If your dog’s ears are supposed to be upright but one or both of its ears are floppy, your dog may have a serious injury or health issue. Dog owners should pay attention to the health of their dog’s ears and treat any issues with the help of a vet.
Why do Some Dogs Have One Upright Ear And One Lying Down
Some dogs have one upright ear and one ear lying down. This condition could be normal for some dogs, but for others, it could be an indication that the dog has a health issue or injury that should be treated by a vet.
Why don’t my dog’s ears stand up?
Several dog breeds have upright ears. These breeds include huskies, corgis, and English toy terriers. Several breeds of dog have semi-upright ears such as whippets, pitbulls, and greyhounds. Other breeds have droopy or floppy ears such as basset hounds, beagles, labrador retrievers, and bloodhounds.
Some dog breeds, depending on their genetics, can have upright, semi-upright, floppy, or a mix of ear types such as German shepherds and border collies.
If you know that your dog is a breed that normally has upright ears, you should consult with a trusted vet to see if there is something wrong with your dog. A vet can diagnose the reason why your dog’s ears don’t stand up and treat the dog in an appropriate manner.
What Does It Mean When a Dog Has One Upright Ear and One Ear Lying Down?
When a dog has one ear standing up and one ear flopped down, it can mean many different things. It is important for dog owners to understand why their dog may display this ear position. Interpreting what your dog is communicating with its body language can help your dog live a healthy, well-loved life.
They are paying attention
Some dogs that have one ear standing up and one ear laying down may be expressing that they have given their attention to something. If a dog’s owner notices that their dog is staring intently at something with their ears in that position, that may be the reason.
They are protecting themselves
Some dogs have very thin skin surrounding their ears. When dogs play with each other, they may lower the ear on the side of the body where they are playing. This helps prevent an injury to the ear, particularly if the dogs are playing rough.
They feel nervous
Dogs that are normally anxious or nervous may listen intently to the sounds around them. If your dog seems to do this often, it may be time to find out how to reduce your dog’s stress or nervousness. Talk to a trusted veterinarian about ways to reduce your dog’s stress and calm its nerves.
Puppies have underdeveloped ear muscles and weak cartilage, especially when they are teething. As a result, their ears may be floppy or partially floppy as their muscles develop and calcium is borrowed from cartilage to grow other parts of the body.
In addition, as puppies age, their muscles may not develop at the same rate. The muscles of one ear may be stronger than the other ear causing the ears to be mismatched in their appearance.
Depending on the dog breed, a puppy’s ears can develop into their adult shape within a few months or after several months. Dogs with heavy ears made of thick cartilage can take longer to develop their adult shape than dogs wth lighter, thinner ears.
They’re listening to things around you
Some dogs are naturally vigilant. Dogs with this type of personality may be constantly aware of their surroundings and on alert. Raising one ear and lowering the other may help the dog determine from which direction a sound of concern is coming.
They have a health condition or injury
Several dog breeds have ears that normally stand up and do not flop over. If an adult dog whose ears normally stand up has one or both flopped over, that may be an indication of something wrong. Certain health conditions and injuries can cause upright ears to lie down.
Adult dogs that normally have upright ears may have floppy ears instead with no obvious reason. Sometimes, if a dog is malnourished during its early development and does not receive a sufficient amount of the proper nutrition, the ears will not form correctly.
Malformed ears can be an indication that the dog came from a puppy mill, was born on the street, or was neglected when it was a puppy. If this is the reason for a dog’s floppy ears, this condition normally cannot be fixed.
Injury to the ear
When dogs play, sometimes one of them can get injured, especially if the play is rough and involves teeth. Dogs have thin skin on their ears and it is easy for that skin to be torn or damaged.
A dog’s ears can also be damaged if they are digging around in holes outside or running into bushes after a small animal. When they shove their face into something, their ears may catch on a sharp branch or tree root and become damaged, causing the ear to hang down.
A floppy ear combined with visible inflammation may be an ear infection. Ear infections most often occur in the middle or inner ear canal. Just like in humans, ear infections in dogs are caused by bacteria. This infection requires diagnosis by a trained vet and treatment with prescribed antibiotics.
An ear hematoma is caused by a burst blood vessel in the ear, causing blood to flow between the cartilage and skin. Dogs with ear mites are highly susceptible to hematomas as they scratch or violently shake their heads in the process of relieving the discomfort from the mite infestation.
An abscess is a painful swelling of the skin. Abscesses in a dog’s ears can be caused by a buildup of dirt in the ear, a parasite, or an infection or injury that did not properly heal. An abscess can cause a dog to frantically scratch at the site, causing even more damage to the ear.
When to take your dog to the vet
A dog owner should take their dog to the vet when they see that their dog’s ears do not look normal. Most of the causes of a floppy ear are typically something only a trained vet can diagnose and treat.
Owners should react quickly to prevent their dogs from feeling unnecessary pain or discomfort.
Why does my Frenchie have a floppy ear?
French bulldogs normally have upright ears, but sometimes their ears may lie down. During development, both ears or one ear may lie down. It can take quite a while for the ear cartilage in French bulldogs to develop sufficient strength for the ears to consistently stand up.
Fixing your French bulldog’s ears is possible. One common method is to tape the ears for a few days. The tape provides support to hold the ears in an upright position. Owners can also provide their dogs with a calcium supplement to promote strengthening the ear cartilage.
Why does my border collie have one ear up and one ear down?
The ears of border collies do not always stand up. Border collies can have different types of ears – upright, semi-upright, floppy, or one upright/one floppy. The genetic background of your border collie can play a large role in determining the type of ear it has.
Border collies have ears that are fragile as puppies. Collie owners who roughly pet their border collie puppies on the ears may damage the fragile cartilage. This damage would cause the collie to have one or both ears floppy as adults.
A dog owner that wishes their collie’s ears to stand up may be able to encourage it by taping their dog’s ears. However, taping a dog’s ears can cause their ears to develop incorrectly and negatively affect their hearing. For this reason, taping should be done by a professional.
Why is one of my German Shepherd’s ears floppy?
German shepherds can have floppy ears for a variety of reasons. The first reason could be because of their genetic background.
A German shepherd’s ears are supposed to be erect and pointy in a specific way according to the American Kennel Club. As a result, breeders select for a large, erect ear, and sometimes, the dogs that are produced have ears too large to be completely erect and will flop over.
German shepherds who suffered from poor ear hygiene as puppies may also have floppy ears. A buildup of dirt, earwax, or other debris can weigh down a puppy’s ears and cause the ears to remain floppy as the puppy develops.
Can you train a dog’s ears to stay floppy?
A dog’s ears can be trained to stay floppy. However, there are ethical and physical concerns that should be thought about first. If your dog’s ears stay floppy, will that negatively impact their ability to hear? Or will making my dog’s ears floppy cause them any discomfort as they grow?
Answering these questions before making the decision is important. Owners that still wish to move forward and make their dogs have floppy ears should consult with a vet to make sure that the dogs do not suffer during the process.
How do you train a dog’s ears to stay floppy?
To train a dog’s ears to remain floppy, a dog owner should start while the dog is a young puppy. During the puppy stage, the ear cartilage is still developing, and training the ear to develop a certain way is easier at this stage.
A dog’s ears can be taped down to the side of its head or even under its chin. A puppy’s ears can also be glued to the side of its head. Some owners may wrap their puppies’ ears close to their heads with bandages to keep the ears flat as they grow.
Can a dog break its ear?
A dog’s ear can be “broken” but not in the same way a bone can be broken since an ear is made of cartilage and skin. A blood-filled blister can form between the skin and the cartilage. This aural hematoma can be quite painful for dogs.
What are the symptoms of a broken ear in dogs?
The symptoms of this “broken ear” or aural hematoma include a swollen ear flap and ears that may hang lower than normal. The hematoma itself may feel squishy. A dog with a hematoma will be in pain and may flinch or whine when its ear is touched.
How to fix a broken ear in dogs?
An aural hematoma can be fixed by a trained vet. The vet drains the blood-filled blister by making an incision and then sews up the incision. Sometimes, the vet will insert a tube for a few days to allow for better draining of the wound.
A dog’s ear must remain bandaged for a time to ensure proper healing. Unfortunately, bandaging ears and protecting the ear from reinjury during the healing process can be very challenging.
Why does my dog have a swollen and flabby ear?
A swollen and flabby ear on a dog could indicate that the dog has an injury from fighting, an infection, or bad hygiene. Abscesses and hematomas are common causes of this symptom. If your dog has a swollen, flabby ear, it is important to take the dog to the vet.
Never use home remedies to treat your dog’s swollen or flabby ear.
- Aaron, Marc. “What Does it Mean When a Dog Has One Ear up and One Ear Down?” Doggysaurus.
- “Aural Hematomas in Dogs.” Bond Vet. https://bondvet.com/b/soft-tissue-surgery-aural-hematomas-in-dogs
- Besteiros, Maria. “Is Taping Dog Ears Down a Bad Idea?” Animal Wised.