated (groomed).

Not only does grooming increase the blood flow in the skin, but it also helps to remove dead skin cells, enhancing the skin quality and stimulating the other organs in the body too, promoting your pet’s overall health.

If you are not regularly grooming your pet already, this information alone, should encourage you to start on a weekly basis.

Dog Grooming

Your pet just loves being groomed.

The more you groom your pet, the more they will just love it. Regular grooming will save YOU, not only huge vet fees, but often additional grooming fees as well.

Knots, debris and dirt are removed from the coat easily with no objections from your pet, if groomed regularly. Pets will object to knots being pulled out of the coat once they have built up, as by this time it is uncomfortable and at worst, it hurts!

Insects such as fleas, ticks and any abnormal health issues are spotted early with regular grooming and are treated before they can develop into anything serious; ensuring your pet is much healthier and happier.

dog grooming

Our groomers are happier because we can style your pets’ hair.

Even though we are called groomers, we cannot replace
regular grooming at home.

Grooming a pet must be carried out weekly.

It is part of general pet ownership.

It’s what every pet owner signed up for!

 – Regular grooming helps your pet to live longer –

dog grooming

Removing knots and matts, is difficult.

Pet owners just can’t expect, not to groom their pet for 6 weeks or more and leave a groomer’s in a short amount of time, with a dog, looking like a show dog. It is unrealistic and i think a lot of owners know this.

Any groomer will tell you, grooming a knotted or matted pet is a difficult job, because our options are often limited by the severity of the matting and the sensitivity of the pet.

Removing built up dead hair, knots and matts from the coat is time consuming and reduces the actual time we can spend, styling the coat and making your pet look and feel wonderful.

Pets need to be regularly handled and touched all over

Often, pets that are knotted or matted are not touched sufficiently on the leg’s heads, rears and tails for them to be comfortable with it. When this is the case the pet will often complain and try everything in their power to stop the touching continuing. This can make the process very long and exhausting for pet and groomer.

Owners must expect to pay more in these instances and expect to receive a few words from the groomer. We want to avoid this at all costs.

We understand that sometimes, life may stop us from maintaining the coat of our furry friends, so if you are having difficulty, don’t ignore the problem, call us, we are here to help.


If you need assistance with the grooming of your pet, please call us on 020 8857-2888

Next month – Why doesn’t my pet like being brushed?

Regular grooming promotes good health by:

  • Stimulating the skin and promoting good blood circulation
  • Aerating the coat, ensuring healthy growth
  • Brushing away cast and loose hairs, dander and grass seeds
  • Avoiding knots and matts from forming
  • Creating a good bonding time – reducing stress for you and your pet
  • Increases the joy of being handled for your pet
  • Increasing the chance for a few treats and rewards for your pet
  • A Good time for a health check and to getting to know your pet better
  • A Time to inspect for any parasites in coat, skin or ears!
  • To attract admiration for your beautiful pet
  • Minimising additional vet and grooming fees

Not grooming your pet regularly can cause:

  • A dull or greasy coat and itchy skin
  • Knots and matts in the coat
  • Lots of loose hairs and dander in the coat
  • Grass seeds, which can enter the dog’s skin and cause internal damage
  • Dog can get stressed and aggressive when grooming time comes around
  • Parasites and fungus can live unnoticed in your pets’ coat and ears, causing infections, pain and distress
  • Increases your vet and grooming fees