Grooming - Ears & Pads
This is a picture of the inside of the ear before it's been plucked (Fig 1). There is a powder in it already and the underneath has been cut short. I like to keep the hair right around that area short for 2 reasons. One, it lets the air in to help keep it dry. Two, I want to be able to see what is on the ear and what is inside the ear canal. Plucking the hair inside the ear canal isn't painful but attempting to pull hair on the ear itself is. This gives me a clean area to work with. If you don't have clippers you can scissor it. I use my Wahl Arco Clippers for this on the shortest setting which is a #40. I even do this with a dog being shown in long coat. Clipping right under the ear, although it benefits the ear health greatly isn't noticeable.
How we maintain our dogs ears to insure they are clean and healthy and that they stay that way.
Some Tibetans have a problem with ear infections. Not all, but enough that I have developed a régime for all my dogs ears. Before I started doing this it seemed like I was always at the vets for another container of Otomax, a prescription medicine for ears. Now I pluck all my dogs ears as well as clean them out with an ear cleaner that was recommended by my vet, on a regular basis. I keep the hair under the ears clipped short to keep air movement into the ear. Usually, it isn't an infection but a fungus which needs a moist environment to grow in. Keeping your dogs ears clean and healthy is easy and painless if you do it right.
This picture (fig 2) is after liberally sprinkling in ear powder. The powder just makes it drier and easier to grasp the hairs without your fingers sliding instead of pulling because of the ear wax.
Here the ears been cleaned out of all hair (fig 3) and you can see better where I've clipped the hair under the ear. When you pluck just grab a few hairs at a time. I you grab too many the dogs will balk about it. It doesn't seem to bother them otherwise. I've found young puppies that have never had it done sometimes dislike it but I think they find it annoyning rather than painful. After they've had it done once they are generally fine with it unless they already have an ear infection which we will discuss later.
Next I add ear cleaner to the ear (fig 4). I just tip the bottle in and fill to the top. I then put the ear flap down and massage under the bottom of the ear near the jaw line to help loosen any debris that's in there. Then I let the dog do what he's been wanting to all along and shake his head.
I then wipe out the ear using a cotton ball. I get all the junk that the dog loosened up when he shook his head .
You won't have to do that again for a few months.
All the above was meant for a healthy ear. What if you dogs got a problem already? How can you tell?
If your dog is scratching at his face alot, especially his chin, check his ears. If the ear flap is red looking or there is reddish brown "stuff" there you dog has an ear issue. It is generally painful. I never pluck a dogs ears when they are that way. I usually treat them for 2 days first and then do the above.
The products I used:
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With their long hair it only makes sense that the hair on the bottoms of their feet grows too. I don't think it's always thought about that this area needs to be clipped too. I've seen dogs with hair between the pads that hasn't been cut turn into huge mats which must feel like walking on pebbles to them. It's really easy to trim this hair.
I use my Wahl Arco Moser on the shortest setting to do this. It's actually safer than using scissors to do this but you can use scissors if you don't have a set of clippers. Just turn the foot over and trim what you see. It's much harder if there is already a mat in there. If so it will be in the center. If you don't have clippers and do find a mat don't try to do it yourself. Take the dog to a groomer. Even if that's all you want them to do. Take them in and ask if they will just trim the mats from the pad. They will charge a small fee for this but it's worth it.
This is what the pads should look like when your done.
The products I used:
Wahl Arco Moser Clippers