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Vet Check: Does Plucking Dog Ear Hair Hurt? Is It Safe?

Does Plucking Dog Ear Hair Hurt

You notice that your dog’s hair on their ear has been growing.

However, they’re not due to go to the groomer yet…

With that, it makes you think if you can remove the hair yourself.

And when you do, will it hurt your pooch? Moreover, is it even a good habit to practice?

Read on to discover:

  • An alternative to plucking your dog’s ear hair.
  • What can happen if you pluck your dog’s ear hair too much.
  • If you can pluck your dog’s ear hair at home and how often you should.
  • And much, much more…

Does plucking dog ear hair hurt?

Plucking dog ear hair hurts. Some dogs won’t react to the activity, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t feel pain. Other dogs will try to fight, get away, or bite the person plucking the hair. That’s because dogs’ ears are full of nerve endings that send impulses of pain into their body.

Is it safe to pull hair from dogs’ ears?

It isn’t safe to pull hair from your dog’s ear. Although practiced by many dog parents and groomers, it remains controversial. However, the verdict, for now, is that it can do more harm than good.

First on the good that it offers…

Plucking your dog’s hair on their ears can result in clean ears. 

It can lead to the ear passages having more airflow. 

Doing so can also clear out hair that gathers waxy debris. With that, the ear will have a less bad odor.

However, there’s a catch to it…


Doing this practice excessively can lead to many harmful effects.

To start, plucking hair out of your dog’s ears will hurt them.

There are many nerve endings present on that body part. 

Those are the messengers that send the feeling to the brain. Then, the body experiences that sensation.

That’s why dogs love ear rubs so much. These nerve endings send a pleasant message to the brain when you do so. Then, the brain tells your dog’s body that it’s an enjoyable feeling…

With that, they take amusement from the ear rub…

That aside, plucking too much can lead to the scarring of the ear canals. These scars will be small. That’s why they call it micro-traumas. 

Despite their size, these tiny lesions will become a habitat for harmful bacteria. With that, their ears will be inflamed.

And all in all, it can lead to…

Ear infections in dogs

Ear Infection In Dogs

This condition is the inflammation of your dog’s external ear canal. It’s also called otitis externa.

And in this situation, it’s caused by the growth of bacteria in the lesions. Such is brought by the excessive practice of hair plucking.

Now, according to research, staphylococcus spp. is the number one culprit for most of this condition.

Other causes of ear infections in dogs are:

  • Allergies.
  • Parasites.
  • Yeast overgrowth.
  • Presence of foreign objects in the ear.

Vets will first identify which of these are the cause of infection. Such is a necessary step to identify the way of treatment.

Furthermore, VCA Hospitals also tell us that some dogs are predisposed to it.

Those canines are those that have large and hairy ears. Naming a few are:

  • Cocker Spaniels.
  • Miniature Poodles.
  • Old English Sheepdogs.

Moreover, here are the signs for this condition as stated in the Merck Vet Manual:

  • Odor.
  • Swelling.
  • Scaly skin.
  • Scratching.
  • Headshaking.
  • Redness of the skin.
  • Increased ear discharge.

With that, think of such a consequence before pulling your dog’s ear hair. 

If you choose to continue practicing the habit, make sure you do it in moderation. How often and further explanation for the rule of thumb will be discussed in the article…

Editor’s picks: 11 Alarming Reasons Why Dogs Scratch Their Ears + 5 Tips & 9 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Other Dogs’ Ears + 3 Dangers & Tips

Should I remove hair from my dog’s ears?

You shouldn’t remove hair from your dog’s ears. Rather, you should just trim and maintain it. Doing so will keep the cleanliness and health of your dog’s ear.

Hair grows in a dog’s ears for a reason. Such aims to prevent debris from entering the deep ear canal.

Moreover, as I mentioned, some dogs have naturally hairy ears.

So, if you have a Shih Tzu or a Poodle, trimming hair in their ears is extremely necessary.

Now, how does this practice exactly help?

Importance of clean ears in dogs

Cleaning Dog Ears

First of all, your dog’s body is able to take care of itself by default.

And when it comes to their ear, the area can actually clean itself up.

This study tells us that that ability is called epithelial migration (EM).

It’s described as the capability of old cells in the ear to know how to show themselves out. 

They start from deep within the ear canals. Then, these cells push themselves outside onto the outer ear or pinna.

Despite this natural ability, your pooch still needs your help…

And one way to do so is by trimming down the hair in the ears.

Doing this will prevent the excess hair from catching or keeping ear wax debris. 

It’ll also pave a better way for epithelial migration’s magic. As when there’s less hair, the more that the ear wax can move outside.

Moreover, proper ear grooming can fight off parasites. There’ll be no available breeding ground for the bloodsuckers with spotless ears.

What happens when you skip ear grooming?

Then it can lead to the ear being filled with wax, which bacteria and other foreign bodies will stick on.

With that, there’ll be a high chance that your pooch will get ear infections.

I’ve discussed that condition before. Although, that specific one’s caused by bacterial overgrowth…

This time, let’s talk about a new and yet similar condition: ear yeast infections.

According to PetMD, yeast is always present in your dog’s ears. However, it’s there in low amounts only.

But when the skin on their ear becomes weak and defenseless…


The amount of yeast will multiply and will cause an overgrowth.

Your pupper’s ears will start smelling musty and sweet. They’ll also show signs like:

With that, never underestimate the power of clean ears. Remember that ear cleaning is an essential part of your dog’s grooming habits. 

Why do groomers pull hair out of dogs’ ears?

Groomers pull hair out of dogs’ ears as part of the cleaning process. Some disagree that there are harmful effects of doing so to dogs. Regardless of their angle on this controversy, it’ll be up to you if you’ll let them pull hair out of your pup’s ears. 

Numerous groomers still practice pulling hair out of dogs’ ears. They do so using tweezers.

Do you agree that this habit has bad effects? Then, you can ask the groomer to trim Fido’s ear hairs instead.

That alternative is a much better option…

As I said, the hairs in a dog’s ear play a role. It’s not put there for no reason.

With that, you should have their ears cleaned regularly. All while you maintain the proper nature of your dog’s body and keep a little hair left.

Moreover, you wanna know something?

This grooming salon revealed whether plucking hair in the ears is good or not.

They stated that they stopped plucking ear hairs in their salon. And since then, they’ve never received another phone call that says someone’s dog got an ear infection.

Can you pluck dog ears at home?

You can pluck your dog’s ears at home. However, it’s not recommended. If you choose to use this method for cleaning your dog’s ear, it’s best to let a professional do it.

There are many instructional articles on the internet on how to pluck your dog’s ears at home…

Despite that, it’s not advised that you should proceed to do so.

If you’re set to removing your dog’s hair on their ears, let a professional do it. You can take Fido to the grooming salon or their vet.

What if you want to be the one to clean your dog’s ears? 

Say your pooch has trouble cooperating with the groomer. That’s why you’re going for this at-home option…

Regardless of the circumstance, you might want to consider a much preferable choice…

It’s trimming your dog’s ear hair instead. Such is much safer and won’t lead to any harmful consequences if done properly.

How often should you pluck dog ears?

How often you should pluck dog ears depends on whether they’re furry in that area or not.

If your dog has hairy ears, they need more frequent ear hair maintenance. 

And if you choose to pluck the hair on their ear, proceed with caution. Only do so once every 6 weeks for your furry pooch.

If Fido doesn’t have that much hair on their ears, then once every 2 months of plucking will do.

Moreover, here’s a clear instructional video on how to pluck your dog’s ear hairs.

But for a healthier approach, you can switch to trimming their ear-hairs instead. 

It’s a practice that won’t put your dog at risk of an ear infection.

Moreover, another key in maintenance is to check your canine’s ear habitually.

Regularly inspect your dog’s ear

You should be doing such a habit when you have a dog to look after.

Check to see if your pooch and their ears show the following signs:

Bring your dog to the vet immediately if you notice any of these.

Moreover, as a dog parent, you would want the best for your pooch. And as I said, ear grooming is an essential part of maintaining your dog’s body.

But what if you overdo it?

Overcleaning your dog’s ears

In cleaning your dog’s ear, vets say never to use cotton tip applicators. Those are better known as Q-tips.

Instead, you should use a cotton ball.  Moreover, it should be soaked in a solution that the veterinarian recommends. 

The dosage and frequency will also depend on their advice.

Now, only practice within the prescribed frequency.

Going above board might lead to harm, which is the opposite of what you desire from the activity.

That’s because some ear cleaning solutions contain abrasive chemicals. Increased use of these substances can lead to irritations in the ear…

Then, it leads to ear infections…

How do you remove hair from a dog’s ear?

You remove hair from a dog’s ear by plucking. However, it’ll be better if you don’t remove it totally as hairs serve a purpose in the ear. Instead, you can trim and thin the hair in there and keep it clean.

Removing hair on their ear can be a way to maintain its cleanliness.

Now, plucking is a sure and widely-practiced method to do it. However, as I’ve been saying, it can bring harmful consequences.

And to clarify, many attest that plucking will help prevent ear infections in dogs. 

That’s why some canines with chronic or a history of ear infections have their ear hairs plucked.

It’s due to the notion that it clears the dog’s ear passages. Therefore, airflow will improve. Moreover, there won’t be any hair that wax, debris, and bacteria could grow on.

There’s no denying that all of those are true… 

But like I repeatedly state in the article, the practice isn’t perfect. Excessive use of it or doing it wrong can harm your dog’s health.

Note: If your dog has chronic ear infections, consult a vet first. Ask the professional if they’ll allow such a habit to be practiced.

But what if they say “No.”? Is there an alternative?

Yes, there’s one. It’s a better option regardless of whether your dog has a chronic ear infection or not.

With this method, you can remove your dog’s ear hair by trimming or thinning it in this method.

Practicing this can also help maintain ear cleanliness in your pooch.

Moreover, it retains the initial use of hairs in the ears. By doing this, you can ensure that your pupper’s ears remain clean and healthy.