Labrador Ears Health and Facts Guide

Do you have a question about Labrador ears? Then you’ve come to the right place! This article will serve as the ultimate guide for everything you need to know about your dog’s ears.

I have broken it down into multiple sections – focusing on key topics and common questions. Below you will learn all things regarding Labrador ear health, shapes, sizes, and cleaning methods.

How Do I Clean My Lab’s ears?

To maintain proper Labrador health, you should clean your dog’s ears of dirt and check for infections once a week. Notify your veterinarian immediately if you see redness, swelling, or wax buildup. Finding these problems early on can always benefit your dog later.

Preparing to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Consider the area you are cleaning your dog’s ears in. This can get messy – so pick a room that can be easily cleaned. Try to avoid areas of the house that you care about. Don’t clean you dog’s ears on a nice couch or fancy carpet.

Stock up on some cotton balls – as these are the most efficient supplies. Avoid using Q-tips, as they are too small and can further push dirt inside the ear. Pick a time of day when your dog is calm and not riled up. So don’t clean his ears before feeding time or prior to a walk.

Ear Cleaning Solution

You can buy ear cleaning solution, or make some at home. If you decide to make your own, go with one part water and one part white vinegar. Avoid using alcohol as it can dry out the skin inside your dog’s ears and cause irritation.

Ear Cleaning Methods

Wet a cotton ball with cleaning solution and begin cleaning around the edge of the ear. To avoid causing harm to your dog’s ears, start on the outside and work in.

Once the outside is clean, grab a new cotton ball and work the inside of the ear. Stop when you feel any kind of resistance. Forcing the cotton ball inside the ear can cause damage.

Always be gentle and reward your dog with a treat once cleaning has finished. If you notice that your dog’s ears get especially dirty very often – schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Labrador Ear Shapes and Sizes

Labrador ears come in all different shapes and sizes. The biggest difference is when you compare American Labradors with English Labradors.

labrador ears

Labrador Ears come in all different shapes and sizes

English Labradors have a wider head and fuller face. So big ears might not stand out as much on this larger frame. Where American Labradors have a narrower face and a longer muzzle. You might notice larger ears on this Labrador, because their head is smaller.

Even though these differences are apparent, any Labrador can have large or small ears. Although I have two English Labradors, one of them has large ears and the other has small ears. It’s all about genetics!

Why Are My Labrador’s Ears So Soft?

Labrador ears and dog ears in general are known to be very soft. One explanation for this is that the fur on the ears doesn’t seem to get dirty as much. Dogs tend to act in ways that keeps their head protected and their ears don’t get as dirty because of this.

Hair on Labrador ears also tends to be shorter. And because dog ears don’t get cleaned as much, the natural oils are preserved as they are rarely washed out. All of these factors create your Labrador’s ears to be extremely soft to the touch.

My Labrador’s Ears Stand Up

Labradors are very active and expressive animals. Just like all dogs, they rely on body language for different forms of communication. Dogs will wag their tails if they are agitated, annoyed, angry, or happy. And this is just one body part!

So you can only imagine how many different ways there are to communicate with their ears. When your Labrador is relaxed his ears will sit in a neutral position. This means that they’re not drooped down, pricked forward, or stuck to his head.

Labrador ears that are pricked forward normally show signs of alertness. If you talk to your dog or make a funny sound, you will notice his ears are pricked forward. Your Lab might even tilt his head in addition to this ear movement.

Ears that are pricked forward can also show signs of concern. If ears are pricked, the tail is lifted, and body weight is rolled forward, your Labrador could be alerted and concerned.

Now that you recognize different ear movements, you can figure out what your dog is trying to express based on body language.

My Labrador’s Ears Aren’t Laying Flat

Don’t worry if your Labrador’s ears don’t rest completely flat. A “folded ear” can be quite common and normally happens with one ear. There is no concrete answer to this question and can be caused from genetics or found in a mixed Labrador.

Many people notice a folded ear during the puppy stage. One reason for this is that your Labrador puppy is teething. Sometimes Labrador ears will fold or go crooked when teething and will return to “normal” once adult teeth come in.

Why Are My Labrador’s Ears Hot?

Your dog’s ears can feel hot for a number of different reasons. An infection can spark a fever in your dog, resulting in ears feeling hot to the touch. The ear canal can also become infected from bacteria, yeast, or ear mites.

labrador ears

It’s a good idea to frequently check your dog’s ears

Another reason for Labrador ears feeling hot is if the ear flap has sustained a bruise and is bleeding within the cartilage. This is called hematoma – and is when there is a swollen, pillow-like appearance to the ear flap, and makes the ear very hot and tender to the touch.

Your Labrador’s ears my feel hot due to the weather, but if you recognize these problems contact your veterinarian immediately.

Labrador Ear Mites

If your Labrador has been shaking and scratching his head frequently, he may have ear mites. Ear mites (also known as Otodectes cynotis mites) are a mild parasite infection. Common symptoms of ear mites include excessively scratching the ears and head shaking.

A concern for any dog with ear mites is the potential to damage the ear canals or ear drums from too much scratching. Ear mites are more common in younger dogs, but can occur at any age. This mite does not affect humans, but can be highly contagious with other animals.

The most common ways of passing this mite is from parent to newborn and between other species. If you are concerned that your Labrador might have ear mites, closely monitor him for a day or two. If head scratching and shaking does not improve, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Labrador Ear Yeast Infection

If you notice your dog tilting and rubbing his head, he may have a yeast infection. If you look and see waxy residue or scabbing around the opening of the ear, you should contact your veterinarian. The good news is that ear yeast infections can be simple to treat.

There are a number of reasons why your Labrador might develop an ear infection. They can include allergies, bacteria, a ruptured eardrum, a tumor, or a trapped object. Your vet will treat the yeast infection and also might run tests to see if any other health problems exist.

Dog yeast infections can also show up on the skin. When this occurs the skin will appear red and scabby. You might notice your dog vigorously scratching his skin, or rubbing it on a piece of furniture to rid the itch.

How Do Dogs Hear So Well?

Ever wondered how your dog is able to hear so well? You might be sitting at home and notice your dog’s ears perk up – when you hear nothing. Compared to human ears, dog ears are much more sensitive.

The main reason for this involves the ear muscles. While dogs and humans hear in similar ways, dog ears are much stronger than ours. Dogs have 18 ear muscles, while humans only have 6.

Dogs are also much more efficient at controlling their ears to interpret sound. They can tilt and rotate their ears to funnel sounds better. Some dog breeds also have a slight advantage over others, based on the shape and size of their ears.

Although dogs have a superior sense of hearing, cats are even better. Cats have 32 ear muscles! So the next time you find yourself with a dog and a cat, know that you would come in last place in a hearing competition.

Can Dogs Hear Music?

It’s well known that dogs have much more sensitive ears compared to humans. This is due to the fact that dogs can hear higher pitched sounds, so they often respond to noises that humans are unable to hear.

Dogs can hear music – but what they’re hearing might be very different with what us humans hear. Because dogs can hear sounds at higher frequencies that would normally go unnoticed by humans.

labrador ears

Dogs can hear music

Due to the different ways dogs and humans interpret sound, your pet might not hear anything even remotely similar to what we hear. Think about that the next time you’re listening to your favorite song.

Does Music Affect a Dog’s Behavior?

Music can certainly impact our mood on a daily basis. You might get riled up if you’re listening to heavy metal music. And you can calm down listening to the slow strum of an acoustic guitar.

So the question emerges – does music affect your dog’s behavior? The answer is yes.

A study was conducted by Deborah Wells, a psychologist at Queens University. She played different types of music for dogs in an animal shelter. When Deborah played classical music, the dogs seemed to calm down. But when she played loud, thrashing heavy metal, the dogs got riled up.

Deborah played pop hits, or “middle-of-the-road” music that had little to no impact on the dogs. Music will only affect your dog’s behavior when it’s dramatically different from each other. Like classical and heavy metal for example.

Do Dog Ears Have Bones?

A dog ear consists of the outer, middle, and inner sections. The outer ear is made of cartilage and is covered by skin, fur, hair, and the ear canal. The middle ear includes the eardrum and a small, air-filled chamber that contains of three tiny bones. While the inner ear is a complex structure that includes the cochlea – which is the organ of hearing.

So the answer to this question is yes – dog ears do have bones. Located in the middle ear, these bones are very small. Many people love petting dog ears in addition to the rest of their body. Just be aware of how this portion of the body is constructed. And always be gentle when petting around dog ears and the head.

Do Dog Ears Pop With Altitude Change?

This is a common question for anyone looking to bring their dog on an airplane. As planes take off into the sky, many people notice their ears “pop” – because of the altitude change. This is solved by yawning or chewing on a piece of bubble gum. You might even notice babies crying, because they don’t know how to control this strange feeling.

So the question emerges – do dog ears pop on airplanes? The answer is yes. In the beginning of this article I talked about how sensitive dog ears are. So you should air on the side of caution when traveling with your dog.

Veterinarians recommend gradually exposing dogs to changes in elevation. This gives their ears adequate time to become accustomed to air pressure changes. Some people recommend giving your dog a chew treat, as the licking and swallowing will help relieve pressure in his ears.

Conclusion to Labrador Ears

Hopefully you have learned everything you need to know about dog and Labrador ears. This article aimed to answer all of your most asked questions around the subject.

Just like all things related to dogs, Labrador ears should be frequently cleaned to maintain proper health. Keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary – such as scars, swelling or excessive wax.

Always contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.


 

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