Ear plucking has become a very big topic amongst dog groomers over recent years. When I first started grooming dogs in 2013, the way I was trained was to pluck and clean every ear that came on my table. No matter if the ear was clean, dirty, smelly or even if the dog fussed and fought us for it. It was going to get done! Today, things are much different. There are still groomers out there who stand by this and some groomers who say that plucking ears is bad.
Groomers who swear by plucking say that this helps prevent build up of moisture or debris that may build up in the hair and ear canal. It helps groomers be able to see the ear better to make sure there are no changes, and helps the groomer be able to clean away the wax and build up easier and get more of it.
Groomers who refuse to pluck say that plucking causes micro tearing, leaving small openings in the skin that can become dirty and cause an infection. They say it also takes away the ears ability to stop foreign material from entering the ear canal and throws off the natural environment that is needed. This can lead to an imbalance of yeast or bacteria and cause infection.
Personally, I will now only pluck ears typically if the pet parent or their veterinarian requests it. If I come across a dog who has too much ear hair that is blocking the ear canal, I will ask the pet parent if it is okay for me to remove it. If the dog starts to show signs of aggression or high levels of stress I will ask the pet parent to see a veterinarian to safely clean them out.
To do this article I did try and find articles by veterinary clinics, and they were harder to find than I was expecting. I will attach the articles I found below so you can continue your research and decide for yourself if you should pluck your dog’s ears. In general, these articles stated that plucking ears that are healthy and not overgrown causes more issues than it prevents. Like stated above, it can cause irritations in the ear canal and prevents the natural ability to stop foreign debris from entering the ear canal. However, if too much ear hair grows inside the canal this will cause a buildup of moisture and wax in the ear. This can lead to a bacterial or yeast infection. If you are concerned your dog may need their ears plucked, your veterinarian is the best person to turn to to see if your dog needs it done or not. Your veterinarian can also say if your groomer should be doing this on a regular basis.
ReferencesFirstVet. (2021, October 25). Plucking your dogs ear hair. https://firstvet.com/us/articles/is-it-ok-to-pluck-the-hair-from-my-dogs-earsMadson, C. (2019, May 22). Should you pluck your dog’s ear hair? Preventive Vet | Trusted Pet Health, Safety, and Behavior Resources. https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/should-you-pluck-your-dogs-ear-hair-how-to