Many people have an opinion about cropping your dogs ears. Some say it is cruel and not necessary, others will tell you the exact opposite. The best way to make the best decision for you and your dog is to do your own research and make an educated decision.
At home we have a Cane Corso named Bourbon, when we got him we were told we had to make the decision to crop his ears or not by 10 weeks old.
We had been told it wasn’t necessary, we didn’t really know much about the process and before we knew it 10 weeks old came and went and we never did his ears.
Later we learned some challenges dogs can have by not getting their ears done. For example, other dogs use their ears as handle bars to pull them down during play time. If you are only going to have one dog it may not be to much of a concern, but if you will have multiples it is something to consider.
Why would that be a cancer? When dogs of this size are playing they can get a little rough, its completely normal. Unfortunately if the dogs ears are intact and they are used as handle bars it is very easy for them to tare. Once that happens it is very painful for your dog and it is not something that can be fixed.
The other thing to consider is ear infections. When a dog has intact ears they can hold moisture under them, so during bath time or play time outside in the wet weather if water gets under the ear it can get trapped there and cause ear infections. One your dog gets an ear infection it becomes prone to them for life. If you live in wooded areas, ears are a great hiding place for tics as well.
When we got Bourbon we lived in the city and we had an older mastiff, so rough play and some of the other hazards that come with intact ears weren’t really so much of a concern.
We have been lucky with Bourbon, overall his ear heath has been really good, we take extra precaution during bath time not to get water in his ears and we teat for tics throughout the year.
Recently we adopted a Dogo Argintino, she is a 13 week old bundle of joy that was surrendered to a rescue by a breeder because she was deaf. Again we are faced with the decision to leave her ears intact or to get them cropped. We got her at 10 weeks old, and since Bourbon I am much more educated about the guardian breeds and know what they need and what to expect while raising one.
This is Carhartt, at 13 weeks old she weights 38lbs, she is very affectionate, and although she’s deaf and there are many challenges with a deaf dog, her training and development is coming along nicely.
Carhartt is different from Bourbon, her inner ears are always getting build up, even though we try to keep them clean.
She also likes to play rough and is grabbing at Bourbons ears all the time, in turn he does the same to her.
I contacted a registered breeder to get some more info about the hygiene needs of a Dogo and he recommended cropping and recommended a place for us to take her if we decided to go through with it.
I also learned that cropping can be done after 10 weeks old, it is just a different process. After 10 weeks of age the cartilage starts to harden so if you crop a puppies ears they will have to be stitched and glued to a foam piece depending on length and kept like that for a few weeks until the stitches dissolve and the glue naturally pulls away from the foam.
With an educated decision and wanting what was best for our puppy we have decided to make the appointment and go through with the process.
Below I will walk you though the experience step by step as we experienced it in hopes to give you a better understanding of whats involved and what it is to get your dogs ears cropped.
Something to keep in mind. Not all vets do these procedures and some places come recommended by breeders. If cropping is something you want to do reach out to a local breeder and ask them where they go and what their suggestions are.
We live in Innisfil Ontario, the breeder we spoke too recommended a place in Tottenham Ontario to do the ear cropping.
When we called to inquire about the process they were very friendly. They asked for the breed and the dogs age, and with that they were able to give us a quote for the cropping and advise on the process.
For Carhartt’s age and weight they Quoted $450 for the cropping. We would bring the puppy in at 11am on the day of the appointment and would be able to pick her up at 3pm that same day. To do the cropping they use needles to insert freezing into her ears so that she doesn’t feel anything. The puppy is also put under general. When you bring your dog in to get any procedure that involves putting the dog under all bets will ask if you want blood work done to test for allergies to the anesthetic. It is usually at a cost of $100-125, and it up to you if you want to take the extra step to insure their heath.
When they crop the ears they can do many different looks depending on what you want.
The examples above are on pitbulls, the styles they illustrate are the ones you can choose from when you go to get your dog done. Once you have chosen your style the vet is able to draw out the cut lines on the ears so you can see what shape with will be when they are done. There are tons of profile picture out there online of different cropped ears, you can bring a picture in to the vet to show them exactly what you are looking for if that is something you want to do as well.
The battle crop; is typically for working dogs, it keeps their ears from being torn while herding live stalk or working in the fields with their handlers. If you do a battle crop your are basically taking the ears right down to the head, there is not much of them left.
Short crop; will give you a bit more of the ear, it is still very short, so keep that in mind if you are considering this crop.
Show crop; the show crop is the one most breeder recommend and do for their own dogs. If you are cropping because of concerns of ear infections and tearing then this is the crop I was told would be the best to do. The show crop does give your dog a lot more of their ear compared to the others, they still stands up like they are sopose to, and they do look very handsome on the dog. The show crop is the one we have ultimately decided on.
Log crop; this crop is more typical in Great Danes and Dobermans, as you can see from the example it can be done on other breeds it just isn’t something you often see.
As most of us know, exercise and mental stimulation is one of the key factors to reducing stress and anxiety in your dog, so Carhartts day started with puppy class. This gave her the opportunity to play and work and meet new people and puppies. A key factor in her development is lots and lots of socializing.
Puppy class is only 30min long, to be honest you can’t really expect much more out of a puppy at 13weeks then that. The class started at 10 am, and the facility we go to Working K9 is only 15min away from where we are taking the puppy to get her ears done at 11am. Kind of perfect if you ask me.
The puppy was out cold on the way to the appointment, its to be expected, she usually terrorizes the house for about 30min to an hour then finds a spot for a nap before she does it all over again. What a life this puppy has…
We got to the appointment in good timing and brought her in to meet the vet and the people at Pyne Hills Veterinary. The process was pretty quick, I got to speak with the vet about the length of ears we wanted and the process before they took Carhartt. The vet was more then happy to answer all my questions and was able to show me the cut lines using a marker mark on her ears. I was a little nervous, had a hard time leaving her, but the whole process was only going to take a few hours and I would have her back before I knew it.
The Pick Up
At about 2:40pm I go the call that she was ready. The ear cropping went well and they told me she was very good and was a champ about the whole thing.
When she came out with her little cone on her head I was so happy to see her, and instantly concerned about how a puppy her age was going to deal with that for a couple weeks while the stitches healed.
Because of the length that we chose for her ears she didn’t need to have the sponge between the ears. That was one thing I was pleased about, it was one less thing for me to be concerned about as she is such an active puppy.
After she came out the girl at the front desk was able to walk me through the after care for Carhartt. I was given antibiotics and pain killers for her for the next few days. I was then walked through what to expect for the next few days and what to look out for.
The stitches in her ears are one continuos stitch, because of this we need to be very careful they don’t get ripped or cut from her playing or scratching. The stitches are also dissolvable, the advantage to that is that we wont need to go back to the vets to have them removed, the stitches will slowly dissolve as her ears heal. The challenge with these types of stitches is that you have to keep them dry, you don’t want to get them wet and start to dissolve sooner then they should.
Getting Her Home
When we got her home she was still pretty sleepy from the drugs she got at the vets. They do put them under sedation for the procedure.
She was good in the car, slept the whole way home, and then slept for a bit when we got home. She was super cuddly and just wanted to be with us at first.
After her nap she was back to her playful self. Since we have another dog at home the cone does double duty, it stops the puppy from scratching her stitches and it also protects her against play time.
The Healing Process
The puppy has been doing well over the first couple days. She gets her pain killer in the morning and antibiotics twice a day. She has been a babe with taking her meds, she hasn’t given me any issues.
Her appetite has remained the same and hasn’t gotten an upset stomach at anytime from the procedure or the pills. The aftercare list we were given from the vets suggests to keep the cone in for 7-10 to protect the stitches. We did notice after a few days she started to get really wrestlers with the cone, she was moving around a lot a night when she was trying to get comfortable to sleep, and at one point she managed to get out of the cone and run around the house with it. I have no idea how that happened, I wish I witnessed it.
We noticed almost right away some dry blood on her ears from the procedure. We wanted to clean it, but there was the concern that the stitches would dissolve if we used water to clean them. One of her ears was worse then the other. After 5 days we took some q-tips with a bit of water and tried to clean around the stitches and get some of the dried blood out. It was a challenge with the puppy as she didn’t want to be still, so we did what we could without irritating her ears.
Cone on her head or no cone on her head she was determined to be a puppy. She got into things, tried to play hard with Bourbon, she even somehow crawled under the deck and got stuck… It has been a challenge for sure. By day 6 she had some how completely busted the cone and broke it off her head. It was beyond repair and we had no choice but to take it off early. She of course was a much happier puppy, she was able to sleep through the night and stopped walking into things. The vet suggested 7-10 days with the cone on, so really she only busted out of it a bit early.
Her ears are healing well and they look great, the vet really did a fantastic job.
Her stitches have held up pretty good so far, we haven’t had any issues. We have noticed a lot of crusted fluid and blood left from the procedure and healing, but we have some more time to wait before we can bath her and clean all that up.
Throughout this process she has gained 6lbs as she is a growing puppy. Her eating habits remain healthy, and over all she seems unbothered by her ears being stitched and healing. She did spend some time trying to scratch, but we noticed that more when she had the cone on. Since it has been removed she hasn’t bothered much with her ears, and hasn’t been scratching at them.
Overall we are happy with the result. It’s great to be able to clean her ears properly without the concern of infection. The crop itself was well done and the size is suited for her breed and her facial structure. As she grows, the ears will start to sit up more when her head grows and the muscles in her face develop and get stronger. The vet said it can take up to 2 months for the ears to completely stand up properly and take their full shape.
I really thought there would be issues with them staying up while healing because they were not taped or glued, and as you saw in her before pic she had really large floppy ears. Throughout her healing they really didn’t move much. There was a time or two where one would flip straight up, but it always laid back down flush to the top of her head.
Carhartt is a happy and healthy puppy. Her development is coming along well. Personally I did have a hard time cropping her ears. I know it was suggested by a Breeder and a trainer experienced with the breed, but to put a puppy through that seems excessive to me. Seeing her throughout the process still being super playful and no further health concerns, my mind is more at ease.
Would I do it again? It all depends. Every dog is different. For Carhartt her ears were already troublesome as a puppy collecting tons of dirt and moisture in her ears. A life of chronic ear infections is painful and irritating for the dog and can be expensive for the owner. We didn’t want that for Carhartt.
If you have any further questions about the procedure or the healing process don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and we can chat about it….