Ah, puppies. They come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and types. They each have their own distinct look, bark, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. But there’s a tiny detail that makes puppies unique that you may have never really thought about before.
Actually, two tiny details.
There’s a lot more to know about your puppies’ ears than meets the eye.
All puppies are born with floppy ears. But there are some breeds of dogs whose ears actually go through an entire process of transforming from being floppy to standing straight up!
It may take up to 6 months for a dog’s cartilage and ear muscles to strengthen enough for the ears to stand up, which is around when they finish teething. However, some dog breeds like Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, and Beagles will have floppy ears their whole lives.
In this post, I will go into the ins and outs of puppies’ ears.
I will go into more detail about the age that puppies’ ears should go up and whether some puppies’ ears will stay floppy forever.
I will also offer tips and tricks for you to help your puppies’ ears stand up, explore if your puppies’ ears will change as they grow, and explain why sometimes, they may have one ear up and one ear down.
Ready to get the scoop?
Here we go!
While all puppies are born with floppy ears, some dogs will undergo the transformation from droopy-eared to having ears that stand tall.
Some dog breeds will not have ears that stand up. It just isn’t in their DNA. These breeds include:
Dog breeds that most commonly grow into having ears that stand up are:
If your puppy is a breed that grows to have ears that stand up, you are in for an exciting treat. Over the first several months of your dog’s life, you will be able to watch as their cartilage stiffens and their ear muscles increase to the point that their ears are standing tall 24/7.
As your dog’s ears undergo this process, you may actually be able to feel their ears getting firmer month by month. This process may vary from dog to dog but likely will be complete around the six-month mark.
Excluding the outliers, if your dog’s ears aren’t standing up around seven months, it’s less likely that they ever will.
You may be anxiously anticipating your dog’s ears standing up if your dog’s breed has this capability.
Obviously, if your dog’s breed doesn’t have ears that stand up, you can never expect them to, even with methods like ear-taping.
If it seems like your dog’s ears are still floppy after a few months of close observation, there are a few things to take into consideration:
If your dog is deficient in calcium, this may be the cause of your dog’s floppy ears.
I don’t recommend giving your dog a calcium supplement because too much calcium can be damaging as well. It is best to let your vet tell you how much and what type of calcium is best for your dog.
Supplements that may be worth looking into are Vitamin C, gelatin, and glucosamine. These are all known for helping to strengthen cartilage, which is essential for ears to stand up.
Also, make sure to check your dog for worms. Worms can leech essential nutrients needed for proper ear development and the overall health of your pup.
There’s a simple test you can try to see if your dog’s ears may be likely to stand up in the future:
Simply call their name and see if their ears perk up as if they’re attempting to stand.
If this test results in their ears going up, it’s likely they will be capable of standing up over time.
There is a lot of variation in the rate of ears going up from breed to breed. While it can be hard to watch and wait, keep in mind the extended period that it can take to see a dog’s ears stand up. As examples, check out these wide time ranges:
If you’re the proactive type, you’ll be happy to know that there are things you can do to help your puppies’ ears stand up.
I’m going to share some tricks that are safe and effective. If you would like to see your dog’s ears up sooner than later, give these tips a try:
Here is a detailed, step-by-step guide to taping your dog’s ears.
I recommend researching this method carefully to see if it’s right for your dog. Give your vet a call if you’re unsure.
Also, make sure you use the proper tools and follow instructions closely to not injure your dog.
As your dog’s ears are in the delicate stages of growing stronger, you’ll want to make sure you protect them.
Ensure that you aren’t playing too hard with your dog and grabbing, squeezing, or pulling their ears. You don’t want to weaken or damage their ears as they grow!
Also, make sure your kids aren’t playing too aggressively with your pup. Check on your dog when they’re playing with other dogs to ensure they aren’t roughhousing. Keep an eye out for any rough play that could jeopardize the health of their ears.
Evaluate what you are feeding your dog. If you are giving them dog food, double-check the formula.
Ensure your dog is receiving all the nutrients they need for their specific age, breed and level of development. Filling in any missing nutritional gaps can be the missing link that accelerates your pup’s ear growth.
If you think there may be anything missing in their diet, reach out to your vet to help you make any adjustments.
The muscles involved in chewing build the ear muscles as well.
Making sure your dog has good, solid, and safe chew toys can help your dog develop the ear muscles needed to help their ears stand up.
Puppies’ ears change a lot as they grow.
As puppies grow, their ears may be up one day and down the next. This is totally normal!
As their ears are going through the process of strengthening, they will go up and down. If they’re meant to stay up, this is the position they will eventually land in, and they will solidify there at the right time.
After a dog has finished teething, their owner will generally see that their ears stand up. However, this is not always the case. A dog’s ears can go up anytime, but over 50 percent of them will have ears that stand up by around 6 months of age (if they are a non-floppy ears breed).
Having one ear up and one ear down may be natural for your dog. It’s totally okay and may just be the way your dog was created.
How cute and unique!
There are instances when having one ear up and one ear down can be a cause for concern. Your dog having one ear up and one ear down may be a sign your dog is suffering from:
If you see any worrying symptoms accompanying your dog’s drooping ear, a trip to the vet may be in order.
While your dog’s ears are just two small features on their body, their positioning can communicate many things.
Floppy ears are playful and innocent. However, ears that stand straight up can appear stronger and more regal.
Your dog may have one ear up and one ear down. As long as they are healthy, this is nothing to worry about.
Unique ears set your dog apart! A puppies’ ears may help make them different, but there’s one thing that unites all puppies, making them the same; their sweet and amazing love.