Have you ever looked in your dog’s ears and seen a bunch of hair growing inside? Some dog breeds naturally grow hair inside their ears, such as Shih Tzus and Poodles.
Hair inside the ear can make it more difficult for your dog’s immune system to keep levels of yeast and bacteria at a manageable level, can block the flow of air that keeps the ear canal dry, and trap dirt, excess ear wax, and debris inside. So if you’ve noticed that your dog’s inner ears are getting a bit overgrown, what should you do about it?
To Pluck or Not to Pluck?
Plucking the hair from the ear canal is a controversial topic in the dog grooming world. Some dog groomers claim that they see more ear infections in dogs that get their ears routinely plucked, while others claim just the opposite. Like so many other things in the world, the answer for whether or not you should pluck your dog’s ears is ... it depends!
If your dog has chronic ear infections, plucking inside their ears can help with air circulation which helps keep moisture in the ear at bay. Plucking also makes giving ear medication easier and more effective since it can make its way all the way into the ear canal.
However, if your dog does not suffer from recurring ear infections, there is no medical reason to pluck their ears as long as the hair is well-trimmed or brushed out and not allowed to mat or block the ear opening. If you're worried about the amount of hair growing in your dog's ears, discuss with your vet what option is best for your dog.
How to Pluck Your Dog's Ears
Plucking is often routinely done when a dog is professionally groomed. If you prefer not to have your dog’s ears plucked, just inform your groomer before their appointment. If you feel comfortable plucking your dog's ears at home, you can ask your groomer to show you how it's done.
What You'll Need:
Ear Powder — this will make the hair easier to grip as you pluck. You don't need to use much, and be careful not to get any of it in your dog's eyes or let them sniff it in while applying. Such powders can cause significant irritation and damage to the eyes, and can irritate the lungs if inhaled.
Hair Removal Hemostats — this tool is optional as you can use just your fingers to pluck, but these can make gripping the more hard-to-reach hair a bit easier. (Avoid using human tweezers as they usually have sharp edges that can scratch your dog's ear, or cause even worse injuries should your dog shake or move their head while you're plucking.)
How to Pluck Your Dog's Ears:
- Apply some ear powder on your fingers and firmly grip a small amount of hair surrounding the opening of your dog's ear canal.
- If you can't get a good grip on the fur, apply more powder or use a hair removal tool.
- Pluck the hair in a quick and gentle motion. You don't want a hard steady pull or a tough jerk on the hair. It should come out rather easily (if it doesn't, don't pluck it).
- You only need to pluck enough hair to open up your dog's ear canal, no need to over pluck!
- After plucking, it's a good idea to clean your dog's ears to flush out any powder residue.