All dogs need to have their ears properly cleaned and cared for in order to prevent problems and infections that can be painful and damaging to your dog’s hearing. Not only is it important to keep your German Shepherd’s ears healthy, it is important that they are familiar with their ears being handled. Make sure you start this at an early age so they accept it as part of the regular grooming process.
Dog Ear Care and Cleaning
When you get your puppy, or any new dog, regardless of age you are going to need to spend time cleaning his or her ears to remove dirt and wax, as well as to make sure that there is no infection or cause for concern.
How To Clean Your Dogs Ears
When cleaning your dog’s ears, start by lifting the ear to get a look inside. Gently clean away anything on the outer ear, and when you are ready to clear the inner ear, grab a cotton ball and some ear cleaning solution. Don’t rub the dirt into your dog’s ear or push it in further – simply lift the dirt away. Take care to be gentle, since the ear is a sensitive place. When you are cleaning your dog’s ears, never insert anything into their ear canal or push debris deeper into their ear, as doing this can cause irritation, trauma, or hearing loss to your pet.
Be on the lookout for signs of ear infections, particularly if your dog seems to be scratching or rubbing their ear area or shaking their heads a lot. Ear infections are common in dogs who are given frequent baths or in those that enjoy swimming.
Signs of Infection
Ear infections can also be recognized by these signs:
- hair loss
- scabs around the ear
- loss of balance
- hearing loss
- not wanting you to touch or clean their ears
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, make sure to get him or her to the veterinarian.
Dog Ear Taping and Cropping
If you know people with German Shepherds or other breeds of “working dogs,” chances are you’ve seen them with taped up ears or cropped ears. You might wonder what the purpose of this process is, and if it’s something that has to be done with your German Shepherd. Years ago, when these breeds were still used for working purposes, their ears were “taped” or cropped to ensure that they would stand up better and allow the dog to hear better and be more efficient. Over the years, most of these breeds ceased to be actual working dogs and are now pets, and yet their ears are still being cropped. The reason now is purely cosmetic – many people who own German Shepherds and other breeds believe that their dogs still need to look the same way that they did years ago. However, the risks of permanently damaging the ears and hearing, and the risks during surgery are far more troubling then having your dog’s ears “floppy.” Certain countries, especially in Europe, have already banned this process because there is no medical need for it to be done. Many animal advocates are still working for this process to be banned in the United States, and with good reason. It is a very controversial topic, and if you do plan on going through with it, you should be well informed. Make sure to do your research beforehand.