Caring for Your Lhasa's Ears

by Joyce Johanson

Have you ever taken a peek inside your Lhasa's ears? If not, you may be in for a surprise! Hair grows quite thick inside a Lhasa's ears and must be removed to help keep the ear healthy and infection-free. Air does not get to a Lhasa's ears; moisture collects inside, trapped by the hair; the hair inside the ear can mat. It all adds up to a real mess that can be avoided by routine care. You can take your Lhasa to the vet to have the hair inside the ears removed; however, it's a grooming task that is easily done at home.

Begin by applying a small amount ear powder to the inside of each ear, making certain the hair is throughly covered, especially at the base. Wait a few minutes to allow the powder to dry the hair. It is surprising how much easier the hair is to pluck once the powder has dried it and how much less your Lhasa will mind the plucking if the powder is used.

Pluck only a few hairs at a time, since this is less irritating for the dog. You can use your fingers to pull out the majority of the hair; however, if you prefer, you may also use a tweezers or hemostat. Praise your Lhasa while you're plucking the hair, speak encouragingly, and stop every so often to give the ears a nice rub. Soon the job will be over!

Once the hair has been removed, the ears should be cleaned. Follow the directions on the commercially available ear cleaner/medication of your choice. Ears should be checked and cleaned often to deter infections and to keep them healthy.

You will probably not have to pluck the hair out of your Lhasa's ear more than once every few months. It really depends on how fast and how thick the hair grows inside the individual dog's ears. Sometimes it's terrible, as in the case of my friend's dog Dolly, a five-month old heavily-coated Lhasa puppy of whom the vet remarked that she had as much hair inside her ears as she had on her whole body! Dolly's ears are going to need a lot more regular attention than many other dogs' ears will need, and since the hair grew so thick and so deep inside the ear, she will probably have to have a vet check her ears regularly.

Ear plucking and cleaning are grooming routines that your Lhasa should become used to as a puppy. While few Lhasas think that having the hair plucked out of their ears is a "fun thing," most accept the fact that it has to be tolerated.

Have you checked your Lhasa's ears lately? If not, take a peek right now.

Please note: Permission to reproduce and/or circulate information in this article is granted. However, the article must be disseminated in its entirety and credit must be given to Joyce Johanson, Joyslyn's Lhasa Apsos. Thanks!

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