How to Shave a Dog's Matted Ears

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

When Dozer's ears are full of mats, they are not only unsightly, but the mats can be bad for his health. Any breed with floppy ears and long hair is likely to end up with mats at some point in time, no matter how often you brush them. Although it is possible for Dozer to get ear mats as part of his normal life, more frequently, the mats are the result of another issue. This could be from frequent scratching due to fleas or an infestation of ear mites, lack of regular grooming, or certain food allergies. Mats can be difficult to get out of fur, especially if they're particularly large. Trying to brush or untangle them with your fingers can lead to unnecessary pulling and tugging, so it's important to know the alternative methods to getting rid of mats. This includes the process of shaving the ears down. 

Dog's Perspective

Even Dozer doesn’t like it when his ears become all knotted up. Not only do the flaps not move around properly, but they can be very uncomfortable to sleep on. At the same time, the mats become the perfect place for mold to grow in the sweat that will build up, for fleas to nest, and for any number of other insects to lay their eggs. Heavily matted ears can also cause hematomas, or build up of blood, in the ears which can require extensive medical treatment. Overall, shaving the ears may just be the best course of action for Dozer's health. 

The Shears Only Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Step
1
The right shears
For this method, you will need two types of shears. The first is a pair of shears with rounded safety tips unless you are very confident with pointed shears. These are used to slide into the hair in the mats and cut them slowly into smaller sections. You will also need a pair of thinning shears to help cut the mats out and shave his ears down to the skin.
Step
2
Start the cut
Start by placing the blade of your shears against the skin of his ear and cut the mat lengthwise in half. If you are working with a smaller mat, you may be able to use a slicker brush to brush out the rest of the mat.
Step
3
Bigger mats
If the mat is bigger in size, you can try cutting lengthwise several times before trying to brush them out. Keep in mind that you should never pull hard on the mat as this can cause significant pain.
Step
4
Last alternative
If you cannot brush out the mats in Dozer's ears, you may have only one option. This is to shave them out. The easiest way to do this is to use a comb to get under the mat. They form a safety barrier between the mat and his skin. You can then use shears to remove the mat completely, effectively shaving down to the skin.
Step
5
Avoiding the problem
The best way to avoid having to shave Dozer's ears is to brush his ears regularly. This will help remove any tangles before they have a chance to become mats. Take your time, be gentle, and keep a close eye on his ears, as this will help keep the mats at bay.
Recommend grooming method?

The Clippers Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Clipper
Step
1
Brush first
Start by brushing the matted ear. Use a slicker brush to brush the hair out around the mats in order to better expose them. If trying to brush the mat leads to pulling his hair, this is painful, so leave the mat alone.
Step
2
Split the mat
Using a pair of very sharp shears and working from the skin out, split the mat in half. Use a brush to try and work out the split mat. Take your time with this, as going too fast may cause pulling or another painful sensation.
Step
3
Split the difference
If necessary, you may need to split the mat again if it doesn't come loose. Use the shears and the brush in tandem to work at the mat. You'll still want to go slow. If necessary, consider taking a quick break to keep from over stimulating or stressing Dozer out.
Step
4
Shave the mat
If using shears doesn't work, you may have no choice but to use clippers and shave the mat out all the way down to the skin. Working very slowly with the clippers, cut under the mat keeping the blade just above skin level.
Step
5
Shave the ear
If Dozer has more than one mat, you may want to just shave the whole ear flap. Do both sides to keep Dozer looking even, if you like. Then, as the hair grows back, keep it properly groomed on a regular basis using a slicker brush to avoid this problem from recurring. Give him a treat and let him know what a good boy he has been.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Regular grooming is the best way to avoid mats from developing on Dozer's ears. This includes proper bathing, brushing, and special attention to the fur around the ears if mats are a recurring issue.
  • Be sure the blades on your shears are sharp. Dull blades can pull at the hair, causing pain instead of cutting it. If necessary, purchase larger or smaller shears, depending on the size of Dozer's ears.
  • Be sure your clippers have a sharp blade to avoid snagging the hair instead of cutting it. You'll also want to be sure to lubricate the blades to avoid the buildup of heat. This could burn the skin on his ears which are especially sensitive areas. 
  • If you must shave his ears, be sure to use a canine sunscreen to protect this delicate skin until the hair grows back. You'll also want to keep an eye out for excessive scratching or itching at the ears once you're done shaving.
  • Take your time and go slow. The skin of Dozer's ear flaps is very delicate and easily nicked or cut. Try not to rush or pin him in place. Take breaks if he becomes too stressed. 

Conclusion

Truth be told, if you keep up with regular grooming, you may have a few small tangles to deal with but you should rarely, if ever, have to deal with a major mat. Shaving them out can be challenging and time consuming, but Dozer is sure to appreciate when you are done. Make sure to keep an eye on Dozer's ears and give him regular checks to ensure that mats are caught before they can really form and cause a problem. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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