Dog Ear Care Tips

The dog's sense of hearing is more effective than ours; in fact he hears twice keener than man. While the dog has ears are very much like our own, its flaps or leather is rather different from the ear shell of man. Made to capture the sound, it also moves to locate the direction from which sound is coming from.

Selective breeding has led in a wide number of ear types. In certain breeds the flap stands upright or pricked; in others it rises halfway and then tips over. In others still, it is "buttoned" or turned down although slightly raised at the base, while in a lot of breeds it falls flat to the head, while it is said to be dropped. The kind of ear flap appears to have no bearing upon the dog's hearing but it does determine the amount of care required. The drop ear or turned-down flap interferes with ventilation, and must be observed more closely.

When a pup is born, the ears are flat to the head. In breeds whose ears stick up at maturity, ear-cartilage strength changes much during the process of growth that the exact age when the ears must come up can't be stated. They may start to stand quite early in life, then, while the teeth are changing, drop once more or flare around unsteadily for weeks or months, after which they ultimately stand  straight and strong.

During play, a pup may wound an ear tendon. The upright ear might then drop and never recuperate. Some folks have helped weak or injured ears to stand by bracing them using surgical adhesive tape or moleskin. Cut the material you're using into the wanted shape and length, then apply it to the inside of the ear to stiffen it. Most puppies will not mind this much, while others would give you a hard time. The first few hours normally are the worst, and if you are able to get through this initial stage, a big part of the battle is won. How long you must leave the ears set depends on the individual dog. Faulty ear carriage is occasionally fixed within a few days; others call for several weeks and several re-settings. Use an antiseptic when you take off the tape.

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