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Hair in the ear canal

12633 Views 24 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Savannah
How much is too much? We had a vet appointment today, and the vet was a little concerned by how much ear hair Captain has in his canal. I clean his ears out every few days or so, and get the wax out, but if the vet is concerned, should I talk to the groomer about taking more out next time? Can it be trimmed rather than pulled? He seems to have very sensitive skin, so I don't want to irritate it. The hair doesn't seem to be causing him any problems, since I keep his ears clean otherwise. She said he doesn't have any infections, but the hair could cause one. But, what I've found about taking the hair out, is it could cause infections too. Thoughts?
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Kaden will get an infection if his ears are not plucked clean.

all the other dogs get just what comes out easily plucked.

I have heard some people leave everything, and only trim the hair that sticks out of the ear with a pair of scissors.

A lot of vets will tell you to pluck them clean. I feel that it just depends on the dog.
I think it depends on the dog. Some dogs have ear hair that pulls right out without pain or irritation, and I always pull the hair out for those dogs. However, for the dogs who seem to be more firmly attached to their ear hair, I just clip it as short as possible and advise extra cleaning. (Flash is of the latter variety- he cries when I try to pull his ear hair out, and it leaves redness when I'm done. So I simply stopped, and Flash has had trouble free ears ever since.)
If he doesn't get ear infections, then let him keep his hair. I think you're doing the right thing with the frequent cleaning, and sometimes vets can be alarmists. However, if he does start having ear trouble, then I'd think about pulling a good portion of that hair out.
My vet surprised me when I took Mia in by wanting to pull her ear hair. He's typically the one saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it." So I bought some ear powder to dry the hair and pulled out with my fingers what I could. I like this ear oil that has eucalyptus so I put a few drops of that in there but we need a wash to clean everything and break down ear wax.
Kpoos - what is the name of those ear-drops : ) ? What they do actually ?
My little sister's poodle has really hairy ears! And Goldie gets NASTY if you try to pull out the hair (she almost bit me, twice last time I gave her a bath and tried to help with the ears). The worse part is, that both she and Maggie (cocker/poodle mix) did get ear infections and they were a smelly, icky, black/ brown mess of an ear. Plus it was painful for them.

So... pluck or excessively clean is the lesson I learned.
Pluck it!

Either go to your groomer or get some ear powder and do it yourself. If you do it yourself here are a few things to remember. 1. You need the ear powder, it gives you a better grip and allows you to get it all out. 2. you are just getting whats in the ear canal not whats outside of the ear, that can be trimmed with scissors. and 3. Pluck SMALL amounts not huge chunks at a time. It will hurt less and your dog will tolerate it a lot better.

And very last clean the ear afterwards to get the powder and ear gunk out.

Oh and always pluck a dry ear, if its wet the ear pownder is useless and wont work.
Oh and remember the more often you do it the less hair is in there the next time and less discomfort for your dog!
I was also wondering the same thing. One of Merc's ears is clean of hair now and I had no problem getting it that way. When I went to dehair his other ear the hair was stuck tight. He was obviously uncomfortable when I tried yanking it out and I ended up having to leave a lot of it. A few days later the ear I left semi hairy developed an ear infection. I wonder if he already had the infection when I tried plucking the hair and that is why that ear was so much harder or if I gave him the infection by trying to pluck his ear hair. I guess Ill probably never really know.

I obviously don't know the best thing to tell you, but I think that if what you are doing works for you you should continue with it.
Plucking hair is VERY controversial in the vet world vs. groomers. I strongly believe in plucking poodle ears - as I have seen what it can do in my own dogs' ears when I leave them unplucked for a few days too long. Nasty, nasty yeast infections can pop up almost overnight.

But, I have heard of groomers plucking ear canals that were impacted with hair and the plucking UNCOVERS an underlying infection. The owner takes the dog to the vet and the vet ASSUMES that the plucking caused the infection. Sigh . . . .

I only have one client who insists on no-plucking. His ears are fine. I just trim the outside hairs that protrude from the canal.

But, for my own dogs, I'll keep them plucked.
I was wondering when I should start doing this. Puppy boy (still no name yet) hasn't had his ears plucked yet, and I am wondering what age to start.

Also, how often should I be cleaning his ears? Is weekly approrpiate?
Kpoos - what is the name of those ear-drops : ) ? What they do actually ?
It's called Wally's ear oil. Look for it in the organic section of your grocery store. It's amazing stuff and smells so nice. I put a few drops in after I clean out their ears and it makes their whole head smell like eucalyptus.
I actually shampoo the ears on the inside. I use Les Pooch F & T because its a degreaser and breaks down ear wax. Once the ears are clean and dry, I begin plucking. If you want to, you can do the daisy petal thing: He loves me, he loves me not. Keep working from the outside till you get to the middle (the hole) Remove as much as you can with fingers and powder. Ear powder, when mixed with dampness or water turns into something resembling drywall joint compound....so the ears have to be dry. When you are at the hole, I prefer to use hemostats to pull it from the inside. Sometimes you might get something icky, brown and wet that is 2-3 inches long!!! Oh its gross, but the dog feels so much better. I use Les Pooch (OR DAVIS) ear cleaner that contains Acetic Acid (basically vinegar based) I do not use anything greasy in the ears at all.
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This oil was recommended to me by a breeder and is actually for pets and humans. It soothes ears (gonna be sore after all that hair plucking) and kills mites in them.
I don't ever use ear cleaner the same day I pluck the hair. I'll put the cleaner in the day after plucking to give the hair follicles a chance to close. The cleaners I use have alcohol and (I believe) acetic acid in them - the alcohol serves to dry the ear canal, the acid changes the pH of the canal - if you use a cleaner that has either a drying agent OR something to change the pH of the canal, it'll discourage yeast ear infections. Yeast need a certain pH and moisture to survive. Take away one of those and you can't get yeast infections.
My vet says that many at home groomer's pull way to much hair out, you need to be careful. I get what I can with some ear powder and my fingers and then every few months I do the cyclone (named by the vet not me), I grab some of the hair in the canal with forceps and twirl it, it pulls out very easily if not done to often.
I had a breeder demonstrate that way of hair removal to me (with forceps) and it seemed so fast and effortless ! Dog did not show nay sign of discomfort whatsoever :rolffleyes: I was wondering why nobody mentions that way of hair removal - thanks for bringing it up : ) !

I would love to hear what experience others have with "forceps" : )) ? Is it in any way less "invasive" for the skin ?

KPOOS _ where do you buy that oil : )) ??? What is the brand-name : ) ??? Thanks !!!
My vet says that many at home groomer's pull way to much hair out, you need to be careful. I get what I can with some ear powder and my fingers and then every few months I do the cyclone (named by the vet not me), I grab some of the hair in the canal with forceps and twirl it, it pulls out very easily if not done to often.
Hahaha just HOME groomers huh?:doh:
I dont really pluck Rileys ears anymore. It really depends on the dog, the amount of hair in the ear, how far down it goes, and if it is truely blocking the canal down deep. Riley has pretty thin ear hair compaired to some ive seen. Every single time i used to pluck his ears he would get in infection without fail! Only once in a while will i do it now and only to get the main plugs. I shave out deep what i can and clean them well. We havnt had an ear problem since!
Whew strong opinions in favor of plucking here. I've heard many an argument to not pluck as well. I know that the only times Monroe has had an ear infection is when I plucked his ears. I'm a groomer, so sometimes I can't resist pulling a little out, but even that seems to result in his ear bothering him, so I realize it's best to just leave it along. I do shave into his ear when I do his face though.
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