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SNIPPITS The Lapdog's Lexicon of Grooming: ERONEOUS EAR HAIR
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SNIPPITS: The Lapdog's Lexicon of Grooming
ERONEOUS EAR HAIR
Before I became a professional dog groomer, I tried to groom my dogs at home. For those of you ready to tackle the living room grooms, this is for you. The Lapdog’s Lexicon provides easy lessons for dog grooming. These methods are tried and true; just ask our clients! Now, get out there and get your groom on!
Today’s Lesson: ERONEOUS EAR HAIR
Many breeds of dogs have a natural ability to grow hair from within their ears. As veterinarians and groomers alike know, this unruly hair can not only cause your pup discomfort, but these hairs can lead to a very infected ear! Although it may sound medieval, it is a common practice to pull the unwanted hair out of the ear. A healthy ear is a clean ear! With a little patience, skill and good hand-eye coordination, anyone can clean their dog’s ears. Here is a step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Always make certain your dog is placed on a no-slip surface! If necessary, tether your pet. Be sure your pup’s head is at a height which is comfortable for you. Poor placement can endanger the dog and cause you some back pain!
Step 2: Gently grasp your dog’s ear between finger and thumb and fold the ear back. Look into the ear to assess hair growth. If the ear canal is clean, today is your lucky day. If the ear is full of hair – usually it has a brown and greasy texture – it’s time to get started. You will need three things: a good pair of round tipped forceps (or hemostat), cotton balls, and an ear cleaning solution. My solution is made of 1/3 hydrogen peroxide, 1/3 rubbing alcohol (the wintergreen smells better!) and 1/3 vinegar (optional). I put my solution in a small spray bottle.
Step 3: Hold the ear back with a firm but gentle grip. Use your other hand to operate the forceps. Starting with the outermost hairs, begin grabbing small sections of hair with the forceps, pinching the forceps closed so hair will not slip out. Pull forceps in a firm, steady motion away from the dog’s ear. Clean hair from forceps before your next pull. Continue this pulling process until you have removed all of the hair inside the ear. Good lighting is crucial when looking for hair down in the ear. Use a flashlight if you must. Remember to never pinch the skin or probe the ear too deeply, as these will injure your dog!
Step 4: Once the hair has been removed from your dog’s ear, grab a cotton ball with your forceps. If the cotton ball is too large for your dog’s ear, tear the cotton ball into an appropriate size. Once the cotton ball is secured in the forceps, spray the cotton ball with the ear cleaning solution. Do not over saturate – a damp cotton ball is good. With a gentle movement, insert the forceps cotton ball down into the ear and twist for the best cleaning action. Most often, the result will be a cotton ball covered in a dark brown or black waxy substance. Get a fresh cotton ball, add cleaning solution, and repeat the swabbing technique. When a cotton ball comes out clean, you have succeeded. Note: Sometimes an ear is especially messy when it’s infected. For this, I first use a dry cotton ball, to absorb any existing moisture.
Step 5: It is a great idea to check your dog’s ears every 4 to 6 weeks. If you have a dog whose ears are prone to yeast infections, such as cocker spaniels, it is best to seek the wisdom and care of your veterinarian. Remember that ears with yeast infections are extremely contagious. All precautions must be used. Wear gloves and always clean your equipment with alcohol or other germicide.