Ear Care

Getting Great Ears

Looking after the ears of your Lagotto is very important. It is even more important to know about the many different ways of keeping them clean as this gives you the ability to better choose what is right for you and your four legged friend.

As the Lagotto is a water dog it is vital that their ears are kept clean and free of excess hair. Build up of dirt and moisture in the ear canal can cause infections and harm to your pet’s ears in the long run, not to mention also costing a lot in vet bills. If you notice your dog shaking its head a lot, or pawing at its ears, it is time to check in the ear canals.

Never put anything down into your dog’s ear canal, you only want to remove the hair blocking the entrance to the ear canal so that air can circulate to prevent moisture and infection developing. Some lagotti have very hairy ears that need a lot of attention while other lagotti have very little hair in their ear canals and only need the occasional check-up. If you look at the pictures below, you can see a range of Lagotto ear types, all in their natural state without trimming or plucking.

Pixie ear naturalZola ear naturalBaz ear natural

So, what can you do to keep your dog’s ears in good shape? The first thing is to remove excess hair from around the ear canal and underside of the ear. This can be achieved by either clipping or scissoring the underside of the ear flap first so that the ear canal can be seen. Then you can either pluck or scissor or clip around the entrance to the ear canal to remove excess hair or any hair plugs, so that air can circulate to prevent moisture and infection developing. There is no need to remove all the hair from the ear canal, some is needed to keep the ear canal healthy and protected from the elements. The pictures below show before and after hair removal and some hair plugs removed from the ear.

Merlot ear naturalMerlot ear trimmedMerlot ear hair plugs

There are different schools of thought on plucking and it is not for everyone. Some lagotti easily accept plucking but for others it can cause irritation and pain inside the ear canal which can aggravate any infection and make the dog shake their head even more. However the upside is that the hair in the ear canal gradually lessens over time which allows less plucking to happen.

Tips and Tricks

-If your Lagotto is head shy or very frightened of plucking, then don’t pluck! But don’t let this be an excuse to neglect your dog’s ears!

-Use a pencil trimmer (Wahl trimmer as pictured below) to trim the outside and towards the opening and inside of ear; this removes the excess hair and plugs without plucking or scaring the dog.

Wahl Stylique pencil trimmerBall nose scissors

-You can also use tiny snub nose scissors (as pictured above) to carefully trim away the excess hair if your dog doesn’t like the noise of a pencil trimmer.

-Try plucking by hand rather than using tweezers and only pluck a very little at a time.

-Wampum ear powder, Thornit powder or Happy Jack’s powder (as pictured below) are great for gripping the hair when plucking. These powders also help to soothe the ear and prevent infections.

thornit & happy jackswampum

– Wampum ear powder can be purchased from Creature Comforts here in NZ http://creaturecomforts.net.nz/ and Thornit from Groomers Products in Australia. Happy Jack’s is only available in America.

-Clean your Lagotto’s ears regularly as this allows you to catch infections early, either by smell or the noticeable build up of dirt and grime.

-If you think your dog has a problem infection then please seek your vet’s advice.