How to Clean a Puppy's Cropped Ears

5 - 10 Minutes
1 Day


If you've ever seen a puppy running around with weird bandaged ears sticking up and sometimes fastened together, looking like old-fashioned TV antennas, you may have seen a puppy recovering from a procedure to crop their ears. Many breeds, such as Dobermans, Bull Terriers, and Great Danes, frequently undergo ear cropping procedures at about 8 weeks of age. For many of these dogs, ear cropping is part of a standard for the breed, but there are more than cosmetic reasons for ear cropping. Many breeders and dog owners feel that cropped ears, that stand up and allow better air circulation to the ear canals, prevent the occurrence of ear infections that are more common when moisture and poor air circulation, cause bacterial and fungal infections to proliferate in the ears. If chronic ear infections occur, not only is the dog uncomfortable, but permanent hearing loss can occur when delicate structures are damaged. 

Ear cropping is performed on young puppies, under anesthetic. During the procedure, a veterinarian removes extra ear flap tissue, sutures incisions, and then bandages and affixes ears to a support structure or splint so they heal in an upright position. Cleaning the cropped ears during healing is part of the recovery process.

Dog's Perspective

Ear cropping is not a painless procedure. Although puppies do not feel anything during the procedure, as they're under anesthetic, there is some discomfort when they recover from anesthesia and while ear incisions are healing. Your veterinarian may prescribe pain medication to help your puppy be more comfortable, but your puppy may be feeling unwell from the after-effects of anesthetic and may be reticent about having his sore ears handled for cleaning.

Caution & Considerations

  • Do not allow the puppy to interfere with sutured ears or taped and supporting ear structures, bandage paws and supervise. Keep your puppy away from other dogs.
  • Keep tape dry and clean, if it becomes wet it must be replaced.
  • Scabs interfere with cartilage and tissues' ability to heal ears in an upright position.
  • Follow veterinarian instructions carefully.
  • Watch for signs of infection such as discharge, redness, swelling or heat.


If your dog requires his ears cropped when he is a puppy, maintaining a clean site for ear incisions to heal and then taping and supporting ears so they heal in an upright position will be required. It is important to keep incisions clean and prevent scabs from developing. You will also want to make sure that taped ears do not become soiled; wet tape needs to be replaced. If you see signs of infection, get veterinary attention immediately. Be patient with your puppy, undergoing anesthetic, having sore ears, and having ears taped and supported can be uncomfortable for him. Handle gently!

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