How to Pluck Dog Ear Hair: Guide for First-Time Dog Owners

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Dog Ear Hair Removal

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Dog ear hair removal is not an easy undertaking. If you have ever done it before, you know the challenge of getting rid of the tiny strands of dog ear hair. The ear is a highly sensitive organ for a majority of dogs. They don’t enjoy the feeling of having their ears touched, pulled, or tugged. Can you imagine running a pair of tweezers in there in the name of plucking hair? Keeping him contained throughout the process can be quite the task. The actual cutting or plucking of the hair is no mean feat either.

Lucky for you, we have come up with a detailed guide on how to pluck dog ear hair—to help first-time dog owners understand the ins and outs of ear hair removal for dogs.

Do You Need To Remove Hair from a Dog’s Ears?

For the most part, ear care comprises of the usual cleaning with a dog ear cleaner and inspection for infection, dirt, and odor. However, some dogs are very hairy around the ear and need help getting rid of the hair.

Basically, excess hair prevents air circulation and makes it hard for the dog’s immune system to maintain a healthy level of yeast and bacteria. Hair also tends to trap the bad stuff including excess wax, debris, and dirt. If you notice that your dog suffers from recurrent ear infections, the problem could be the excess hair in his ears. Some of the common breeds that require ear hair removal include Bedlington and Airedale terrier dogs, Maltese, Bichon Frise, and Poodle.

How to Pluck a Dog’s Ear Hair

There are several ways of doing this. Let’s go over them down below.

1. The Tweezers Method

The first and common method of ear hair removal for dogs is the tweezers or hemostat method. You need the tweezers or hemostat, ear powder (or talcum powder), apple cider vinegar, and a soft cloth.

To begin, sit your dog down in a comfortable position. Lying down works as well. Find a comfortable position yourself. Once both of you are ready, reach for his ears and hold about five strands of hair and pull them out using your tool. The hair should come off in a swift motion. If you come across any resistance, that means you are pulling too hard, causing pain to your dog. In such a case, regroup and grab even fewer strands instead. Keep plucking until you are satisfied with the result. Clean the ear with the soft damp cloth dipped in warm water or apple cider vinegar to get rid of loose hair. Reward your good boy by offering him a treat or two.

2. The Finger Method

Sometimes you don’t need fancy equipment to pluck hair from your dog’s ears. Your fingers are enough to perform dog ear hair removal. For the best results, use medicated depilatory powder just before plucking. The powder creates a perfect texture on the hair so you have a good grip when plucking.  You can purchase the powder at your local pet store or order a bottle online.

 Sprinkle a tiny amount on the ear except the canal. Pour some on your fingers then begin pulling the hair strands. Grab a few strands (4-5) and twist them into each other before plucking them out in the direction of the hair. This should be a fast process. The hair should come out swiftly without hurting the pup. Don’t bother with hair that grows close to the canal. Repeat the process in tiny sections until the inner ear looks neat and tidy. If you notice any sign of infection, stop plucking, and call the vet instead. Finally, wipe the ear using a soft cloth and offer a treat to your pup.

Does Plucking Dog Ear Hair Hurt?

Like ear cropping, the topic of dog ear hair removal has its fair share of controversies in the canine world. Some groomers argue that exercise sometimes leads to infections. In addition, they claim that ripping hair out from a dog’s ear hurts the canine. Some don’t sit still throughout the process. They will try to fight, scream, bite, and wiggle out of the grooming exercise. In the end, they will hurt themselves. Psychological pain is also a reality. Groomers and pet parents that are proponents of ear removal claim its benefits for the dog.

What truly hurts the dog is the mode of pulling. If you pull too many strands at a time, you might inflict a small degree of pain on your pup. In addition, if he already has an infection, he will certainly feel pain as hair leaves his scalp. To be safe, pluck a few strands at a time. If you notice the hair is hard to pull, stop, and hold fewer strands. In case of an infection call your vet.

Can I Use Baby Powder to Pluck My Dog’s Ear Hair?

As mentioned before, the main purpose of the powder during dog hair removal is to increase the grip. So, you can basically use any powder out there as long as it is safe for dogs. Baby powder has long since been used by pet parents. Since it is safe for a baby’s sensitive skin, it should be safe for dogs, right? Frankly, not all baby powders are actually canine-safe. Those that feature talcum as one of the ingredients may not be dog-safe.

Talcum has been shown to cause cancer in babies and dogs. Therefore, you might want to be careful about which baby powder to use. Apart from being talcum-free, the powder should also be unscented. Additionally, use the product in a well-ventilated room in case of any reaction and see to it that your pup doesn’t lick it or the powdered fur.  Finally, keep the amount decent. No need to apply a massive amount that leaves the ears white. Of course, clean the ears thoroughly after plucking to get rid of all the powder.

How Do You Get Matted Hair Out Of A Dog’s Ear?

Matted hair anywhere on your dog’s body is unappealing and bad for his health. At best, it causes a great deal of discomfort for the poor dog. At worst, matting can attract mold, fleas, and other organisms to put up shop in the ear. Although rare, matted ears can cause hematoma or blood buildup in the ear which will require medical intervention to treat.

Breeds with hanging ears are for the most part notorious for getting matting in their ears. This is because the interior of the ear doesn’t get enough air circulation and can be moist and dirty. This is especially true if you don’t clean and check your dog’s ears regularly. Matting in itself is pretty difficult to remove. Many pet parents resort to pulling the matted hair apart leading to uncomfortable tugging. However, that only causes pain for the dog and frustration for you.

Using shears to trim the hairs is one of the safest and effective methods of removing matted hair. For effective results, use two different types of shears: one with rounded safety ends and the normal thinning shear. The first glides into the hair safely and cuts it out into smaller chunks. The second one cuts the smaller mats down to the scalp.

 Begin by placing the rounded shears at the base of the dog’s skin and clip the mats in a lengthwise manner in half. Brush the remaining mat with a slicker brush. In the event that the mat is too big, cut lengthwise a number of times prior to brushing.

If nothing works, consider shaving the ear hair completely. Grab a comb and go underneath the mat then utilize the thinning shears to eliminate the mat and trim down to the skin. If you don’t own a slicker brush, use a de-matting comb to separate the mats.

How Often Should I Pluck My Dog’s Ears?

The frequency of ear hair removal for dogs really depends on several factors. Perhaps the major one is the amount of hair on your dog’s ear. If you own a breed that grows lots of hair on his ear fast, you might want to pluck them every six weeks. This is the most reliable and easiest way of making sure that his ears are sufficiently clean and free from infection. If your pup doesn’t have a lot of hair, perform ear hair removal once every two months.

The usual inspection of ear infection should happen every time you clean your pup’s ears. The obvious signs of infection include swelling, head tilting, redness, ear discharge, odor, and incessant scratching. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, don’t wait. Make an appointment with your vet. It is also a good idea to familiarize your dog with the hair removal as early as possible. Don’t wait until he’s a teenager before introducing him to the tweezers or the scissors. Start early.

How to Pluck Dog Ear Hair: Final Thoughts

Dog ear hair removal is a scary part of pet grooming. Most pet parents prefer to have the pros do the job for them. However, with the right tools, preparation, and mindset, you can remove ear hair to perfection by yourself, every time. The next time your pup needs his ear hair plucked or removed, dare to be the one to do it.

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Sable M. is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.