This is a step-by-step process for handling something we deal with more often than we would like…matted dogs. Dogs who have been matted are more likely to have skin irritations and potential infections, or worse. The process of wet shaving keeps the skin cool and soothed as you remove the matting. Wet, clean and conditioned hair will stretch a little more, allowing a longer blade to get under the mats.
Wet shaving is a technique that uses the pliable nature of wet coat to save some length with ease. The length saved is not to suddenly make a shave-down candidate into a fluffy puppy; however, the length saved can be the difference between a painful sunburn or not. Running the clippers over cool, wet skin also minimizes your chance of clipper burns. This method can be used on any coat type that gets matting and requires being clipped short to start over.
Fig 1) This shows a dryer blowing the freshly bathed hair to reveal lots of mats, which is continued all over the body. At this time, I know for sure to use the wet shave method.
Fig 2) After choosing the longest-length metal blade for the matting, you will hold the skin tight and begin clipping under the mats. It is important that the skin be pulled tight when using this method as the matting already causes pulling and you don’t want to add to that discomfort with your clipping. On this dog, a wet shave permitted a #4F blade on what would have been a #7F strip on a dry, dirty coat.
Fig 3) Next, hold the ear up and out of the way which will open a space for you to begin shaving, in addition to creating taught skin so you can shave the matts off smoothly.
Fig 4) Clip in reverse on the throat latch in order to help separate the head from the neck.
Fig 5) Holding the legs in the manner that they naturally move can be an easy and effective way of stretching the skin.
Fig 6) Finish up taking off any matted areas, which include the legs on this dog.
Fig 7) Now it’s time to dry and fluff the coat for the real haircut.
Fig 8) Using the same blade length you used initially, shave the entire dog again once it’s dry for a smooth finish.
Fig 9) On the face of this dog, I’m taking the cheek the same length as the rest of the body so I can start setting the proportion of the head.
Fig 10) Then, on dogs with long muzzles such as this one, I will clip every hair off their bottom jaw like a Bedlington.
Fig 11) Again, it would be out of proportion if you trimmed the head at this length. So, for this #4F shave-down, I will use a #0 guard on the top of the head.
Fig 12) Comb out and trim the ears to the desired length or customer request.
Fig 13) Starting from the outside and working in, I use a small straight scissor to open up the eyes and create expression over the brow area.
Fig 14) In order to keep the dog’s mouth clean and stain-free and avoid dental issues, I trim the hair to the lip line so no hair can wrap around teeth in their mouth.
Fig 15) Then, while positioning the head down and viewing from above, trim a round shape back from the tip of the nose which again reduces staining and aids in oral health.
Fig 16) To finish, comb all the hair towards the eyes and scissor the muzzle shape you desire while clearing the dog’s point of view.
Remember that wet shaving will not magically take a matted dog to a fluffy dog. Wet shaving allows you to leave a fraction more hair than if you didn’t wet shave, and this is super important for the dogs to avoid sunburn. Wet shaving can be used on any coat type that becomes matted and can be clipped safely. ✂️