There are dogs of many shapes and sizes, all with their own characteristics. These characteristics can be related to the shape of their body, the type of coat or even their ears. Some have short ears that are held upright. Some have large ears that fall past the face. However, it is not common for a dog to have one ear pricked up and the other not. In these cases, it is possible that the cause is a pathology or a related health condition.
In this article, we take a look at what may be happening when your dog has a floppy ear. We discuss if this is a normal condition or if something needs to be done about it. The same applies if both ears are floppy when they should be erect.
Is it normal for a dog’s ears to be flabby?
Many people may doubt whether their dog’s ears should be flabby. It is important to distinguish between normal sagging in the ears and something caused by a discomfort or illness. If you have a puppy of a breed of dog that normally should have its ears pricked, and you see that the months go by and they remain flabby, you are interested in this article.
Puppies are born with floppy ears. They have not yet developed and the physical characteristics they present as puppies can be much more different when they are adults. Just being a puppy is one of the most common reasons your dog has a floppy ear. As the dog develops, one ear may become prick more quickly than the other, although it should generally follow suit fairly quickly.
The time it takes for a puppy’s ears to stand up depends on the breed and the dog in question. For some, 8 weeks is enough, for others 8 months. However, in general, a dog’s ears should be pricked up after the teeth have finished erupting. If the puppy’s ears were raised and then fell back after a while, it is likely due to one of the problems that we will explain below.
Dogs with lop ears
You should be aware that some dogs will simply never have their ears pricked up. Due to the type of breeding, some dogs always have floppy ears. These breeds include:
- Cavalier Kind Charles Spaniel.
- Basset hound.
All dog breeds that have lop ears will have both ears lowered down. When one ear is flaccid and the other is not, it is likely a sign of a health problem.
My dog’s ears do not perch
The pinna is the outer part of the ear. In dogs, they can be standing or flabby. When only one is up and the other is loose, it is a sign of concern for many dog owners.
As we have said before, it is normal for puppies to have lop ears depending on their breed. However, this can be difficult to tell with a mixed breed dog, as we don’t know if they are supposed to have their ears erect or not. It is even possible that two pups from the same litter have different degrees of flaccidity in the ears, and this is due to genetic inheritance from their parents.
If you know that your puppy must have raised ears and has already reached the stage of development where it should have happened, it is important to know that there may be a problem. One of the most important is diet. Puppies will need a specific type of nutrition to grow properly. When they are not given enough protein and other vital nutrients, one or more of their ears may remain floppy.
There are also some medical conditions that prevent your ears from standing upright. We will detail them in the following sections.
Causes of floppy ears in dogs and treatment
There are different conditions that can cause a dog to have one ear up and the other down. However, they are usually accompanied by other symptoms. These other symptoms will generally be more obvious and should lead you to your vet’s office to rule out serious ailments.
When the dog is not treated in time, as can be the case with abandoned dogs, the ear may never lift. Unfortunately, this is often the case with stray dogs. They may have a flabby or misshapen ear due to malnutrition, fighting, illness, fungal ear infections, parasites, or other causes.
Some of the more common causes include:
- Bite wounds: when dogs fight or play, it is not uncommon for their ears to be injured, as they are vulnerable and accessible areas. Animal bites are often complicated by ear infections. Except for minor injuries, they need veterinary attention and even surgical intervention as a means to avoid deformations.
- Otitis media: Otitis is a general term for inflammation or infection of the ear. This can occur only in the outer part of the ear (external otitis), but it can also occur in the inner ear (internal otitis) or even middle (otitis media). For the latter, it is common for the dog to regularly keep its head to one side and even shake it in frustration. It is caused by an infection (usually bacterial) that enters the ear and can affect other parts of the dog’s face if it is acute. Some dogs are predisposed to otitis and, in these cases, they may need a surgical intervention to solve the problem permanently.
My dog has a swollen and flabby ear
Sometimes our dog has a drooping ear that is also inflamed. It is common for this swelling to be due to an abscess. This occurs when pus grows around the site of infection. A hematoma (accumulation of blood in the tissue) can also be the cause of inflammation and drooping of the animal’s ear. The main cause is fighting, parasites, injuries, or simply a hygiene problem. The latter is the reason why it is important that you clean your dog’s ears regularly.
Hematomas in the ear (atrial hematoma) can appear when the dog shakes his head too violently or scratches persistently. In these cases, we need to find out the underlying cause. Ear mites are common in some dogs and cause the animal to scratch its ears to ease frustration. You will need to take the dog to the vet to diagnose the problem and provide the appropriate treatment.
Never try home remedies to clean your pet’s ears. If you think that your dog’s drooping ear is a problem, go to a trusted vet as soon as possible.