Have you got a german shepherd with floppy ears? If so, all of your questions are going to be answered in this article!
Some of the topics that will be covered include when a german shepherd’s ears should stand up, reasons preventing them from standing up, how to fix ears that don’t stand up and most importantly, whether it matters or not.
So keep reading to find out!
When Do A German Shepherds Ears Stand Up?
Normally a german shepherd’s ears should stand up at the 5 months (20-week mark). It normally coincides with when they stop or shortly after they stop teething.
Can This Process Take Longer?
However, remember all german shepherds are different. Sometimes it can be up to 8 months before your german shepherd’s ears stand up.
Also, don’t worry if their litter’s ears are standing up before your own pups! Every pup in the litter is going to be different and they’re also developing at different rates. So just because your german shepherd doesn’t have straight ears at 5 months, doesn’t mean they never will!
Baring that in mind, it is important to know that sometimes a german shepherd’s ears will never stand up naturally on their own.
A poll on Pet Helpful showed that 1 in 5 german shepherds always had floppy ears (according to their owners.)
Does It Matter If Your German Shepherds Ears Never Stand Up?
It absolutely does not matter whether your german shepherd’s ears stand up or not. While there are times when floppy ears indicate small issues with your german shepherd, in 99% of cases they’re nothing to worry about.
However, if you do notice that your german shepherd’s ears aren’t standing up, it’s always best to take them to the vets.
Why Does It Take So Long For Your German Shepherds Ears To Stand Up?
The reason your german shepherd’s ears take so long to stand up is that the cartilage is still growing. When they’re puppies it’s not that strong, but as they get older, it becomes strong enough to support the weight of their ears.
Often times, it’s not going to be a sudden change but a gradual process. Their ears will stand up when they hear a noise or in response to something before falling down. But the more this happens, the more likely it is they’ll end up standing up on their own.
If you see their ears doing this during the first five months, then it’s normally a good sign that they’ll stick up throughout adulthood.
Is There Any Way To Know For Sure If Your German Shepherds Ears Will Stick Up?
Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way you can know if your german shepherd’s ears will stick up. Only time is going to tell.
But generally speaking, if your german shepherd does show signs of pricking their ears up on occasion, then the chances are they’re going to have straight ears.
If you never notice them moving their ears, or their ears standing up, then you should take them to the vets.
“Why Does My German Shepherd Have Floppy Ears?”
One common question many people end up asking is “why does my german shepherd have floppy ears?”
Well, there are a few reasons this can happen. Some of them are going to be in your control, and some of them aren’t. However, normally it’s the ones that aren’t in your control that are going to have the biggest impact.
Here are the most common reasons your german shepherd’s ears may never stand up.
One of the biggest determiners of whether or not your german shepherd is going to have ears that stick up or flop are genetics.
If your german shepherd’s genes mean they’re going to have floppy ears, unfortunately, there’s not a lot you’re going to be able to do.
As well as genetics, the breeder you buy them from will also determine how their ears will end up.
Breeders often breed german shepherds to have large ears as it makes them look good during shows. However, if their ears are too big, then they often become unable to hold themselves up, resulting in floppy ears.
If any sort of accidental damage has happened to the cartilage in your german shepherd’s ears then it often means their ears may never stand up.
And it’s surprising what can do this. For example, as cute as their ears look, you should never ruffle them or play with them before they’ve started to stand up properly on their own.
Doing this can often cause damage to the cartilage within the ear.
As well as accidental damage being caused by you, it could also happen when they’re playing with other puppies and their ears get nipped and tugged at.
Lastly, it can happen if your german shepherd sleeps with their ears wedged between their head and a hard surface.
When your pup is growing they need a lot of nutrition to make sure they’re growing properly. If they don’t have this nutrition then often the cartilage in their ears won’t be strong enough to hold their ears up.
Calcium and vitamin D are both extremely important for the growth and strength of the cartilage in your german shepherd’s ears, and if they don’t get enough of either, then it’s going to increase the chance of your german shepherd having floppy ears.
Not Cleaning Their Ears
Lastly, a build-up of dirt in their ears can also affect the growth of the cartilage and whether their ears will stick up or not.
If you’re not inspecting their ears and making sure they’re clean, then it can often result in floppy ears becoming a permanent feature.
Why Does My German Shepherd Have One Floppy Ear?
If your german shepherd has one floppy ear and they’re still a puppy, then it just means they’re growing at different rates.
This is extremely common and normal, and sometimes one ear will stand up constantly while the other ear, may flop and stand up depending on the stimulus around them.
However, if after 8 months one ear is down and one ear is up, then it’s a lot more likely that their ears will remain like tha.
How To Fix A German Shepherds Floppy Ears
If you notice early enough that your german shepherd has floppy ears, then you can often work to get them to stand up straight. (Once again, it is important to note that there’s nothing wrong with a german shepherd who has floppy ears. The only time you should worry is if it’s due to health problems.)
Here are some of the ways you can fix a german shepherd with floppy ears.
The Tape Method
One of the most common ways to fix a german shepherd with floppy ears is the tape method. It’s been used by hundreds of german shepherd owners in the past with great results, and it’s relatively easy to do!
Here are the steps you need to take for the tape method to be effective.
Find Foam Rollers, Tape, And Popsicle Sticks
The first thing you’re going to need to do is to find foam hair rollers, tape, and a popsicle stick. These are the only three tools you’ll need. If you can’t get your hand on foam rollers you can normally get them off Amazon.
And remember, when you’re using tape, you don’t want to use tape that’s too sticky, otherwise it will hurt your german shepherd when you want to remove it. Here’s a great tape to use.
Place The Foam Rollers Inside Your German Shepherds Ears
Now the next step is to place the foam rollers inside your german shepherd ears. When they’re in his ears wrap his ears around them and then tape them in place.
Just make sure there aren’t any creases or crinkles in their ears. When they’re straight and looking good, you can tape them.
When you’re placing foam rollers, they need to be in the ear enough to support cartilage growth, but you don’t want them to go down the ear canal. So when you’re placing the foam roller make sure it’s far enough down that the ears aren’t flopping over.
Place The Popsicles At The Top Of The Foam Rollers
Your next step is to place the popsicles at the top of the foam rollers. You should tape them horizontally across your german shepherds’ ears. This is going to make sure that the ears grow symmetrical.
Remove Once A Week
Once a week remove everything and check whether the ears are standing up on their own or not. If they don’t stay up on their own retape their ears. However, if they do stay up you don’t need to retape them anymore.
It’s also important to note that your german shepherd is going to try to remove the foam rollers, so you may need to reapply them multiple times.
When To Stop
If you get to the 9-month mark and your german shepherd’s ears still haven’t stood up on their own then it’s time to stop.
The chances are that they’re properly going to be floppy so there’s no point continuing with this method.
Is Taping Ears Bad For Your German Shepherd?
As long as your using the right tape and foam, then ear taping is completely harmless to your german shepherd. It may be annoying but, it’s not going to hurt them or cause them discomfort.
However, if you’re not confident about taping your german shepherd’s ears or you’re still not sure if it’s right for you, then always consult your vet.
Practice Click And Reward Training
This method is a little bit more passive but it’s also going to take up a bit more of your time as well. To be successful with this method you should start by purchasing a clicker off Amazon.
When you have the clicker keep it on you at all times. Pay special attention to circumstances where your german shepherd’s ears stand up. This could be when you’re about to give them food, they’re going on a walk, or they hear something that piques their interest.
Once they’re ears go up click the clicker. Afterward, give them lots of attention or a treat as a reward.
Now keep doing this every day, when their ears go up. You’ll have to spend some time specifically trying to get it to happen.
If you do it enough, then their ears will become a lot more used to standing up on their own, and they won’t go down.
Make Sure They’re Getting A Good Diet
If your german shepherd’s ears aren’t standing up on their own, sometimes it can be a sign that they aren’t getting enough nutrients in their diet.
It’s always best to consult a vet if you think this is the case. This way you can make sure that they’re definitely growing healthy and there aren’t any problems.
When you consult your vet, there will normally be a couple of different deficiencies that they are likely to find in your german shepherd.
Normally, they’ll be able to recommend you suitable food, or extra additives that will help their body grow the way it should.
(If your german shepherd’s ears don’t stick up, you should also look for other signs that they’re underweight as well.)
Give Them Lots Of Chew Toys When They’re Growing
When they’re still a puppy, make sure you’re giving them lots of chew toys. And it’s not just to help their ears stand up! Teething is going to be a natural part of your german shepherd’s early life, and they’re going to chew on a lot of things.
However, as well as teething, chew toys are great for helping your german shepherd’s ears stick up. When they chew, it’s going to help build the muscles in their jaws head and neck, all of which are beneficial.
Once again though, remember this is only going to help german shepherds up to about 8 months in age. After this, if their ears are still floppy there’s not a lot left to be done.
There’s one other method, and that’s ear implants. However, it is important to note that your german shepherd’s ears don’t need to stick up. So if you do plan on giving them ear implants you’re going to cause them unnecessary suffering.
If you still want to go ahead then you should consult a vet.
Now you know everything there is to know about a german shepherd with floppy ears! And the most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter if their ears stick up or not, they’ll be fine either way.
Here are a few more of the key points to remember.
- A german shepherd’s ears should perk up after 5 months, however, it can take up to 8 months before their ears stay up fully.
- Not all german shepherds ears will ever stand up, however, it’s perfectly normal if they don’t.
- There’s no surefire way for you to know if your german shepherd’s ears will stand up, however, if you do notice them sticking up before flopping down again, the chances are they will.
- There are a few reasons your german shepherd’s ears could be floppy including genetics, the breeding line, accidental damage, poor nutrition and if their ears haven’t been cleaned of grime.
- Your german shepherd’s ears develop separately, so sometimes one ear will be stronger than the other.
- If your german shepherd does have floppy ears you can use the tape method, click and reward training, improving their diet, and giving them lots to chew on.
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