Don't Pluck the Ears!

Thursday, November 3, 2016  | The Pet Whisperer

Hi Coasties.

You have a dog that has hair in the ears? That is pretty common these days given that so many of the breeds are "Oodles" or Shiht-Zu crosses etc. But what you have heard about ear maintenance could be causing more issues than what it solves.

Plucking should not be done. There are some very specific circumstances that this statement may be modified - but regular grooming is certainly NOT it. Plucking has been sent to the history books for some time, but it is remarkable how many people still talk to us as though it is a normal procedure.

Inside the ear there is a constant war being played out between competing bacteria and yeasts, which for the most part are kept in a relative state of equilibrium. This means that the status quo ensures that there is a balance and that no individual germ wins.

The skin in the ear is sensitive and thin as it does not need to be protecting itself from the harsh world around. It does have backup protection in the form of wax, moisture, and … hair.

So, when we are allowing our dogs ears to be plucked, we are subjecting them to pain and allowing the skin to be damaged. Damaged skin, like yours, will have a reaction of some oozing plasma, and perhaps white blood cells to help ward off infection. This extra fluid and inflammation is ideal to feed one of the bacteria's allowing it to grow in population, leading to an imbalance, which the body then reacts to by creating extra wax, giving way to smell, possibly further inflammation and infection etc etc etc.

We want a balanced ear full of the correct microflora, and this requires some hair, and a natural site. It is ok, and indeed recommended, to use an appropriate ear cleaner   - and to get the correct one, you will need some advice, so come in and ask.

If you work with the correct products to clean, equilibrium is maintained. It is ok to trim hair … based on the science of the above, let's all agree NOT TO PLUCK.

The Pet House Erina has a grooming service available to clients.


Dogs with floppy ears are more at risk of issue and regular cleaning should keep significant issues at bay. Furthermore, ear balance can be improved with diet too … so it helps to have a well-rounded conversation, which we are happy to have.


The Pet Whisperer.