For many dogs, routine ear care consists primarily of regular inspection for dirt, swelling or odor, followed by cleansing with an ear cleaner designed for canines. Certain dogs, however, grow excessive amounts of hair in the ears, which requires occasional removal so air can circulate. Too much hair deters circulation, which can lead to bacterial growth and subsequent ear infection. Fortunately, removing ear hair isn't a difficult task with the right tools.
If your dog's facial hair needs trimming, odds are he'll need regular ear hair removal. This holds true for many terrier breeds, such as the Airedale and Bedlington, as well as all three sizes of schnauzer. Poodles, bichon frises, Maltese and other breeds with profuse facial hair fall into the ear hair removal category. If you bring your dog to a groomer regularly, she usually will perform ear hair removal as part of the grooming standard for the breed. Your groomer can show you how to remove excess ear hair in between visits.
Using Your Fingers
Before starting to remove ear hair, place a small amount of medicated depilatory powder inside the ear to aid in removal. You can purchase suitable powder at a pet store or online. Gently pull out hair in small amounts, moving in the direction of hair growth. Avoid removing hair growing more than 1/2 inch into the ear canal. If you notice any sign of infection in the ear, don't pull the hair. Call your veterinarian and arrange an appointment for treatment.
If you have trouble removing certain hairs, you can use tweezers or a hemostat. Because you can injure your dog when inserting these metal objects into his ear, have your vet show you how to do this. If your dog tends to move around during ear hair removal, tweezing is best left to a professional. If he's a trooper, take the device and pull out a small amount of hair, carefully pulling it toward you. Take care to avoid pinching the skin. When you're finished, sterilize the instruments.
It's best to get your dog used to ear hair removal at an early age, so it becomes part of the normal grooming routine. However, some dogs might never tolerate tweezing. You may have to muzzle the dog to keep from him from biting. If your dog is difficult and you want to remove his ear hair yourself, use a pair of blunt ear scissors to gently cut out as much hair as possible. The result won't look as neat, but it serves the purpose.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.