I guess I've done both in the two years my two have been alive, because at first I thought we had to! But then I read on this forum that there actually is a strong feeling amongst some not to. So now I do it sometimes (with fingers only) and let it go other times. My dogs are frequent swimmers and Indy puts her whole head under the water to fetch, but they've never yet had an ear infection (knock on wood).
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Names of dogs: Baloo, Pepper, Dusty, Sammie, Trevvor, Raven
Poodle Type: Miniature, Toy
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Lots of controversy on this topic amongst us groomers, but the general consensus most of the time is to not over do it. So if your dog is a hair bear that grows a forest in his ears, don't just pull it out all at once....do about half every couple of weeks. That will (hopefully) keep the ear from getting irritated as well as ensure enough airflow to the ear. If they grow only a few sprigs, I would just leave it. Not need to open up the pores for nothing. If it really bothers you, use some clippers to just skim over the ear opening with maybe a 10 or 15. That will keep the long stuff short and make it neater. I keep a close eye on my kids' ears, with regular flushing and occasional plucking. Raven grows more hair then Trev so he gets plucked more...I rarely pluck Trev's at all unless we are going to a competition or if I see his ear is getting that greasy, clumpy look that sometimes can indicate a brewing infection. The I pluck a bit and clean well. I like to use plain water for a flush during bath time (both the poodles love it, they lean in and close their eyes) then Mystic Ear for a cleaning. So far so good, the only dog who has gotten an infection was Dusty, and he tends to have allergies/yeast issues anyways.
The key is to check...frequently. If you can catch a problem before it starts (slightly dirtier than normal or a different odor are a couple indicators) you won't necessarily need to take a trip to the vet.
"Love is the emotion that a woman feels always for a poodle dog and sometimes for a man." ~George Jean Nathan
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I got home and checked and the solution I used to flush doesn't contain alcohol. The brand is called three green dogs and its an ear flush. If I see that he has yucky brown ear wax inside of his ear, I will use this solution.
Also when I puck most of the time the wax will come with the hair. Thats why I prefer plucking over trimming.
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My vet suggested no plucking, so that's what I told my groomer. Lily has some hair in her ears, but not a lot and her ears are very clean. When we had a Pekingese/Poodle mix he had his ears plucked, but he still always had a lot of gunk in his ears.
"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative" - Mordecai Siegal
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I used to say no plucking because, before my grooming lessons, I've only seen what most groomers (the ones I've gone to and know, this isn't a reflection on anyone here since I have no idea what they do) used to do and the results. Ear infections or just irration in general. They were using hemostats and this pulls live hair and that's the problem. Not only that, but it's painful.
Ditch that. Use ear powder and pull gently on small amounts at a time, with your fingers ONLY. The dead hair is usually a dull and darker color than the live hair. This way, you're only pulling out the dead hair and while you're at it, you're not causing pain. Since the hair is dead and the hair bulb has shrunken, the pore surrounding it has also shrunken and you're not leaving a raw and vulnerable large pore behind for debris and bacteria to get in.
But if your dog's ears don't have a lot of hair, it's not really worth removing any at all. Basically, you want some air flow and if there's not enough hair to impede that, then there's really no reason to remove any. Unless your dog has a lot of cerumen due to allergies or whatever and the dead hair is holding it and retaining moisture.
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With Foxy (my mini when I was a kid) we rarely had her professionally groomed and we didn't pluck them ourselves. The groomer may have, the couple of times she saw one. She had a moderate amount of hair ( I thought it was a lot) and NEVER had an ear infection. She lived to be 16.
Weegee has the most hair imaginable in his ears. It is rather ridiculous. However, I do not pluck. I will occasionally cut the hair, and I have not cut him yet. I just make sure I get the loose hairs that might fall into the ear canal. I have had him for a year and they are the second cleanest ears I have ever seen. The cleanest being Daisy's.
Dakota: GSD/Lab 9 years old
Ditto: GSD 5 years old
Daisy: Alaskan Husky 4 years old
Weegee:Toy Poodle 2 year old
Bandit: Parakeet 11 years old
Chico and Bella: Cockatiels
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We just pulled a huge plug of wax and hair from the ears of Mr. Spike. His ears looked clean, but smelled a little waxy. When we were groom training (the people), we went to ears, put in a little les pooches ear powder, and started cleaning out the ear. I guess we went a little deeper with our fingers than our usual groomer does, because a great gob of stuff started coming out - we pulled it slowly and added more powder and a 2-3 inch long plug of wax and hair came out of each ear. We left them alone entirely for about a week, and he seems to be hearing all sorts of new sounds...
The groomer school of thought seems to have moved to "not too much plucking or messing around in there", while the breeders and owners who groom seem to take out more...
If you are not comfortable getting that far into your dog's ears (I'm not sure I am, without supervision/assistance), have your vet run a scope in there and look around...
Sarah and Spike, (Tintlet Celtic Warrior,TC, CGC)
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