This is a purely cosmetic surgery and does NOT need to be done to have a healthy happy dog. As always, there is a risk to any surgery so please keep that in mind when you make your decision about ear cropping. I wrote this post for those who would like to have the procedure done and want to ensure that they are taking every proper step to minimize any unfortunate situations that may occur due to inadequate knowledge/care.
First things first: Research! Research! Research! Then locate a certified veterinarian who specializes in DOBERMAN ear cropping (not every vet will do this surgery so call and check first and even if they do the surgery be sure to read reviews). Not doing so can result in improperly/crudely cropped ears, infections, ears that won’t stand and not to mention a lot of pain for your pup. This process also requires a LOT of work and time so don’t do it if you can’t commit to the schedule!
Try to contact at least 3 reputable veterinarians that are able to perform this type of surgery to give yourself an idea of the price range and what types of services are included. Ask your veterinarian as many questions as possible including their success rate, years of practice, and even for references. Ask to see before and after pictures of past ear crops and take a look around the facility where the surgery will take place. The vet should be able to answer all your questions and be very eager to talk about the process. If the vet is at all dodgy or unwilling to address your concerns or questions find someone else immediately. You don’t want to risk your dog’s life or have its ears permanently disfigured.
The optimal age for ear cropping would be between 7-10 weeks. No ear cropping should be done after 16 weeks of age and even then that would be pushing it because the cartilage in the ear will have already set enough that it would be questionable to do it. Any vet who tells you otherwise is probably not the vet you should be seeing.
There are 3 types of ear crop styles (a good vet will consider the size and shape of the dog’s head when discussing crops if you’re mostly concerned with the appearance rather than the utility for the show ring or for working dog purposes)
Three Types of Ear Crop Styles
- Show Crop
- This is the longest crop meant for the show ring. This is the most difficult to make stand perfectly. However, in my opinion it is the most beautiful.
- Medium Crop (Lady has this one)
- This is in between the Show and Military/Working crop in terms of length.
- Military/Working Crop
- This is the shortest and features a more triangular shape. It is also the easiest to train to stand.
Here are some pictures of the different types of ear crop styles
Process for Ear Cropping Your Dog
- Choose a Reputable Veterinarian
- Evaluation by vet to see if the dog is a good candidate for surgery
- Current age and health reviewed
- Von Willebrand’s Disease Test is administered
- This test shows whether a bleeding disorder is present. Von Willebrand’s disease in dogs is essentially like hemophilia in humans. If the dog has this disorder and goes through with surgery, it can bleed to death. Doberman Pinschers are one of the breeds prone to this disease so it is very important that this is cleared before any surgical procedure.
- The dog is put to sleep (the snoozing kind of course)
- The part where you have to wait for 2-3 hours. The most nerve-wracking moment ever.
- Take your pup home and comfort your little loved one. All the anesthesia will have made your dog very confused and very afraid due to the confusion. This is where I was told to go home and hug my dog and sleep next to it. So yes, I slept on the floor and hugged Lady who spent the better part of the day crying because she was scared out of her mind while all the drugs were wearing off. When I took her to go to the bathroom on the lawn, she refused to go and didn’t want to be anywhere near the dewy grass because the wet and cold sensation was too much for her while she was still under the influence. To add insult to injury, she had to wear a cone around her head to prevent her from scratching the postings off.
- There will be a pain patch stapled to your puppy’s shoulder/back upon discharge. You’ll also be sent home with some pain medication for the next few days to ensure your puppy is in the least pain possible. Lady didn’t seemed too bothered about anything after the first day.
- Ear Postings
- After surgery, my vet had me come back every 1-3 days to have the bandages removed, examined and re-taped. Just don’t be surprised when the tape comes off because they look pretty strange like shriveled bat wings and take some getting used to. They’ll look nothing like the end result so don’t worry. Some days the tape was removed and I was instructed to exercise and train the ears at home by squeaking a toy to get the ear muscles strong and used to pricking up. After this “resting” period for the ears I would return the next day to have them re-wrapped for another two days. I repeated this process for two months. It is crucial not to miss taping or unwrapping appointments as this can really affect the success rate of the ears standing perfectly.
- It’s encouraged that the dog get optimal nutrition in order to speed the healing process. I was advised to substitute part of her main diet with canned food that had extra nutrients.
Lady right after ear crop surgery with taped ears and a cone
Lady with her ears cropped
Hope this was informative!
Melissa, Mark, and Ladybaby
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