Matted ears are unsightly and unhealthy for any dog. A goldendoodle, a golden retriever and poodle mix, has the characteristic floppy ears and hair of both breeds and is susceptible to tangled, matted hair if he is not regularly groomed. It is important to a dog's health to remove the matted hair and determine the cause in order to prevent further occurrences. Frequent scratching and head-shaking from ear infections or flea infestations, food allergies or lack of regular coat-brushing can all cause mats. But, with a few simple tools and gentle handling, your goldendoodle's ears will be mat-free.
Split large mats on the ears with the tip of the plastic letter opener or flossing pick, breaking the mats into smaller sections. Work from the outer edges to the center. Hold the ear gently in one hand while picking the sections apart with an upward lifting motion of the other hand. Separating large mats with a de-matting comb is another option. Be careful when using this tool since the blades are very sharp. Avoid pulling on the ear, which will irritate your pet.
Cut off the portion that is farthest from the skin with scissors. Do this only for large mats or if the hair is especially long. Small mats should be picked or combed apart. Never clip close to the skin, which could injure the ear. Professional groomers debate the use of scissors with pets. Some never use pointed scissors, citing the possibility of cutting the thin skin or one of the many folds on a dog's ear. Others believe that scissors are safe to use as long as the groomer works carefully, always pointing the blades outward and away from the dog's skin.
Wash the ears and the fur on the head behind the ears with a moisturizing shampoo or conditioner. Squeeze the shampoo into the fur, gently working it in. Rinse with clean water and gently pat the ears dry. Do not rub the hair, which will cause the mats to tighten or even create new tangles. The lubricants in the shampoo coat the individual hair strands and loosen and separate the fur as it is combed.
Comb the remaining mats with a wide-toothed comb or pin brush. The long "pins" separate the hairs and break through the length of the coat. Grasp the hair about 1/2 inch from the ear and slowly brush outward. Holding the hair lessens the tug on the ear and eases the discomfort for your pet.
Hand trim the edges of the dog's ears. Place the hair between your fingers and use them to protect the edges of the ear. Remove excess hair from the inside of the ear as hair inside the ear canal leads to ear infections.
If you accidentally cut your doodle's ear while grooming, apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Clean the ear and apply a topical antibiotic ointment.
Provide lots of positive reinforcement to your pet while trimming and de-matting the fur. Take a break if necessary. Keep the ears neatly trimmed which reduces the potential for ear infections. Speak with your veterinarian about removing hair from inside your pet's ear canal. Pluck the hairs for safe removal. Brush your goldendoodle regularly to keep his coat healthy and mat-free.
Items You Will Need
- Plastic letter opener or pick-type flossing tool
- De-matting comb
- Moisturizing shampoo or conditioner
- Pin brush
- Wide-toothed grooming comb
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