Not long ago, a little Maltese-mix dog was brought to the shelter with severely matted fur. Maltese are known for their beautiful coats, often cut into charmingly fluffy styles. That wasn’t the case for little Bogart, though. His fur was so incredibly matted that it had begun to cut off the circulation in one of his legs and he was unable to put any weight on it. The vet first feared the leg would have to be amputated.
Although it’s more common in pets with long fur, even short-haired animals get mats. Matting is caused when loose fur isn’t removed as it sheds and it becomes tangled with the live fur, forming knots and clumps. Left unattended, they become very painful, and potentially dangerous. Other matter, such as ticks, dirt, and even feces, can become caught in the fur and go unnoticed, causing potential infections. Pets with mats may also become fearful or aggressive because it’s painful for them to be touched.
Some mats can be carefully cut out, but many animals will need to be sedated and have their fur shaved. If you have any doubt, or your pet indicates that they are in pain, it’s always best to seek advice from your vet before trying to cut out mats yourself.
The good news is, mats can be prevented. Regular brushing helps de-tangle and remove the lose hair. It also removes extra dirt, spreads natural oils throughout the coat, stimulates circulation, and keeps the skin clean and free of irritants. For animals with long hair, daily brushing is especially important. For animals that go outside, this daily brushing is also a good way to check for any debris or ticks that may have gotten stuck. Many pets enjoy the grooming process, though, and it’s another way that you and your pet can enjoy being together.
Another important bit of grooming is trimming your pet’s nails. Left untrimmed, nails can break and cause pain or infection. They can grow too long and affect the way your dog walks, or can curve under and grow into your pet’s paw. There are many resources available online that will show you the proper techniques and tools, but if you feel too uncomfortable doing it on your own, you can take your pet to a professional groomer or ask to have the nails trimmed at your vet’s office.
The best news is that, after time, Bogart recovered well. He was adopted into a loving home and his new mom sends us wonderful photo updates of his progress.
He is now a lively, snugglebug who runs around without a limp and his leg is completely healed. He still gets scared easily and doesn’t like his feet touched, but we are working on it. His former life looks like it was pretty bad, but he has completely come out of his shell and is so happy. Thank you for rescuing him and giving us the chance to love him.