Why is my dog's hair suddenly getting matted after 13 years?
July 9, 2007 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Why is my dog's hair suddenly getting matted after 13 years? I've already figured out what I need to unmat her (a slicker brush), but I want to know why.

We don't know what breed my dog is. Most people guess at least part border collie, if not all border collie; others definitely see black lab and/or German shepherd in her. Her hair has always been smooth and shiny, with the occasional little whorl on her chest in the white part.

Over the last month or so, her hair has gotten a bit clumped in places. Also, the texture has changed. It feels more porous and not quite as smooth. The shedding blade is doing nothing, which is a new development. Last time, a bath washed most of it out. This time, not even that helps. I can pick them out carefully with my fingers; what comes out is the usual reddish-black late spring undercoat that has always come out on its own with regular brushing and petting on our parts. It started over her left shoulder, which incidentally has a few cysts or lumps there that the vet said were benign. (That's probably a coincidence.) Now I've also found clumping under her collar (which I have checked and is not too tight) and where her back legs meet her body.

The dog has been under a good deal of stress lately. Her mommy was in the hospital for a week, and even when home has not paid as much attention to her. However, the other two members of the household have given her at least as much attention as usual, and there are additional people coming in and out, giving her attention, which she likes.

Could this be caused by stress, or hormonal changes due to age? The reason why I am wondering is if this is some sort of isolated incident, we'd just borrow a slicker brush instead of buying one. And based on what you guys say, we'd be open to taking her to a groomer or vet too.
posted by RobotHeart to Pets & Animals (5 answers total)
It could be a change in her skin oil output. The excess oil is making the fur clump more readily. Do you notice her hair being oilier than before? Have you recently changed her diet? Talk to a groomer to see what kinds of shampoos you can use to minimize oil (if that's the case).
posted by Burhanistan at 9:12 AM on July 9, 2007

This happened to a friend's long-haired dog and his vet recommended a lanolin spray be applied at every brushing. It did the trick. Just be sure to apply it outdoors as it'll make floors slick.
posted by pmbuko at 10:32 AM on July 9, 2007

Wrong species, but as my long-haired cat got to be elderly (12+ yrs), she got more matted, and it occurred to me she wasn't grooming as much as she used to. Don't know if this would apply to a dog, though.
posted by scratch at 12:59 PM on July 9, 2007

It's been crazy crazy humid too, which makes their hair stick together more. I've got a long silky haired border mix...and her hair (only behind her ears and on her belly) is more matted than ever this year.

Her feathers are long and shiny and as beautiful as ever, though.
posted by TomMelee at 2:08 PM on July 9, 2007

this happened to my old cat and it turned out to be kidney problems. I haven't the foggiest idea why; but the medication for her kidneys helped her groom more (maybe because she wasn't feeling as sick)?
posted by chelseagirl at 8:22 PM on July 16, 2007

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