There’s a topic going around everywhere on social media right now; ear cropping. Why do people crop their dogs ears? To most, it’s inhumane and they can’t fathom why anyone would want to do this. I get it, I used to think this way. Before having Atlas, I was as against ear cropping as everyone else. That is, until I bought my Pocket Bully. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still on the fence. I’m not against it, and I’m not opposed to it either.
Ear cropping used to be common place for Bulldogs long ago. Back in their fighting days, their ears were prone to injury. Today, many hunters crop their dogs ears to prevent injury while in the woods. Long, floppy ears tend to snag on trees while they’re running for the hunters catch. However, I’ve seen a lot of people claim that unless you have a hunting dog, you shouldn’t crop. But it’s not always about hunting, and it’s also not about fighting.
See, Bullies are a different breed of dog. Many think they know how they’re different, but they may not know exactly why. However, the Bulldog breeds have a different ear canal than other dogs. Because of this anatomical difference, ear cropping has become almost a necessity for some.
The Bulldog Ear.
The ears on our Bulldogs differ from other dogs because of the shape of their heads. See, Bullies often have wide, flat heads and this changes the shape of the inner ear. The canal is small and narrow. This makes it so the ear can’t really clean itself like it does on other breeds of dogs. The wax will build up and this eventually leads to an infection.
Many of the bulldog breeds have this wide shaped head. The American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Bulldog and the American Bullies. It’s no wonder that their ears are often full of gunk that we have to clean out often. What happens when you have an environment that is full of stuff? This creates the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria to thrive. The warm, moist environment that’s common in Bullies ears.
In many of the Bully breeds today, vets see them on a constant basis because of ear infections. Atlas is no different.
The Infections That Occur.
Atlas is my baby, anyone that’s read any of my articles can attest to this. However, Atlas has been to the vet several times with a recurring yeast infection in her ears. Through no fault of hers or ours as her humans, she just gets them. Her ears are always super warm to the touch. The small canal in her ears can’t self clean. Combine all that and you get the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.
This bacteria can lead to yeast infections and inner ear infections. If left untreated, this can cause damage to the ear itself and lead to inner ear disease.
Any infection in the Bullies ear is very painful. Often, it starts with just the constant shaking of the head. Soon after, the scratching. Once the redness and swelling sets in, that’s when they’re really in pain and need medications. Most everyone with any Bulldog breed has had to bring their dog to the vet for their ears. It just happens, no matter the steps we take to keep them clean and dry.
Two Ways To Cure This.
Because of the Bulldog’s anatomical makeup, there are really only two ways to cure their recurring infections. One way, which many people are against, is ear cropping. Ear cropping actually serves a purpose for most Bully Breeds. Don’t get me wrong, I was against it for most of my life. Why change the look of the dog just because we can. Well, it’s not all for looks. It’s really about the ear problems they face as they get older.
The other method is worse and used once the inner ear disease has spread. TECA or Total Ear Canal Ablation with Lateral Bulla Osteotomy. Basically, a bunch of the inner ear is removed. Generally, this surgery is only performed by a specialist and it comes with a very hefty price. Again, this is for the dogs that have an ear infection that was left untreated and the disease has spread already.
With that said, it makes me think about the cropping even more with some Bully Breeds.
Ear cropping isn’t all bad.
After doing my research, and having a Bully breed, now I know why many perform ear cropping. See, I have a lot of Facebook groups I belong to. Lots of acquaintances that have every Bully Breed. I try to keep up with the world of Bullies simply because I love them so much. Plus, I love writing about them! Here’s a short story.
I know a gal who has a Pocket Bully. Her Bully was in the vet’s office every week with an ear infection. His ears were itchy, swollen, red, even bleeding because he was scratching so much. She dealt with his infections most of his adult life. I’m not sure on his exact age, but he’s an adult. I saw that she was going to crop his ears one day on FB. I thought, “You can do that to an adult dog?” Yes, if it’s done right.
There is a right way and a wrong way. The right way is having a professional do it that’s been doing it a long time and actually cares about the dogs. It’s fast and efficient and the stitching is done so that they heal very quickly. Bad cuts are prone to infection and pain to the dog. They’re going to experience pain, don’t get me wrong. But it’s like circumcising our sons. Why cut the penis tip?
After The Cropping.
Once the cropping is done, the dog (if it’s done right) should be fine within a couple of hours. Hers was. He was up and playing within just a couple of hours.
Months later now, her dog hasn’t been to the vet since the cropping. Now, remember, she was there every single week. Every week, her dog was in pain and discomfort from an ear infection. With one simple procedure that everyone is against, he’s fine now, and hasn’t been back to the doc since.
Now, let me ask you, if you were at the doctor’s office for a pain that was weekly and recurring and the doctor says that with this one procedure, you would be cured from having to see me and no more pain. It will be quick, lasts less than one hour and you can go on your way. Would you choose that procedure? We do it to boys when they’re born. Cut a piece off to prevent infections the rest of their life. We get our daughters ears pierced when they’re young, so they don’t remember.
It’s the same.
And, as an adult, I got my ears pierced again. It was sharp, painful, but fast. Though, it wasn’t done right and led to a very nasty infection that was much more painful than the piercing itself. So, I know infections. I also know to see a professional versus just a jewelry store next time.
But as humans, we do this to our babies. Why is it different with dogs? If it serves a purpose that can help them?
Final Words on Ear Cropping.
Hopefully, you now know why many Bully breed owners crop their dogs ears. Don’t get me wrong, not all Bully breed owners do this for the infection part of it. I’m not saying that that’s the only reason. Some do it because they do like how it looks. Others do it because they hate watching their babies suffer week after week.
The point is, is there’s a reason many of them do this. In asking my vet about it, she said that it would help alleviate the yeast infections for Atlas. I haven’t chosen to do this to Atlas at this time because I tend to clean her ears every week and keep a close eye on infections. I also keep extra medications on hand for when they come back. But, if she was as bad as my FB friends dog, then yes, I would crop her ears. In a heartbeat.
Sometimes, before we assume we know the faults that lie with peoples’ decisions, we should first ask why that decision? I know, for me personally, I ask questions. I want to know the why. If more of us did this, then we would be more educated in all endeavors of life.
What about you? Do you have a Bully? Did you crop their ears? Why did you do it? For looks, or for health?