Floppy ears are normal for some dog breeds. But if your pet isn’t one of those, you’re probably asking, why are my dog’s ears floppy all of a sudden?
However, if your dog’s once perky ears suddenly become droopy, you’ll surely become concerned. In this post, I discussed the reasons why and when you should worry.
Take note that these points are based on my experience as a long-time dog owner. Your dog’s vet is still the best person to consult for your pet’s case.
What breeds have naturally floppy ears?
Before you panic, it’s important to know that some dog breeds have naturally floppy ears. The following are some of the canines known for their droopy lobes.
- Basset Hound
- Cocker Spaniel
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Irish Setter
- Saint Bernard
- Afghan Hound
- Sussex Spaniel
More breeds share the same floppy ear appearance. But if your dog isn’t one of the floppy-eared breeds, the reasons below might explain why.
Reasons why your dog’s ears are suddenly floppy
Dogs that don’t have normally droopy ears could be experiencing the following:
1. Puppy stage
Remember that all puppies are born with closed and floppy ears. Depending on its breed, the canine’s ears will start to perk up as the pup grows bigger.
The pinna or the floppy lobe will soon stand up without any medical intervention. Other breeds get their floppy dog’s ears cropped for aesthetic purposes and to improve their pet’s hearing.
But unless you’re competing in dog shows or raising guard dogs, there’s no reason to crop your pup’s floppy ears. Just let it be and your doggo’s lobe will soon achieve its proper appearance.
2. Ear infection
If your adult dog’s ears suddenly become floppy, you should consider the possibility of an ear infection. Take note that infections can happen on the outside, middle, or internal part of the dog’s ears, which require different treatments.
Aside from droopy earlobes, you’ll also notice your pet shaking its head excessively. Due to the irritation, your dog will be reluctant to raise its ears.
Take note that ear infection rarely goes away on their own. It’s important to get your dog treated to prevent the infection from worsening and causing other health problems.
Most cases of ear infections can be treated at home by applying ear drops on your dog. Make sure that you talk to your pet’s veterinarian for the proper medication.
3. Ear mites
Aside from ear infections, ear mites might be the reason behind your dog’s floppy ears. Like ear infections, the mites can cause irritation that will lead to excessive head shaking.
Dogs with ear mites will also have a strong urge to paw on their ears to ease the discomfort. In the process, they may hurt their pinna, which will make it droopy.
Also, it’s possible that raising its ears makes the discomfort from ear mites worse.
If your dog has dark specks in its ears, it’s likely suffering from ear mites. You should also check for tiny crawling insects to confirm the presence of the critters.
4. Ear injury
If your dog’s ears are clean and infection-free, the next potential culprit is injury.
It’s possible that another dog bit into your canine’s ears. This can lead to hematomas, which will make it painful for your dog to raise its earlobes.
Also, falling from an elevated surface, being hit by an object, and encountering traffic accidents can all lead to serious ear injuries. It’s important to bring your dog to the vet if any of these occurred before the floppy ears manifested.
You can also check for physical injuries by gently pressing your dog’s pinna and the base of the ear. If your pet whimpers or cries in pain, it’s likely dealing with an injury.
Lastly, your dog’s suddenly droopy might be the result of anxiety or panic. Dogs do this to look small due to their current psychological state.
Nevertheless, reaction to anxiety differs from one dog to another. Others will have droopy ears while some will look normal physically.
How to make your dog’s ears stand up again
Overall, I recommend observing your dog first before doing anything drastic. If your pet is still a puppy, it’s best to wait for a few months until its ears are fully open and erect.
You can also consult with the dog breeder where you get the pup to know if the floppy ears are normal. Aside from that, you should consult the veterinarian to ensure that the droopy ears aren’t a cause of concern.Most breeders and vets will recommend taping the puppy’s ears up. This will train the ear lobes to stand on their own as the pup is growing.
You can use medical tape for this as well as reinforcements that the vet will prescribe. Take note that ear taping needs to be done during puppyhood or it will be too late.
Another thing you can do is shave the excessive fur on the dog’s pinna, so it doesn’t feel too heavy for your canine. Dog groomers can do this for you if you’re worried about hurting your pet.
If one of your dogs is biting off the canine’s ears, it’s best to brush up on training. You should also separate the two until you rule out the possibility of an injury.
Lastly, avoid touching or fiddling on your dog’s floppy ears, much so if it’s still a puppy. This is to reduce the risk of injuries and infections.
Why does my dog have one ear up and one ear down?
Oftentimes, one ear up and one ear down is a sign that your dog is being attentive. It’s a cute gesture unless the one droopy ear doesn’t seem to be moving.
To be sure, you’d want to check for the potential problems discussed above. These are ear infections, ear mites, injury, or anxiety.
Why are my dog’s ears not standing up?
If your dog’s ears aren’t standing up, it’s possible that you failed to tape it at the right time. Aside from that, malnutrition, injury, and illnesses will also prevent your pup’s ears from perking up.
If you’ve tried everything and still get no results, your dog’s vet is the best person to consult. Never try to fix your dog’s ears at home with untested methods.
How will I know if my dog’s ears will be remain standing or floppy?
First of all, if your dog’s breed has naturally floppy ears, don’t expect its pinna to stand. It will remain droopy for the rest of your pet’s life.
One way to check if your dog’s ears are going to stand up is to call its name. If your dog’s ears stood upon hearing its name, there’s a chance that it will stand soon.
What are problems associated with a dog’s floppy ears?
Dogs with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections and ear mites. This is why regular cleaning is necessary to prevent dirt and moisture from accumulating inside.
Also, it will be hard for your dog to eat or drink without having its droopy ears dip into the bowl. This becomes a messier problem if you have a long-haired dog like Spaniels.
Nevertheless, these problems can be fixed with regular cleaning and holding your dog’s ears up while eating. Some pet owners even use scrunchies to tie the dog’s ears back loosely while eating.
Why are my dog’s ears floppy all of a sudden? It can be a sign of injury, infection, or anxiety, though you should also know that all pups are born with droopy ear lobes.
When in doubt, you can always consult your dog’s veterinarian. This way, you’ll receive proper advice and medication for your dog if need be.