Ear Cropping Instructions

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Some Schnauzers have their ears cropped.
Some Schnauzers have their ears cropped. (Image: dogs nose image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com)

Ear cropping is a popular style for certain dog breeds. Many dog owners crop their dogs' ears to give a more "breed standard look," especially if they plan to show the dog. Because dogs' ears are vascular and can bleed easily, make sure to research and hire a qualified veterinarian or follow the suggested ear cropping procedure very carefully. Your dog needs a few days to adjust to the implanted aluminum apparatus that straightens her ears.

Breeds

Typically, only particular pure bred dogs are considered for ear cropping. They are Doberman pinschers, Boxers, Schnauzers, Pit Bull Terriers, Great Danes, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bouvier des Flanders, Affenpinschers, Manchester Terriers and Miniature pinschers. Since the procedure for ear cropping is cosmetic, many veterinarians avoid the procedure altogether, due to its delicateness.

This breed is a candidate for ear cropping.
This breed is a candidate for ear cropping. (Image: puppy dogs at the beach image by Laura Frenkel from Fotolia.com)

Puppies

Have ear cropping done on puppies between the age of nine and 12 weeks. If the procedure takes place at an animal hospital, the dog should stay overnight at least one to two nights. You puppy should not eat or drink anything twelve hours before the surgery.

Cropping should take place around nine to 12 weeks.
Cropping should take place around nine to 12 weeks. (Image: Regional review of the hunting dogs, (town Vladimir). image by firsov from Fotolia.com)

The Procedure

After the puppy is sedated, the veterinary surgeon marks the ears at the top and finishes close to the head. When satisfied that markings are even on both ears, he makes identical incisions on both ears. After the incisions are done, ears are sutured and disinfected. The surgeon then straps a harness of sorts to the puppy's head. The harness can be an inverted paper cup or an aluminum rack. It has to be glued and taped over and around the puppy's head. The tape should never go around the edge of the puppy's ear. The harness needs to be very secure, because it needs to stay in place for 21 days and the puppy will attempt to knock it off.

A puppy with cropped ears
A puppy with cropped ears (Image: dog with wet nose image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com)

After Care

Apply a diluted iodine antiseptic to disinfect the ears twice a day. You can also apply a small amount of antibiotic cream in its place. Disinfect the ears only twice daily, because you want to keep them wrapped for as long as possible. If the ears fall out of the harness, take the puppy back to the surgeon immediately. They will take longer to stand up if left down for long periods of time. Never wait more than a day. Just in case, before surgery, have the veterinarian show you how to do a "quick fix." The sutures need to be removed at seven days. Do not wait longer than nine days for suture removal, as permanent scarring may occur. Once the harness is removed, the ears will be wrapped in cotton and taped until they stand. Remove the cotton and tape two hours before a visit to the vet so the surgeon can determine how the ears want to fall.

Home care is very important after ear cropping.
Home care is very important after ear cropping. (Image: dog image by jeancliclac from Fotolia.com)

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