Dogs with floppy or long ears often experience ear infections. The infections typically occur because the long ears block air from entering their ear canals. Air keeps the canal dry and without it the canal often becomes moist. Because long ears block the canal, it is often dark inside, as well, which creates a hospitable environment for infection-producing bacteria to grow. Many veterinarians suggest that owners of dogs with floppy ears that suffer from infections tie their ears up on their heads to allow the air and light to enter the ears. In order to perform this technique, you need a few supplies and a compliant dog.
Grab your dog’s ears in your hands. Perch them at the top of the dog’s head so that the ear canal entries are exposed.
Wrap a bandana, surgical tape or a loosely-fitted scrunchy around the ears. The ears should stand up fairly straight and you should be able to see the canals. Leave the wraps as loose as possible, as you could cut off circulation to the ears if they are on too tight.
Check the temperature of the ears periodically by touching them. If the ears are cold, there’s a chance the wrap is on too tight. Inspect the position of the ears, as well. As your dog moves, the ears may come out of the wrap and will need to be adjusted.
Tie your dog's ears up for a few hours each day, if possible.
Consult with your veterinarian before tying your dog’s ears.
Only tie your dog’s ears when you are able to supervise.
- basset hound image by Christophe Fouquin from Fotolia.com