Poms are notorious for getting mats under their arms and legs and behind their ears. Sometimes it seems like they appear overnight and are the size of marbles before we know what hits us!
If you have looked online at all you have probably not just read, but been screamed at to not shave your pom, no matter what!!! Well, while this is excellent advice as shaving can cause permanent damage to your Poms coat, it is not always reasonable.
If you are adopting Pom from a shelter or found a stray on the street, you may have no choice but to use clippers to remove excess mats. Excessive matting can not only be painful to any dog, it can also cause serious health problems by cutting off circulation to limbs, forcing hair into the eyes, or preventing waste from falling free of the animal causing urine burns and infected anal glands.
This method is simple and I call it “dissecting the mat”. It can help salvage the hair that may be able to be freed from the mat without causing much discomfort to your pet.
You can do on your own in between trips to the groomer, or if you elect to do your own grooming (only use sharp, hair cutting scissors):
- Isolate the mat you are going to work on. Try to move all lose hair away from it.
- With your fingers, see if you can work any of hair free of the mat.
- Open the scissors and slip one end under the mat at a 90 degree angle (Perpendicular) to the skin and cut through the mat.
- Move the scissors so that you can cut a second time through the mat, crossing the first cut. The mat should now be in about 4 sections.
- You can keep cutting through the mat as much as you feel is needed to loosen it up.
- Using a steel comb, gently try to work the mat free, one section at a time. The most important thing to remember is that it can be quite painful if you are pulling the hair to tightly. If possible, try to use your fingers to hold the fur between the skin and the mat firmly so when you are tugging the mat free, you are not tugging the skin.
Keep in mind that while this method of “dissecting the mat” may help free the majority of mats without resorting to cutting it out, you will come across those that you will need to just cut out for one reason or another, it could be too thick, too big, in too sensitive an area, or just for times sake, etc…
If you do need to cut a mat out, gently hold the mat taught, hold the scissors parallel to the skin and as close to the bottom of the mat as you can get, then gently snip away the mat being careful to avoid the skin. You may want to try a pass with thinning shears to see if the mat pulls away with being completely severed.
The main thing to remember is to take your time, hair grows back if you cut it a little crooked, if you need someone to help keep your pom calm and distracted while you work, by all means do so and always follow up with love and treats!