Do Golden Retrievers Need Ear Plucking? When, How, and How Often


Grooming your golden retriever is about a lot more than just giving them baths and brushing their hair. This can include brushing their teeth, cleaning their paws, and yes, and cleaning their ears.

So, Do Golden Retrievers need ear plucking? No, Golden Retrievers that have healthy ears and have not had their ears plucked before don’t need routine ear plucking. However, golden retrievers that have regular ear infections need routine ear plucking at least once every 6 weeks to help with the airflow and prevent infections.

Ear plucking prevents ear infections by trapping moisture and debris and preventing proper airflow from getting inside.

Goldens love playing in the water, they love jumping in the mud, and they love getting wet whenever they could.

But that means they can often get water in their ears, and the built-up moisture can lead to ear infections when there’s too much hair blocking the airflow and speeding up the process of growing bacteria.

The process can seem tricky but don’t worry, we got your back on this! Keep reading to find more about why you need to ear pluck your Golden Retriever and how to do it safely.

What is Ear Plucking? 

vet looking into golden retriever ears to illustrate when do golden retrievers need ear plucking and how often

If you are a new dog owner, you may be even wondering what even is ear plucking for dogs and why it’s done.

Ear plucking is the process of carefully removing grown hair from the insides of your dog’s ears. It’s done by pulling overgrown hair with tweezers or scissors or get it cut by a professional groomer. The purpose is to avoid blocking the canal and keep it dry to prevent ear infections.

Dogs may need ear plucking as we do. The reason is to keep the inner ears healthy and dry. The hair growing in the ears has the basic function of preventing any unwanted objects from getting inside the ear canal, causing further complications.

However, sometimes this function can be hindered by excessive hair growing inside the ear, blocking the canal, and the flow of air that keeps the ear canal dry.

It can trap dirt, excess ear wax, and debris inside. When dirt and debris are trapped inside the dog’s ear, it makes it more difficult for the dog’s immune system to keep levels of yeast and bacteria at their proper levels.

Do Golden Retrievers Need Ear Plucking? 

Yes, Golden Retrievers that have recurring ear infections will need ear plucking to remove overgrown hair from around their ear canal to help the air circulate properly. However, Golden Retrievers that don’t have recurring infections don’t need ear plucking and it can do them more harm than good.

Ear plucking has always been a controversial topics even amongst vets. A Dog’s hair can grow inside their ears leading to various problems like blocking the flow of air that keeps the ear canal dry and can trap wax, dirt, and debris inside.  

But plucking it routinely can also introduce irritation and even bacteria that could lead to infections. The other downside is that once you start plucking your dog’s ear hair, you have to keep doing it for the rest of their lives.

Currently, most vets choose to not start plucking a dog’s ear hair unless the dog suffers from recurring ear infections. But if the dog’s ears are normally healthy, they stick to the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Here is an explanation by one vet:

Taking care of your Golden Retrievers’ ears should be a part of their regular grooming.

You shouldn’t start plucking their ear hair without cause, but you should also clean their ears regularly and check for infections or overgrown hair.

You can learn in detail how to clean your golden retriever’s ears here. It’s a step-by-step guide with video, so make sure to check it out when you have a minute.

How to Pluck the hair in your golden retriever’s ears right

First, you need to get your tools right, to guarantee a painless, safe ear plucking experience for your Golden Retriever:

Getting the right tools is half the job, now you need to know how to do the process in the right way.

Here are the steps of ear plucking your Golden Retriever:

  1. Tilt the dog’s head and sprinkle some powder over the ear hair.
  2. Use your fingers to grip a small amount of hair at a time and give it a quick pluck.
  3. When you’re done, use specialized ear wipes or clean with the ear cleaning solution.

The technique is easy and simple, and most importantly, it doesn’t cause your Golden Retriever any pain when done right. 

You don’t have to worry about how they move during the process. The powder you’re using should help you take hold of the ear hair and if it still slips out of your fingers, add a little more if until you can take hold of the hair properly. 

If your dog keeps moving during the process, that doesn’t mean they’re hurt or uncomfortable. Try to keep them stable and reward them with treats, you may want to give them a little break before plucking the other ear.

As a matter of fact, the scissors don’t hurt your dog’s ears. Some dogs enjoy getting their ear plucked! Just make sure to use the after cleanser, the gentle soothing ingredients in it prevent skin irritation.

Following the previous steps, you needn’t worry about your dog’s ears, they’re now clean, dry, and healthy.

How often to pluck the hair on your golden retriever’s ears? 

You should pluck the hair on your Golden Retriever’s ears at least every 6 weeks or whenever they have overgrown ear hair that could be causing problems. Check your dog’s ears at least once weekly for infections and overgrown hair.

It’s preferable to include ear plucking and cleaning – assuming they need it – in the regular grooming routine, which can take place every 4-to-6 weeks.

Your vet can also do it and they are best positioned to tell you if your dog even needs their ears plucked or not.

Overplucking – What is it and how to avoid it 

Overplucking is simply removing too much hair from the dog’s ears. Ear hair is mainly there to prevent debris from getting into the ear canal causing infection to your dog. It’s advised to only remove the hair blocking the ear canal to allow proper air circulation.

Not all ear hair needs to be removed, its main function is to protect the inner parts of the ear, so removing too much hair will higher the risk of unwanted things getting into the dog’s ears.

To avoid overplucking, make sure you only remove the overgrown hair blocking the canal or caught up in earwax. Keeping the rest of the hair is important to keep insects, dirt, wax, or other debris from getting inside the canal and causing harm to the dog’s ears.

As you got everything you need to know, we hope that you’re now more confident about your choice of ear plucking your Golden Retriever. Share this article or pin it to your Pinterest to easily get back to it when necessary!

Related Questions 

Should I pluck my dog’s ear hair? 

To pluck your dog’s ear hair or not depends on whether your dog grows excessive hair in their ears or not. if their ear hair is not blocking the canal and allowing you to detect any abnormal thing, it’s not necessary to pluck it.

How often Should I pluck my dog’s ears? 

You should pluck your dog’s ears every 6 weeks, or whenever the hair is blocking the canal and causing infections. It’s better to keep it within dogs’ grooming routine and regularly check dogs’ ears for any irregular signs.

Helpful Resources 

Plucking Dog Ear Hair Guide

Should you pluck your dog’s ears?

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