Q: My Poodle puppy has a lot of mats but I would like to keep her hair long. Should I shave it off first and wait for it to grow again? How I can keep it from matting again in future?
A: Whether or not you should shave your Poodle depends on how bad the mats are. If her entire body is covered in matted fur, I would advise you to shave it off as it will be less painful for her and less tedious for you.
However, if you have the patience to de-mat your Poodle, here’s how you can proceed.
First, find out why and how your dog’s coat has become so matted. A good, healthy coat should not mat even if it is not brushed for a week. As Poodles are single-coated, matting caused by not removing the dead undercoat is unlikely. I’m assuming that the coat may be a bit dry or it could be due to friction caused during scratching or licking or wearing of clothes. If your Poodle is scratching excessively, please check for skin problems. During this period, try not to dress your pet in clothes to prevent further matting.
To de-mat your Poodle, you will need de-matting solution, a slicker brush and a comb. Coat your dog’s fur generously with the solution and leave it on for (at least) six to 24 hours. The solution helps to close gaps in the cuticles (keratin). After that, you can start the de-matting process using your fingers first as this minimises the damage to the fur. Use your fingers to separate the larger mats as much as you can, then slowly, using your slicker brush, brush out the mat layer by layer. When it is more or less straightened out, use your comb to ensure that no mats are left.
To prevent future matting, brush your dog’s fur at least once a week. If you manage to make the coat healthy again, you will find that it requires less brushing as healthy coats do not matt so easily. Also remember to apply conditioner after bathing your dog. Scratching or friction can cause the keratin on the fur to ‘open’; this damaged hair is what causes tangles and mats.
Picture Source: http://cutepetwallpaper.com