Some breeds of dogs naturally have floppy ears that crease at the midpoint of the ear. Other breeds require a little guidance because their ears may pop straight up, especially when they are puppies. If this is not corrected before they reach adulthood at age one or two, their ears might stay up permanently. If you prefer the aesthetic look of your dog's ears laying flat, there are some things you need to know before you take steps to make your puppy's ears lay down.
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Should my dog’s ears lay down?
Many owners want their dog to have ears that lay down. People often find that some breeds look more appealing when their ears are flat.
Some dogs with ears that stand up straight might benefit from having their ears lay flat since having shorter ears could help reduce the chance of injury in a fight or while hunting. For example, cropped ears may be recommended for a German shepherd who works as a guard dog so that an intruder could not grab the dog's ears.
However, most of the time, people want puppies' ears to lay flat purely because of the way it looks.
Cropping dog ears
Some people crop their dog's ears, especially with breeds such as Doberman pinschers, boxers, Boston terriers, and Great Danes. When done solely for cosmetic purposes, this is an unethical practice. It's painful for the dog, and normally, the only reason the procedure is performed is for aesthetics.
Unless you have a specific reason to go through with this procedure — a reason that will benefit your dog and help him stay safe or better perform a job — it's best not to crop your dog's ears. When cropping is an elective cosmetic procedure, it is not worth the discomfort to your dog.
Dogs use their ears to hear and to communicate, and if their ears are cropped, they will not be able to use them as effectively. Don't use ear cropping to make your puppies' ears lay down.
Taping dog ears down
Some dog owners tape or glue their puppy's ears to help the ears stay down. While this practice of puppy ear folding isn't necessarily cruel, in most cases, it's not a good idea. The potential distress that taping or gluing your dog's ears will cause for the dog is not worth any benefits to the puppy. It is not recommended to tape your dog's ears.
In rare cases, taping your dog's ears might improve her health. If your veterinarian explicitly recommends this practice, you can move ahead with taping dog ears down. You will need to clean your dog's ears with rubbing alcohol and then fold over the ears, using a special adhesive tape to press the ear into place. You can purchase tape online that's specifically made for taping dog ears down.
Do not tape your dog's ears until she is at least three months old. Make sure to keep an eye on the ears and watch for infection. If any kind of rash, irritation, or discoloration occurs, remove the glue immediately and consult your veterinarian.