View Full Version : matted ear hair

7th August 2006, 05:23 AM
Well, this snuck up on me. I used to brush zack every night and there was no matting of his fur. Then, fleas became a problem and i started flea combing him, many times a day, and i stopped brushing him. Then suddenly, i discovered big mats behind both of his ears.

What can be done about this? Is there any way of brushing them out? They are definitely mats, like tightly woven hair, there doesn't seem to be any way of brushing it out but i've been trying, with a pin brush. If i can't brush it out, do i cut them off? I'd like to get it to where he can have unmatted hair again, but the mats go right down to the skin, i don't see how to cut them so that they are free of matting. i can't really tell if the brushing is doing any good, i can't tell if the mat is getting smaller.

Has anyone dealt with these? i feel bad that i let this happen.

matties mum
7th August 2006, 07:30 AM
I am sorry that this as happen I would take him to a groomer and let them sorts it or you have to trim very close to the skin and them brush it like you did before you got yuur little visiteds do not blame your sel fit happens :) Aileen

brid kenny
7th August 2006, 10:20 AM
Yes this has happ ened with Phoebe.
I didn't know what it was at first but it seemed like she had second ears and I was worried they were skin.
I was at a show one day and a cav owner pointed it out to me. She cut at them length ways and started to brush through them very slowly with a very tight comb.
I couldn't do it myself so I cut the matting and still do. I seem to have a lot of dificulty wit the back of the ear. I don't know how other people manage it. Because I don't show Phoebe I can do this.
Hope that's of help.

7th August 2006, 11:50 AM
Woody gets these -we try and seperate the fur very gently, there is normally the know that comes out, we brush him every day now... his fur is still soft so just knots... if you cannot get it out you will have to cut it out.

7th August 2006, 01:18 PM
Maxwell gets them also~ I have had my vet trim the area in the past just under the ear....helps with ear infections too~ more air and less moisture.

7th August 2006, 01:54 PM
very funny to think of but I had "matts" once when I was a child. Mom decided to let me brush my own hair and forgot to check up on the "good job" I was doing. icon_whistling I went to get my hair cut and the lady had noticed on the underside of my hair that I had a few giant knots. She used some nice high powered conditioner and I remember sitting there for quite a long time waiting patiently for my hair to be straight again. She literally had to do it piece by piece. We didn't have to cut it out, thankfully. I know dog hair is different than human but if you want to try it for yourself first before any alternative solutions, patience and good luck are the keys!! hehe take care and good luck (:

7th August 2006, 02:14 PM
Pixie gets those too sometimes. I use a metal comb (a little more between the tines than a flea comb) and just go slowly and try to separate the fur from the knot. It seems that once we stopped keeping a collar on her it didn't knot as much.

When she goes to the groomer I have her trim down that area to help prevent future mats.

Cathy T
7th August 2006, 02:49 PM
very funny to think of but I had "matts" once when I was a child. Mom decided to let me brush my own hair and forgot to check up on the "good job" I was doing. icon_whistling

Oh I can relate to this one!!! I had long hair as a child and never used to brush at the back of my neck. Mom found out one day and had to cut this huge mat out from underneath my hair.

Shelby is notorious for behind the ear mats. Luckily both of mine enjoy being combed so I just let her lay on the floor and work through them with a metal comb. Start at the end and just work on them. I use my fingers and the comb to separate the mat into workable pieces. If worse comes to worse (which happened to hubby while I was out of town) cut them out. Shelby had funny little tufts for a while but it grew back.

7th August 2006, 03:00 PM
I actually found one of these at the end of Puzzles ear the other day :yikes Come to find out it was probably from her ears falling in her food. I usually tie them back but I must have forgot or something.
I got some of my daughters no tangle spray, and sprayed her ear. Then brushed it out with a soft brissle brush. I started from the bottom and worked up. It was gone in no time, and her ears smelled like strawberries :lol:

7th August 2006, 03:52 PM
try coating the mat in hair conditioner and leaving it to soak in for a good few minutes then gently try to comb it out. If that doesnt work, use sissors very carefully and cut vertically up the mat, then try combing again.

7th August 2006, 04:51 PM
This happened to Brodie last summer when he was at my mom's for a week. He played outside every day while she watered her garden. He got wet on several occasions and he wouldn't let her brush him. Both of his ears were huge mats. I thought I would die...his beautiful ears were going to have to be shaved by the groomer :sl*p: Luckily though...a trip to the pet store and patience solved the problem. Here's what I did:

1. I used a Dematting comb. It is pretty scary looking and has 4 serated stainless steel blades with a thumb rest. You pull it through the mat from top to bottom (vertically). I had my mom help hold him because you have to make sure that you are getting all matt...not ear. But with caution it really was easy to use and it worked wonders.

2. Next I used a comb with somewhat large spaces between the teeth and each tine actually was somewhat moveable or rotating...this made it much easier on Brodie. I started at the ends and combed through until i worked my way to the base.

3. Next I sprayed a little detangler and then used a tiny metal comb that was for kittens or something...it had a small head on it which made it easy to work on small areas at a time. It also had a small handle which made it easy to maneuver. The teeth were fixed (not movable) and it had a little bit more space between each tine than a flea comb. I started at the bottom and worked towards the base again.

Wow! I couldn't believe that I got those out without having his ears shaved. It took about 45 minutes from start to finish with my mom helping hold and console Brodie. I'm glad I was able to do it myself because I could take small breaks and I know I was gentler than a groomer with time constraints would have been. I haven't had to use the dematting tool since though...if it's small mats or even larger ones that aren't up against his skin - I simply cut them out with scissors. Good Luck :flwr:

8th August 2006, 08:18 AM
thanks everybody for the replies. it's interesting how some dogs get it and some don't. my first dog i ever had when i was 9 was a cocker mix we got at the pound and she had the big floppy ears with long fur, beautiful, and she got those mats, they fascinated me when i was a kid, they really do seem like skin or tissue,, not hair. We used to cut them off, horizontally, but it did seem like cutting tissue and was scary, and hard to get near the skin. I would not try that now, i would take him to a groomer, thanks for that idea. i am glad to hear some people have had success in combing them out. i am going to try that. thanks for the idea about detangling conditioner, and Lynn, thanks for that detailed reply about the tools you got. What is that comb with the moving tines called? I'm going to get a dematting tool and those other tools and give it a shot, and try cutting them vertically, just to try to save as much as i can. thanks!

8th August 2006, 12:28 PM

Funny, the same thing happened to Maxx when he went to stay at his Grandma's too :roll: :lol:

He gets the occasional matt but nothing to write home about, they're usually on his belly where his harness goes and if a good conditioner & brushing doesn't get rid of them then I hold the matt right at the top by the skin and then cut up it and then across to remove it.

That way, the scissors are going nowhere near his skin and if anything got cut it would be my fingers icon_whistling

8th August 2006, 03:39 PM
So funny about Grandma's...Brodie knows he has her wrapped around his little paw :D I always have to put him on a diet when he comes home too!

Here is the untangler comb that I have (only I found it at a local pet store) Mine is "D" in the picture...the one with the handle.


Here is another version:


I have seen other varieties as well...just look for "rotating tines or teeth" on the packaging.

The little comb that I talked about in step 3 is the "double sided comb" in this picture:


It is really handly for working on small areas/much easier than trying to use a full size tool...you can use the wide side first and then switch to the small.

8th August 2006, 06:54 PM
You have brought back memories of my dear departed Black and Tan called Dolby! He was a handsome guy with the longest wavey ears you ever saw. A Judge at a dog show gave me a tip. He showed me how to hold up the matt, push a metal comb through it horizontally as near the ear as possible. Naturally, it won't go through the skin so you know how close you are by using the comb to test. The comb should be held in place by the matt and then you can trim the hair off with a pair of sissors. Less painful than teasing it out with combs and brushes. Sometimes they can get phobias about their ears (as I'm sure you are well aware!). Good luck. Gwen

8th August 2006, 07:03 PM
arasara wrote:
very funny to think of but I had "matts" once when I was a child. Mom decided to let me brush my own hair and forgot to check up on the "good job" I was doing.

Oh I can relate to this one!!! I had long hair as a child and never used to brush at the back of my neck. Mom found out one day and had to cut this huge mat out from underneath my hair.

I wonder if these are all indications that one day, you'd own cavaliers -- the old adage that people being like their dogs and/or vice versa. Maybe having matts meant one day you'd be detangling them on a cavalier... :lol: :lol:

Behind the ears, 'armpits', collar area and back legs are all matting zones for my dogs.

A stiff collar really can worsen this on some dogs. My boys never have had mats under their lightweight collars but I bought a heavier one for Lily and she had one big circular matt form under it. That took a lot of work to detabgle and not she is in a loose, lightweight collar -- I only have a collar on them to hold their tags as they are walked on harnesses.

The ear ones really need to be watched every week so that they don't begin to grow. Sometimes it is best to just cut them out entirely. Lots of methods noted above that work -- cut them lengthwise then gently pull apart the mat halves, and tease it out with a pin brush or comb. You can buy spray-on detanglers that help. Cornstarch worked into the mat helps too. You can use a mat cutter (I find these can be really good on larger matts).

I like that comb at the base suggestion -- it can be very hard to see where the skin is located on a bad matt. You could do this too when cutting one lengthwise.

Sitting around on the sofa pulling apart matts is a Lillington home evening activity... :roll:

9th August 2006, 08:51 AM
Thanks again to everyone for all the info and guidance. mission accomplished. I feel so happy about it. The mats are gone, without cutting. It took about a half hour per ear, the first one seemed longer, the second one seemed shorter, maybe i got more skilled as i went along. I got the detangling spray at the pet store, and the de-matting comb, and a little puppy comb but i didn't use that one. I just started at the ends and slowly worked down to the skin. Miraculously, Zack was totally cool with it. He's been in a lap mode a lot lately anyway, and he was happy to be on the lap, cat by my side, a common arrangement, and he never complained the whole time. I gave him an occasional treat, but he didn't resist. I was careful not to hurt him. I'll keep him brushed every day now and not let any more mats like that get on him. thanks again guys. before today, i wouldn't have believed something like that could come out. He did lose a lot of hair in the process, but it doesn't show.

9th August 2006, 11:24 AM

The hair that he lost was probably the dead hair that was causing the matt. I wouldn't worry too much, mine lose tons whenever they are brushed :D Glad he's all sorted now :flwr:

matties mum
10th August 2006, 01:36 PM
:D That is good news glad that you did not have to cut his hair must get the same tools :lol: Aileen

10th August 2006, 05:32 PM
Glad to hear you were able to get the matts out. Sounds like your doggie enjoys the attention too :p