To Pluck, Or Not To Pluck
Plucking Ear Hair
Since the inception of grooming, it has been a routine procedure to pluck the loose hair from the ear canal of specific breeds as part of the proper grooming process. Not all breeds have hair present.
Short coated breeds in general as well as Golden Retrievers and Spaniels have hair free ears. Coated breeds such as poodles, lhasas, shih tzus, maltese, schnauzers and other terriers, along with most coated mixed breeds such as golden doodles, labradoodles, cockapoos, multipoos or any mix with one of the more coated breeds. For most dogs, the ear canal hair sits very close to the surface of the skin, and is easily removed with the minimum of discomfort. Plucking your eyebrows is actually more uncomfortable! Removing this ear hair serves a dual purpose. It clears out built up wax and debris and exposes any ongoing ear issues the dog may have, i.e. mites, yeast or other infections. It is a misconception that cleaning ears out during a grooming session ’causes’ ear infections. Because infections of any kind, take a while to set up, the few hours in a grooming salon is not enough time for a full fledged infection to take hold. Quite the contrary, many pet owners have no idea if there is a problem with their dogs’ ear health, and may just chalk any scratching, rubbing of the ears or odor, to bug bites, or just simple ‘itchiness’. Once the hair is removed, and the ear canal is cleared, any ear health issues can be found and addressed, either through your vet or home care of some kind. Removing the hair will also allow for better air flow to the ear, contributing to better ear well being.
All that being said, this practice is now being questioned as to whether it should be performed or not. Some dogs are more sensitive and may experience excessive head shaking or scratching at the ears, or owners may wrongly accuse their groomer of ‘causing’ an infection expecting financial compensation of some kind, thus prompting many groomers to now ask the client if they would like the ears plucked or not. Depending on what your preference is for your pet, just let your groomer know, and they will respectfully abide by your wishes.