Some breeds of dogs have straight ears, but some individuals in these breeds may have floppy ears. Why do some dogs’ ears fall off? Is it possible to straighten your puppy’s ears if they fall off? How do you make your puppy’s ears stand up straight?
How are dog Ears made?
When we talk about your dog’s droopy or straight ears, we are talking about the outer ear. Your dog’s outer ear is made up of the pinna (auricle) and the external ear canal (horizontal and vertical). It is the “auricle” which is, depending on the breed of the animal, either straight and erect (as for German Shepherds, Huskies, French Bulldogs, Corgis), or semi-drooping (as for Australian Shepherds, Beaucerons, Fox Terriers), or totally drooping (as for Cockers, Basset Hounds, Weimar Hounds).
The pinna is made up of a cartilage covered with skin and hair on the outside and forms a real sound sensor that your dog can direct according to what he is listening to: he directs these sounds towards the eardrum located at the bottom of the auditory canal… It is also the means for the dog to communicate with his fellow dogs or with you: according to their wearing, they reveal that your dog is attentive (they are drawn up towards the front), or that he is afraid (they are lying backwards)…
Whatever the shape of the auricle, the structure is always the same: it is an open and enlarged extension of the ear canal, made of cartilage covered with an epithelium made of sebaceous glands, sweat glands and hair follicles, and irrigated by the auricular artery.
Why can your dog’s ear fall off?
Actually, in breeds with erect ears, puppies are born with floppy ears. When all goes well, the ears straighten out as they grow, sometimes in several stages with straightening followed by moments when they fall back and straighten again.
This process occurs between the age of eight weeks and puberty or even later, sometimes at the end of the first year.
But sometimes the ear never straightens.
In fact, in some cases:
Your puppy has large ears and as a result, they are too heavy to stand up;
Its ear was damaged (disease, traumatism…);
Your puppy has suffered from a nutritional deficiency.
What can you do to help your puppy’s ears stand up?
The dog’s outer ear (i.e. the pinna) is made of cartilage and not bone.
For this reason, contrary to popular belief, calcium supplementation will not help your dog’s ears stand up straight. Calcium supplementation can even be dangerous if your puppy is already eating a food made for his growth. Indeed, if your puppy’s ear seems to be weakening and not being able to stand up straight, it is rather the quantity and quality of the proteins in the food ration that should be taken into account, without forgetting to worm him well to be sure that the absorption of nutrients is done correctly.
It is therefore pointless and important not to add calcium to a complete industrial ration (kibble or food) for puppies: in fact, quality “growth” foods for puppies contain sufficient calcium levels.
On the other hand, if your puppy is fed a homemade diet, and only if this is the case, this diet must be supplemented so that it is not deficient in minerals and vitamins. To make sure you don’t get it wrong, veterinarians have calculated the needs of a healthy puppy and have developed quality supplements to add to a puppy’s home ration. They are for example :
VIT’I5 Orange : It is a phospho-calcium supplement with a Calcium/Phosphorus ratio of 3, to complete the household ration and thus cover the needs of the growing puppy, but without excess.
Pet Phos GROWTH : This is a food supplement with a Calcium/Phosphorus ratio of 2, intended for growing puppies fed with a household ration for adults.
What about stakes or “prosthesis” to straighten your puppy’s ear?
They would not be useful to straighten the ear of the puppies and could even harm its good positioning by preventing the good straightening of the concerned ear. On an adult dog, it is also useless to use stents: an adult ear that has not straightened will not straighten again. The stake or the prosthesis does not make it possible to mitigate the defect of structure of the cartilage or the too important weight of the pinna.
They will not be effective either, especially since they are more often used to “break” the unfortunate straight ear of breeds for which they must be bent as Australian Shepherds for example.
How to make a puppy’s ears stand up?
There is no effective trick or technique. An ear that needs to stand up will stand up, the opposite is also true, no matter what trick you try. Ears that have been fitted with a stake and have held upright even after its removal would likely have straightened without the stake. The best thing to do is to check with your veterinarian that your dog’s diet is of good quality with a sufficient amount of protein, itself of good quality… as with a good puppy growth food
Why cut the ears of a puppy?
Since 2004 it is forbidden to cut the ears of a dog or a puppy for aesthetic reasons. Otectomy (ear clipping) was originally justified to avoid leaving a weak point (a sensitive part or a possibility to hold the other one by the ear) to fighting dogs or hunting dogs. It was then pursued for “aesthetic” criteria validated by the breed standards as the Doberman for example… Today, these breeds wear their ears down.
In any case, if you want to see your German Shepherd or French Bulldog’s ears stay straight, give him a quality food, that is to say containing enough good proteins. And if they fall down, look at them well, this difference will make his charm and give him an unforgettable face!