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Discussion Starter #1
Violet (a mini puppy) was at the vet today for her parvo-distemper vaccination. The vet (who owns poodles herself) noted that her ears contain a lot of hair and that I should start plucking. My history with my other dog Navy (a poodle mix) is that his ears became pink and irritated when plucked by the groomer. He is now never plucked. He has one ear that is always perfect, and another ear that occasionally looks pink or dirty. His ears are occasionally cleaned with "blue power" (a homemade concoction with alchohol and gentian violet, which a different vet recently said was old-fashioned and had more risk of side effects than a vinegar wash). Navy's punky ear responds well to the blue power wash.

What to do for my hairy-eared puppy? Pluck or not pluck? What products should I be considering? Ear cleaner? Ear powder? What brand or homemade recipe?

I've done some forum searches, and the information seems contradictory. Perhaps that means that certain things work for certain dogs and there is no "best practice" recommendation?? Has anyone talked with a specialist about ear care? Any thoughts on there being differences between best ear care practices between the three poodle varieties?

Thank you!
 

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My pup also has very hairy ears. My vet recommended that we don’t pluck his ears unless he continuously get ear infections. He mentioned that sometimes it’s better to leave them the way they are to prevent scarring in the ear from plucking. So unless they cause a problem, it’s better to leave them the way they are.
 

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This was a learning lesson for me. My boy has very thick hair and it will grow quickly and deeply in his ears. If it is left his ear was gets block and cannot escape naturally, and will eventually cause a very nasty ear infection. He had one early on and I will not allow that to happen again. He goes to a g roomer every 4 weeks but frankly I think she doesn't always do his ears deeply. She will clipper and leave a small amount on the outer lower edge, this seems to protect the inner ear from dust and dirt getting in. But I use grooming power and my finger to pull out the hair deeper in and at time have had to use a blunt tweezer to grab some. The powder dries the ear and makes it easy to pull without hurting him provided you only pull small amounts at a time. When I am thru I usually wipe out his ear with a rinse and a cotton pad. About a day later he get zymox in his ear and I wipe them out so that there isn't residue toward the outside. He hasn't had anymore infections since I do this. I seem to need to do it about once a month but I check daily and usually I can see some wax accumulating on the inner flap or if the outside ear that I leave seems to be getting dirty I know he has deep hair again and look further. I am certainly no pro at this and this is my own system which seems to work so you may be get someone who grooms on their own to give more advise. But it works for me.
 

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Plucking too much might cause problems as well, so if you pluck, you need to do it a little bit at a time. That’s what I do with both my dogs. And I don’t do it that often either. Their ears aren’t too heavily covered in hair, but I would do the same if they were, just more often.
 

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Plucking too much might cause problems as well, so if you pluck, you need to do it a little bit at a time. That’s what I do with both my dogs. And I don’t do it that often either. Their ears aren’t too heavily covered in hair, but I would do the same if they were, just more often.
I agree, by keeping up with it there isn't a need to do too much. A few months back I was neglectful and had to take a lot more out and that can cause irritation, so little by little is best.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for sharing your ear care stories. What ear powder brand do you like? Which of the zymox formulations have you used?
 

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Thank you for sharing your ear care stories. What ear powder brand do you like? Which of the zymox formulations have you used?
I use my bare hands, that’s how I was taught by Merlin’s breeder. I know many people use powder though.
 

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Thank you for sharing your ear care stories. What ear powder brand do you like? Which of the zymox formulations have you used?
I use Zymos Otic ear Treatment with hydrocortisone, I also for the most part use my finger to pluck but I first coat them with grooming powder. I've been using this one Gold Metal Groomers Ear Powder, but I think any grooming power will do as it dries the hair out making it easy to pull, but small amounts don't try an pull a whole wad at a time, He doesn't even feel it as I pluck.
 

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I use Zymos Otic ear Treatment with hydrocortisone, I also for the most part use my finger to pluck but I first coat them with grooming powder. I've been using this one Gold Metal Groomers Ear Powder, but I think any grooming power will do as it dries the hair out making it easy to pull, but small amounts don't try an pull a whole wad at a time, He doesn't even feel it as I pluck.
I do this exact regimen with Misha. It was recommended by my vet. I check his ears every week. I pluck any hair that needs plucking and then put some zymox into the canal immediately after. I use powder to pluck but only put it on my fingers and not into his ears. He did get an ear infection the first time I plucked his ears, but I removed a lot of hair at once and didn't use zymox. He's been fine since I switched to the current regimen.

I've heard people speak of "scarring" from plucking, but I have never seen any more specific descriptions of what they're talking about. I would really like to find any info on this if there have been cases of scarring. Or is this just a fear of something for which there is no evidence?
 

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What do you guys use as an ear cleaner? I think I read at one point about a homemade solution that was recommended for poodles?
I've been considering/attempting plucking (usually manage 2-4 hairs in a session) with Annie's very sensitive, very hairy ears, but could really stand a good cleaner to remove the gunk. She had ear infections as a puppy I cleared up with regular cleaning, but I've run out of the (very expensive!) premoistened ear cleaning wipes I was using. She doesn't have an infection right now, but I suspect if I ignore them much longer she will, as they are becoming a titch smelly with lots of wax.
 

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What do you guys use as an ear cleaner? I think I read at one point about a homemade solution that was recommended for poodles?
I've been considering/attempting plucking (usually manage 2-4 hairs in a session) with Annie's very sensitive, very hairy ears, but could really stand a good cleaner to remove the gunk. She had ear infections as a puppy I cleared up with regular cleaning, but I've run out of the (very expensive!) premoistened ear cleaning wipes I was using. She doesn't have an infection right now, but I suspect if I ignore them much longer she will, as they are becoming a titch smelly with lots of wax.
I use zymox after plucking, and you don't remove the wax with that. If there is a buildup of wax I'll clean occasionally with a cotton pad soaked in 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water. But there shouldn't be a whole lot of wax if you don't have an ear infection in there.
 

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I use zymox after plucking, and you don't remove the wax with that. If there is a buildup of wax I'll clean occasionally with a cotton pad soaked in 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water. But there shouldn't be a whole lot of wax if you don't have an ear infection in there.
Raindrops This is the Zymox ad ZYMOX Ear Solution with 0.5-Percent Hydrocortisone is an affordably-priced dog ear cleaner that instantly starts working to clean a pet's ears and rid them of wax buildup and debris. ... It is also recommended for use in inflamed and infected ears.
It does rid my dogs ears of wax.
 

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I have found...Using the ear powder, I use a q-tip that I barely insert into the ear canal and twirl around. It grabs the hair and pulls it out.
 

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Raindrops This is the Zymox ad ZYMOX Ear Solution with 0.5-Percent Hydrocortisone is an affordably-priced dog ear cleaner that instantly starts working to clean a pet's ears and rid them of wax buildup and debris. ... It is also recommended for use in inflamed and infected ears.
It does rid my dogs ears of wax.
Sorry! I realize what I said was misleading. Zymox specifically states that you shouldn't remove the wax when applying it, which is what I meant when I said I do not clean when I apply it. If I'm using a solution with a pad to wipe away wax, I use something other than zymox. It does help to rid the ears of wax on its own though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you everyone for your feedback. I was able to speak with my breeder about ear plucking. She stated that some dogs need ear plucking, and others don't. My plan is to remove a small amount of hair when grooming and assess if I'm making things worse or better. Right now Violet is just a puppy and her ears smell good and there is no wax build up. I will adjust what I do based on her individual needs over time. I have zymox ear cleaner and Gold Medal ear powder.
 

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Yes they all are quite different when it comes to ear hair. My neighbor has two standards that we pet sit for, her guys have nice long flowing ears without a build up of inside hair. My boy has thick thick hair both inside and out. LOL
 

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I know some groomers swear by flushing out the ear canals but when bathing our poodles I wash their ears but try not to get any water in the ear canal. After blow drying is done, I grip the hair that grows from inside the ear and gently clip around it until I can easily pull it out. I gently clean the inner ear flap with a warm, damp cloth and that's all I do. I've never plucked. Our dogs are not prone to ear infections, and have never had one, but I'm leary of those ears just in case!

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I asked the first vet that saw my first poodle for her first puppy visit about ear plucking. He had been in practice for more than forty years and he said that in all that time he had seen the recommendation bounce back and forth between "pluck" and "don't pluck" several times. He suggested not plucking unless ear infections became a problem. My first poodle had recurrent left ear infections, my third poodle had somewhat less frequent right ear infections and my second poodle had one ear infection ever. They all lived together for much of their lives and received identical treatment. Poodle number three enjoyed ear plucking and would ask for it, so his ears were kept more hair free than either of his lady friends and yet he had the intermediate number of infections.

i usually clean with an acetic acid based cleaner, Virbac. Zymox makes an ear cleanser too, but it has a heavier texture and gets on the neck fur. I usually use Zymox Ear Solution for a few days before going to the vet for an antibiotic If it's not clearing up.
 
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