German shepherd puppies are born with floppy ears, their cartilage is not strong enough to hold their large ears. You might think that your puppy has taken too long to have erect ears but what is the recommendable age?
In many cases, German shepherds’ ears stand up at around 16 to 24 weeks. Some puppies have theirs stand earlier although they become floppy again when teething. In rare cases, some puppies’ ears remain floppy for the rest of their lives.
Let’s discuss the possible reasons why your puppy ears are not standing and how to encourage their standing.
Possible Reasons Why Your Puppy’s Ears Are Floppy
Most ears stand after the teething process is over. Teething requires a lot of calcium and the same for ear standing, the amount of calcium in puppies cannot support teething and ear standing at the same time.
Some breeders may use unscrupulous practices in their breeding, and this can lead to a German shepherd that does not meet the standards of upright ears. You should observe the parents of the puppy you intend to buy first. If they are floppy, your puppy will most likely have them.
Trauma to the Ears
When your puppy is at the stage of standing his ears and another dog bites them while playing, they can get injured. If your children keep on playing with his ears, they might not grow in the right shape.
Parasites can mess up your puppy’s growth. They can make the skin as well as the ears itchy, this will make your dog keep on scratching them. The ears will get deformed in the process.
If you feed your puppy with low-quality food, an imbalanced diet, or food that’s not fit for his age, he will have difficulty in the development of ears.
Lack of proper cleaning
A puppy’s ears should be cleaned twice a week. You should use ear drops but not water. If you use water, it can cause discomfort or ear diseases.
Dirt in the ears can make him scratch his ears as a way of cleaning them.
Can the ear standing process take longer?
Ear standing processes vary from one puppy to the other even if they are from the same litter. Factors such as health and nutrition will determine the duration.
How to make my puppy’s ears stand?
Give your puppy the right chew toys, not the hard ones. They will help to excise his jaw and cheek muscles which are important in the development of perky ears.
Give your puppy a balanced diet and high-quality food. You should get recommendations from your vet on the best food for your puppy depending on his health.
Even though your puppy requires a lot of calcium it is not advisable to give him calcium supplements. This is because it has adverse effects on his health in the future. It can result in issues such as;
- Bone spurs
- Joint problems
You can give him a natural diet like cottage cheese and yogurt. Glucosamine can also help but with a prescription from a vet.
Encourage Regular use of Ear Muscle
You might have noted that though your puppy’s ears are floppy, he tries to make them stand whenever he hears a new sound. You should make more different sounds a lot, this will make him try to make his ears more. If you continue encouraging him to do so many times, his ears will stand in the shortest time possible.
Prevent ear damage
Clean the ears regularly with ear drops or a wet cotton ball. Don’t stick anything inside his ear canal.
If you have kids, train them not to play with his ears.
Supervise your puppy while playing with other dogs, though they nip each other’s ears as a way of having fun, it can lead to damage.
You should not massage your puppy’s ears as a way of helping them to stand, this is because their cartilages are weak and can be damaged.
If your dog has gone through the teething process and his ears are yet to stand, you can try the tapping method. This method is painless though it causes irritation and discomfort to puppies.
This method is a trial; it can work or fail.
Surgery can be done if your puppy’s ears have failed to stand completely. Implants are added to make them stand. Vets do not recommend this method. Dogs that undergo ear surgeries are mostly the show breed. If there is a problem that happened during the process and the implants have to be removed, the result will be worse than floppy ears.
The duration that puppies take to have their ears stand varies from one puppy to the other. Before you conclude that your puppy’s ears will not stand make sure you have given him the right diet and he is in good health. Unless the reason you want a dog is for the show, spare him the stress of forcing his ears to stand. Perky or floppy ears do not affect the normal life of your puppy.