There are some affiliate links below, but they are all products I highly recommend. For more info, view my disclosure here.
Have you ever seen a dog with one ear that stands up and wondered why? Or maybe you’ve noticed your own pup’s single perky ear and been curious as to why it’s like that. Well, you’re not alone! There are actually quite a few reasons why a pup’s ear may stick up.
The first thing to note is that there are certain breeds of dogs whose ears naturally stand up all the time. Breeds like Yorkies, Dobermans, and German Shepherds often have erect ears due to their genetics, and it may take some time for both to pop up. But what about if your pup isn’t one of these breeds? Then the reason for their standing ear may be something else entirely, like with our Roxy.
Roxy is a Puerto Rican street rescue that was found in a box in our neighborhood, and we have no idea what she’s mixed up of. In fact, at her first vet visit, he told us that she was most likely part chihuahua and wouldn’t get to be more than 15 lb. Well she definitely surpassed that and finally stopped growing once she hit 60 pounds!
It could be that your pup has had an injury or infection in the past which caused them to lose some muscle tone in one of their ears, resulting in it standing up. It could also have something to do with how much sleep they get on a regular basis; lack of rest can cause their muscles to weaken and result in one ear not standing at attention anymore.
Or perhaps your pup just got used to sleeping with its head tilted to one side more often than the other, which can cause an uneven strength between the two ears. Whatever the case may be, let’s explore these potential explanations further!
Anatomy Of Dog Ears
Dog ears come in many shapes and sizes. Some are floppy and some are erect. Erect ears, also known as upright or perky ears, generally stand up straight and pointy. This is due to a particular structure of the ear cartilage, which allows the ear to stay upright. The cartilage is usually thicker at the base of the ear, which gives it support to stand up in an erect position.
The shape of a dog’s ear is determined by genetics and can vary greatly from breed to breed. Breeds that were bred for hunting tend to have erect ears while herding breeds often have floppy ears.
Different types of dogs will have different ear shapes and sizes based on their anatomy and genetics, but all dogs can benefit from having their ears checked regularly by a veterinarian or groomer to ensure they are healthy and free from infection or injury.
Causes Of One Upright Ear
There are a few reasons why one of your dog’s ears may stick up. Some dog breeds have naturally upright ears, and these usually become more pronounced as they get older, but one may just be weaker than the other.
In some cases, one ear might be stuck in an upright position from birth.
In Roxy’s case, we think it may have been because of the cone of shame we used on her after she was spayed. It was a soft cone so she could be more comfortable and sleep better, but once we took it off, she had triangle ears! It was seriously so cute and didn’t cause her any issues.
Eventually, one ear flopped back down, while the other has stayed up to this day, 9 years later!
Genetics And Heredity
Moving on from the causes of upright ears, genetics and heredity can play a role in why one of a dog’s ears may stick up. In breeds like German Shepherds, it is normal for their puppy ears to remain standing up even as they mature.
Some dogs who come from breeds with traditionally floppy ears may still have one or both ears standing up due to genetics. This could be due to varying degrees of ear cartilage strength or a combination of genes passed down from both parents.
It’s important for owners to take note if one of the dog’s ears has stood up and does not seem to be getting any floppier over time. If this is the case, it can be helpful to ask your dog’s vet in order to better understand why it may be happening and what needs to be done in order for the dog to stay healthy and happy.
The shape of a dog’s ears can depend on a variety of environmental factors. One of the most common reasons why a dog’s ears may not lay flat is due to the teething process.
Puppies will often experience discomfort as their adult teeth start to come in, and this can cause their ears to stand upright. Dogs with longer or thicker ear flaps are more likely to have trouble with long-term ear development and can end up having one ear that sticks up.
No matter what causes a dog’s ears to stand upright, owners should pay attention to their pet’s overall health and wellbeing. If an animal appears uncomfortable or if there are signs of infection, it is best to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Ear Cartilage Development
The development of a dog’s ear cartilage is a key factor in determining why one of the ears may stick up. The presence of hematomas, or collections of blood vessels, at the base of the ear can cause it to become pulled back.
As the puppy grows, this cartilage often loses its elasticity and causes the ear to remain upright. An injury or infection can also lead to an ear being stuck in an upright position.
No matter what causes a dog’s ears to stick up, regular checkups with your vet can help ensure that any underlying issues are addressed quickly and appropriately. It’s also beneficial to keep an eye on your pet’s ears throughout their life; if any changes occur, contact your vet right away for evaluation and potential treatment options.
How To Care For Upright Ears
To keep the ears healthy, it’s essential to maintain a balanced, healthy diet. Provide plenty of chew toys when they’re teething, which can impact the shape of their ears.
Regularly check your pup’s ears for any signs of wax buildup or strange odors. If you notice either of these issues, it may be time to bring them in for a vet visit. If you keep up with regular cleanings and grooming visits, your pup should have no problem keeping their upright ears in tip-top shape.
Recognizing The Signs Of An Issue
Dog owners should be aware of changes in their pet’s ears that may signal a health condition. Floppy ears sticking up at different times could signal an underlying issue. Monitor these changes and seek veterinary help if needed.
When examining a dog’s ear canal, look for any signs of irritation or inflammation. In some cases, this may be due to an infection or mites. Additionally, the presence of wax, dirt or other debris indicates that the ears need to be cleaned more often. Dog owners should also pay attention to any strange smells coming from their pet’s ears.
Inspecting the ears on a regular basis can help dog owners identify any potential issues before they become more serious. If there is any redness, swelling, discharge, or pain associated with the ear, take them to a vet right away. Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly will also help prevent any potential issues from arising and keep their hearing in top shape.
Sign up for our list and get a FREE printable pet identification sheet! It’s super helpful for pet sitters or if your dog wanders away for home!
When To Contact A Vet
It’s not uncommon for one of a dog’s ears to stick up. However, if the ear canal is red, swollen or has discharge coming from it, this is also a cause for concern and requires immediate veterinary care. Similarly, if your pup is shaking its head more than usual or scratching its ears excessively, then these could be signs of an ear infection and will require medical treatment.
It can be difficult to tell whether your dog’s ear problems are simply due to genetics or something more serious. If you notice any symptoms of an ear infection or anything else out of the ordinary with your puppy’s ears, contact your vet right away for an evaluation and appropriate treatment plan.
To sum it up, determining why one of your dogs ears is standing up can be a tricky process. It could be due to genetics, environmental factors, or a medical issue. If you are concerned about why your dog’s ear is sticking up, the best thing to do is contact your vet so they can take a look.
Overall, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on both of your pup’s ears. Paying attention to any changes that occur and taking action when necessary can help ensure they stay healthy and happy!