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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone-does anyone have advice on how best to look after and clean the inside area of Toffee’s ears. They are so hairy I’m not sure where to start. He’s not had any infections and they don’t look dirty, they’re just so hairy !! Any advice appreciated.
 

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Hi Everyone-does anyone have advice on how best to look after and clean the inside area of Toffee’s ears. They are so hairy I’m not sure where to start. He’s not had any infections and they don’t look dirty, they’re just so hairy !! Any advice appreciated.
I am lucky that none of mine are very hairy. I would ask your vert to look at them for you and give you advice on whether they need to be plucked. If so if the vet can show you how fine. If not, ask your groomer to show you how. My dogs have never needed any particular ear care or cleaning except my boy with allergies, who occasionally gets ear infections. But that's a completely different issue.
 

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Ursa has hairy ears. The vet plucked them when she was about 3.5 months and since then I've been gently plucking the excess out, with my fingers, when she's snuggling on my legs for a minute. I just do a little bit at a time and stop when she shows discomfort (it's been easier than trying to do a lot at once).

I have not been able to successfully pour liquid cleaner inside her ears, so I use a cotton pad. I will look into the foam clear Tom mentions.
 

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Ricky has always had problems with debris build-up in his ears. He has "environmental allergies" and is highly allergic to black ants (we have lots of those), cockroaches (not many of those), and crickets (yep, lots of those too). Ricky's Vet has told me from the beginning to clean his ears with a product called Epi-Otic https://www.amazon.com/Virbac-00310...+cleaner+for+dogs&qid=1631417926&rdc=1&sr=8-5 He instructed us to use it on a monthly basis as a prophylactic. It comes in a squeeze bottle and it is easy to administer. Just shoot the liquid down the ear canal. It does take a special technique to massage the outer ear canal to loosen any debris inside (I believe their website has a video demonstrating the technique). And then you just leave it in, any excess just drains from the ear canal to the back of the throat and is swallowed by the dog. It is non-toxic. Ricky loves the procedure because it doesn't hurt or burn and means COOKIE TIME for him! He is a Cookie Monster!

I took Ricky to a Vet Dermatologist and Allergist because of itching over the last three months. She is considered the expert on the subject in SoCal. She has three widely dispersed offices. She said that canines are like humans, environmental allergies often lead to eye and ear side effects. She said Ricky had excessive debris build up in his ears and a low grade ear infection (yes, he was scratching at his ears!). She also recommends EpiOtic, but she wants me to use it on a weekly basis to keep his ears crystal clean. And you know what, that has reduced his itching significantly! BTW, she recommends to use it right BEFORE a bath because it contains a drying agent and helps keep the ear canal dry during a bath. I am 100% satisfied with the product and the outcome.

Ricky, the little prince, has his own personal groomer, Violetta (she's Polish), who comes to our house every two weeks for a bath. Ricky is tail over teakettle in love with his Violetta. She checks his ear hair each time and plucks as needed so that is never an issue.
 
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Just want to make it clear to newbies reading this post that ear plucking is HIGHLY individual in Havanese. Some, especially those with very dense undercoats, grow a lot of hair inside their ears, while others have little or no hair inside their ears. (I have four and none of mine have much of any of hair in their ears) So whether to pluck or not (or medicate or not!) is a very individual thing, based on the amount of hair, and any specific issues the individual dog might be having.

“Routine” plucking is not a good idea, because not all Havanese need it, and it does cause some (very minor!) skin irritation, which can be an entry point for bacteria too. So, by all means, if you dog has hair inside their ears, talk to your vet about whether plucking might be a good idea. If your dog is getting ear infections, dirt build-up, in their ears or suffers from allergies, OF COURSE discuss these things with your vet. But don’t start automatically plucking ear hair, because in a dog who DOESN’T need it, this can CAUSE problems rather than help.
 

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Just want to make it clear to newbies reading this post that ear plucking is HIGHLY individual in Havanese. Some, especially those with very dense undercoats, grow a lot of hair inside their ears, while others have little or no hair inside their ears. (I have four and none of mine have much of any of hair in their ears) So whether to pluck or not (or medicate or not!) is a very individual thing, based on the amount of hair, and any specific issues the individual dog might be having.

“Routine” plucking is not a good idea, because not all Havanese need it, and it does cause some (very minor!) skin irritation, which can be an entry point for bacteria too. So, by all means, if you dog has hair inside their ears, talk to your vet about whether plucking might be a good idea. If your dog is getting ear infections, dirt build-up, in their ears or suffers from allergies, OF COURSE discuss these things with your vet. But don’t start automatically plucking ear hair, because in a dog who DOESN’T need it, this can CAUSE problems rather than help.
I was wondering if simply trimming up the ear hair vs plucking could be helpful in some dogs. My neighbor has a standard poodle and she Is doing that with her dog. This may not work in all cases but I would want to try this before resorting to plucking.
 

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I was wondering if simply trimming up the ear hair vs plucking could be helpful in some dogs. My neighbor has a standard poodle and she Is doing that with her dog. This may not work in all cases but I would want to try this before resorting to plucking.
Violetta always trims Ricky's ear hair with a scissors before she ever plucks the hair. Consequently Ricky rarely needs to have his ears plucked. Violetta says you have to be very careful with scissors around the ears and eyes. It takes a very steady hand and a cooperative dog (which Ricky is).
 

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For the ones who have a lot of ear hair and do need plucking, I don’t know that trimming alone would be as effective because you’d have to stick the scissors in to thin them. It’s really the hair deeper in the ears that can trap and cause problems for some. I think it’s safer to pluck them, if it benefits them. Trimming can still help keep them neat and maybe prevent mats. Definitely every dog doesn’t need their ear hair plucked, probably not even all dogs with really hairy ears. I agree it’s really individual.

Our breeder recommended plucking Sundance’s ears, and they are pretty hairy! The groomer doesn’t pull out all of the hair, just thins it a bit. It doesn’t bother him, he’d rather have his ears handled than his feet! We’ve been going much longer stretches between grooms and it hasn’t been a problem that his ears don’t get as much attention. I try to be really careful with the water when he gets a bath, and I think that helps.
 

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For the ones who have a lot of ear hair and do need plucking, I don’t know that trimming alone would be as effective because you’d have to stick the scissors in to thin them. It’s really the hair deeper in the ears that can trap and cause problems for some. I think it’s safer to pluck them, if it benefits them. Trimming can still help keep them neat and maybe prevent mats. Definitely every dog doesn’t need their ear hair plucked, probably not even all dogs with really hairy ears. I agree it’s really individual.

Our breeder recommended plucking Sundance’s ears, and they are pretty hairy! The groomer doesn’t pull out all of the hair, just thins it a bit. It doesn’t bother him, he’d rather have his ears handled than his feet! We’ve been going much longer stretches between grooms and it hasn’t been a problem that his ears don’t get as much attention. I try to be really careful with the water when he gets a bath, and I think that helps.
Same here - Perry has hairy ears. Our groomer doesn't pluck all of it, but does pluck some - and I have to comb it out often (especially if we're long between grooming) and while it's not gunky it does have stuff on it.
 

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I was wondering if simply trimming up the ear hair vs plucking could be helpful in some dogs. My neighbor has a standard poodle and she Is doing that with her dog. This may not work in all cases but I would want to try this before resorting to plucking.
Maybe, but some Havanese actually grow SO much hair inside their ears that it really blocks air flow. In a case like that, teimming won’t help much
 

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My little Shadow has the hairest ears his groomer has encountered. She plucks them. I leave it to her and believe she plucks them by hand. He's never had any ear problems so far at 4plus years old.
My previous dog had very hairy ears also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Everyone, thank you all so much for your great advice on how to manage hairy ears. Toff‘s groomer, Emma (Dapper Dogs) will probably be my first port of call. He’s due a visit next week and I’ll check with the vet too! As far as I can judge he doesn’t have any allergies and is quite a healthy little boy, full of bounce (sometimes a little too much playful energy for the older dogs we meet walking). Him and his older half brother Fudge spent nearly two hours chasing and rolling around my daughter’s garden yesterday, followed by another two hours completely flat out…happy Havanese days 😂
 

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Just remember that groomers are not medical experts to make judgement calls on something like this. If you are currently doing something and it is working for your dog, that’s great. If you are talking about CHANGING something, I’d get MEDICAL advice FIRST or you can do more harm than good. Many, if not most, groomers look at ear plucking and yhe expressing of snal gland s both as “normal” parts of grooming. IMO, neither of these things are a necessary part of grooming every dog, and can be harmful if done indiscriminately. If the dog NEEDS either, they should be done, but it is very individual, and the decision should be made between you and your vet.
 
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I use something very similar to what Tom described, except ours is a liquid cleaner. Our vet showed me how to use it when Flo had dirty ears when we first got her. She doesn’t like it going in but LOVES the massage, which is weirdly therapeutic squelching about. I finish by wiping any excess round with a cotton pad. We don’t do it often, only if I notice inside her ears look a little dirty.
 
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