I believe that dogs should always have their ear canals checked during the groom. For best results, the excessive hair must be pulled out before cleaning the ear with a good ear cleaner that is made specifically for dogs. There are few reasons why I believe that this is the best practice for the dogs that we groom.
- Excessive hair causes that gooey stuff to build up inside the ears because air can no longer flow freely throughout the ear canal. While working with Dr. Hamryka at Sugarhill Animal Hospital in Sugar Hill, GA, I remember having a very enlightening conversation with him in the hallway about the ears. He said that when the air flow is blocked by the hair it causes the ear to become warm and moist inside. “Warm and moist is a breeding ground for bacteria.” Dr. West Hamryka
- When the nasty, fuzzy, brown hair is removed it is much easier to spot and treat specific areas or masses. While running a home-based grooming salon in Chamblee, GA a couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Mark R. St. Onge at the Buckhaven Animal Hospital in Brookhaven. He told me, “Ears are also a very important part of the groom that should never be overlooked. Never allow a dog to walk out of the grooming salon without plucking the hairs out of the ear canals and cleaning them with a good ear cleaner made for dogs. Report any kind of a mass under the skin, especially in older dogs. The earlier these are detected, the easier it is to treat them.”
- Personal Experience. In my career I’ve groomed probably close to a thousand dogs, if I had to give my best guess. I’ve seen so many dogs, especially the long eared dogs that have the droopy ears (Hounds, Spaniels, Setters, etc.) that had horrible ear infections that healed up with the help of the vet and plucking the dull, fuzzy hairs out of the ears. I know it’s controversial, but especially if the dog’s ears are nasty and may have an infection, I will attempt to remove the hair plug from out of the ear canal. During the conversation with Dr. St. Onge, he told me candidly that in his professional opinion, “If the ear is already compromised I believe it is best to remove the bacteria and/or fungus soaked hair so that the ear has a better environment in which to heal itself.”