puppy-mill-dogSometimes you wonder just how the people at the Humane society do it… recent example – a dog was brought in who was so matted that the mats in his hair were close to killing him!  Who leaves their dog like this?!

This poor little dog, a one-year old female Shih Tzu, had so many mats that her life was at risk; skin irritations from mats can easily lead to lesions and sores which can become infected.

amish puppy mill dog

Over a pound of matted, filthy hair was taken off this poor little dog.

Those sores are hidden under the mats, and grow larger. Mats are extremely uncomfortable and can pull (hard) on your dog’s skin, and this might cause him to start chewing at the mat.

The Comb Over

I’ve seen dogs who LOOK good – the surface is nice and smooth but the dog is strangely puffed out. Sure enough, just under that neat exterior there are zillions of mats, each one pulling at the skin and causing pain and worse for the poor dog.

How to prevent mats

Some dogs’ coats seem to mat more easily. Although Morkies have hair not fur, which can be easier to care for since there’s no undercoat — sometimes that hair is so fine that it easily tangles.

small dog covered in mats animal abuseBrush and comb regularly – what does that mean? Probably every other day or every 3rd day. More frequent, shorter sessions, are better.

If you find a small mat, hold it between the skin and the mat, and gently comb or tease it out with your fingers, starting at the tip not the base.

Don’t bathe a matted dog! Take it from me, disaster!  Your Morkie needs to be combed first, or the mats will get a lot worse with water. Conditioner does not help.  (Experts can and do bath matted dogs, but leave it to them.)

The right diet can help too. Morkies need a good quality fatty acid in their diets such as an Omega 3. Talk to your Vet about supplements if your Morkie’s hair appears particularly fine or his skin is dry. A little flax seed oil in the food every day can be very helpful.

Getting mats out

  • don’t use what’s called a slicker brush – they’re for double-coated dogs, not Morkies, Yorkies or Maltese,  and will simply break the hair off. Same with the Furminator hair tool. Definitely do not use on these dogs.

What can help is a detangler. Popular brands include “The Stuff” and Tangle, Twist and Rescue. My personal favourite is miracle coconut oil – just warm a pea-size amount in your hands and rub a little on the mat. Start working on it with your fingers, very gently. Start to ease apart the mat, beginning at the tip of the mat, not the base (closest to the skin).

Give your dog plenty of breaks, this is stressful for both of you.

Avoid scissors – too many accidents have been reported, many serious, where a dog has flinched at the last moment and been stabbed with the scissors.  However, if you’re very comfortable grooming your Morkie, and your Morkie is calm enough, you could use blunt end scissors to gentle cut down the length of the mat, working from the base to the tip, then using your fingers and finally a comb to get the mat out.

Cornstarch is sometimes used to help untangle a mat – rub some into the mat

When all else fails, call the groomer.  You have to expect that your Morkie’s mats will be cut out with the groomer’s special tools. Very few groomers will work through the mats to save the coat.

Conditioning spray to avoid mats in the future argan oil for dogs

Once your Morkie is looking gorgeous again, consider a treatment like

  • argon oil, also called Moroccan oil, traditionally used to treat skin diseases,
    and as a cosmetic oil for skin and hair. You can buy it for less at beauty supply stores, or order online at Amazon and similar outlets.  I pour a little into my palms, and rub well to warm and disperse it, then spread lightly on the surface of my dog’s coat.
  • one of the many dog grooming sprays that are “freshening and shining.” They’ll help keep your Morkie’s coat untangled and smelling great.

A haircut can save a life!

PS. The happy ending for poor Chia the super-matted dog brought in to the Humane Society: she’s gone from this:


To this: a happily adopted dog living with her new forever family.

white fluff ranch