How to Trim a Dog's Ear Hair

Medium
10 - 20 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

It turns out that, not only do dogs have a way better sense of smell than we do, but they also have way better hearing than we do. Who knew! A dog's ears are very important to him, they can detect sounds of small prey, like the sounds rats and mice make, and distinguish the sounds of their owner's footsteps or car approaching from other cars and people. 

Unfortunately, many dogs have problems with yeast and bacterial infections in their ears due to anatomical structure and hygiene. Dogs that have long floppy ears and dogs with lots of hair on their ears can easily get an excess buildup of microorganisms in their ear because hair traps moisture, which yeast organisms thrive on. The result can be yeast infections that impair ear health.  

Removal of excess hair in and around the ear helps in keeping the ear area clean and preventing infections. Also, excess hair in the ear can impair hearing function in some cases, by reducing the ability of sound waves to reach internal ear structures.  Many groomers and owners remove ear hair by plucking or pulling out the hair, but many owners are uncomfortable with this process. Some dogs strenuously object to hair pulling in the ear, and in some cases, plucking causes skin in the ear to become inflamed and compromised, which can contribute to infections instead of preventing them. In these cases, dog owners may opt to trim ear hair instead.

Dog's Perspective

A dog's ears are delicate structures. Just like you would not like someone touching and manipulating your ear, your dog probably does not either. If hair in the ear has already contributed to moisture build-up and a yeast infection, the ear will also be sore and uncomfortable, and your dog may not appreciate your manipulating his ear to trim that excess hair. You will need to be firm and gentle to convince your dog that you are not going to hurt him and that he needs to remain still while you are working on his ears. Using treats or an assistant to help restrain and comfort your dog may be useful.

The Trim with Scissors Method

Effective
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Scissors
Step
1
Use appropriate scissors
Use a pair of blunt nosed scissors with sharp edges designed for cutting hair. Clean the ear first with a damp cotton ball.
Step
2
Hold dog
Have an assistant hold your dog and secure your dog's head against their body by putting their arm under the dog's neck and pulling his head against their shoulder.
Step
3
Prepare ear
Hold your dog's ear out and to the side so hair does not fall into the ear canal, or put cotton balls in your dog's ear canal to protect it. Mist hair lightly with detangler or water so you can handle the hair and make it easier to cut.
Step
4
Trim hair
Trim excess hair protruding out of the ear canal with scissors. Be careful not to nick the skin. You will want to get close to the skin but not so close that you risk cutting your dog.
Step
5
Clean up
Wipe ear area with a damp cotton ball to remove any small pieces of hair when you are done.
Recommend grooming method?

The Use Special Trimmer Method

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Clipper
Step
1
Obtain trimmer
Clean the ear first with a damp cotton ball. Obtain a small personal trimmer such as a nose hair trimmer or a bikini area trimmer, or a specialized clipper/trimmer for dogs ears. Get your dog used to the sound of the trimmer around the head and face before proceeding.
Step
2
Secure your dog
Have an assistant hold your dog and steady his head against their body by putting their arm under the dog's neck and pulling his head against their shoulder.
Step
3
Prepare ear
Hold your dog's ear out and to the side so slipped hair does not fall into the ear canal. You can also put cotton balls in the canal to protect it.
Step
4
Trim
Carefully use the trimmer to clip hair at the entrance to the ear canal and on the inside flap of the ear, and any hair protruding from the ear.
Step
5
Clean up
When you are done, wipe the ear area with a damp cotton ball to remove any small pieces of hair.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Ears are delicate and can be easily injured by having a sharp instrument inserted.  Be careful not to injure your dog with tools like trimmers and scissors.

  • When trimming, be careful not to get too close to your dog's ear skin and nick or cut your dog.

  • Clean all implements thoroughly afterward with disinfectant, especially if yeast or bacterial infections may be present.

  • Treat any infections present in the ear after trimming with appropriate medications as prescribed by your veterinarian.

Conclusion

When it comes to your dog's ear health, excess hair can be the enemy. Hair traps moisture and debris, including dead skin cells that microorganisms feed off, and can result in infections in the ear. Or, if hair is particularly excessive, hair can dampen hearing ability. Removing excess ear hair by trimming with scissors or small personal trimmers regularly and keeping your dog's ears clean will promote ear health and help avoid problematic infections.  ust remember to be careful when working around these delicate structures.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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