You have been caught in a frequent dog grooming dilemma, torn between the wish to please your customer and the desire to do what's best for the dog. Being a born people please myself, I can relate. It took me many years of experience and the confidence that comes with it before I decided that the best interest of the pet must always come first in my salon. By this I don't mean that you should simply refuse to de-mat a dog that is a walking pelt without first explaining your reasoning to the pet owner. I believe that part of the job of a professional pet froomer is to educate the owner of the grooming schedule their dog requires, the amount of upkeep it will need between salon visits, the proper tools and products to use at home, and how to use them.

Most folks simply don't realize that when a dog's coat gets matted to the skin, it is not only inhumane to try to de-mat it, it's often impossible. The end result would probably look sparse and moth-eaten and the poor dog would have had to stand on a table for an extended amount of time while you use a de-matting tool that is razor sharp to cut through the mats, often a painful process. Brushing out what's left of the coat would likely irritate the skin, already in poor condition from being sealed up in that fur overcoat for a substantial amount of time.

Any curly coated mix has a tendency to become matted if not brushed all the way to the skin at least twice a week. If the owner bathes the dog at home without completely brushing out the mats first, the moisture from the water sets those mats in even tighter. This is another point that needs to be explained to the owner.

It is also a good idea to ask the owner of a badly matted pet to sign a release form granting you permission to strip down the coat. This lets the owner know that the pet's health is a top priority while you protect yourself and your business. Your release form should explain that the clipping process on a matted dog carries with it the possibilities of skin irriation and nicking. Removing a coat that has turned into a solid pelt is akin to a surgical procedure so it should also authorize you to give them a soothing medicated bath once the matted coat has been removed.

After all, it's not your groomer's fault your pet is matted.