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Maltipoo Ears

All Aspects of Maltipoo Ears

In this section we are going to talk all about Maltipoo ears. 

There are 3 main elements that we will discuss:

1) Shape and size - Most importantly, we will talk about erect vs drop ears, since so many readers ask questions about this and what shaped ear a Maltipoo should have.

2) Cleaning and Upkeep of the Ears - This is a an important, but often overlooked, element of grooming

3) Ear Infections - This is a common problem with Maltipoos. While it can happen to any dog at any time, the ear shape and thickness can contribute to this, as well as a lack of timey ear cleanings.

Shape, Size and Issue of Erect VS Dropped

To know what shape and size Maltipoo ears should be, we must look to the Toy Poodle and the Maltese. Poodles have thicker, longer leathers but both have drop ears that hang close to the sides of the head. Both are set low - this means that the base is not located high atop the head, but rather down to the sides. 

In addition, both have long hairs that grow in what is described as feathered appearance (hairs will be of varying length). Once their dog is an adult, many owners choose to keep the ears trimmed to offer a nice, neat appearance.

A Maltipoo, having genes from both breeds, may lean toward either, and therefore some Maltipoo dogs will have smaller, thinner ears than others. 

The expected length of ears on a Maltipoo will be anywhere from the cheekbone to the chin. Long hairs hanging down can often make the ears appear a bit longer than they actually are.
Maltipoo ears
Photo courtesy of Sarah
Dropped VS Erect - Both Poodle and Maltese have drop ears and therefore so do Maltipoo dogs. Questions can arise when a puppy appears to have erect ears. This is actually quite common (although they are not really fully erect) and this is because Maltese puppies often have curled, folded ears; as the pup matures, the ears drop down into place. The first 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the base will be erect and then the ear will fold over and fall against the side of the face. 

Therefore, Maltipoo puppies, that have ears influenced by the Maltipoo genes, may have small, curled over ears. In time, they will fold over and drop down. They should not ever be fully erect, however - if a Maltipoo has full, erect stand-up ears this points to poor breeding practices and the dog may not be a true Maltipoo.

Dogs that have drop ears are more prone to ear infection since the ear flap keeps both warmth and moisture trapped in the ear canal. Cleaning your Maltipoo's ears will be an important step in grooming and will help to prevent infection. This should be a routine part of care. This will include plucking the long hairs that can grow inside of the ear canal and it will include cleaning any excess wax buildup.

You will be giving your Maltipoo a bath just about every 3 weeks and it is recommended to perform ear cleaning at that time as well. Sticking with a regular schedule to maintain ear cleaning will help keep long, thick hairs at bay and keep wax to a minimum. If the ears are not taken care of in this way, bacteria can grow which leads to infection. 
An owner should first understand about their Maltipoo’s ears. There are 3 main sections of the ear:

1. The pinna. This is the “ear flap” which is the outside part of the ear that you see and also includes the ear canal.

2. The middle ear. In this part of the dog’s ear is what is called the tympanic membrane, the auditory canal (which connects the nose and throat just as with humans) and the tympanic cavity.
Maltipoo ears flat
Rosie, 4 years old
3. The internal ear. In this part are elements which allow the dog to have equilibrium (a sense of balance, no dizziness, etc) and for hearing.  

Know that the ear canal itself goes all the way from the opening that you see in the external ear all the way down to the tympanic membrane in the middle part of the ear.
Looking and Noticing

Have a look at the inside of each of your Maltipoo’s ears, each time that you bath your dog (just about every 3 weeks) First look at the color of skin that is inside the ear and on the flaps. It should be pink. If you see red, black, brown, or pink skin with dots or spots of these colors, this can mean that there is a medical issue and your Maltipoo should be brought to the veterinarian.

Now, it is time to take notice of any odors. A bad odor is one of the first signs of infection. If you notice any bad or strange smells, it is time for a vet visit ASAP.

The last element that you want to inspect is the amount of wax that you can visibly see with your eyes. A small amount of wax is normal and is needed. It helps to keep dust, dirt and other elements out of your Maltipoo’s ears. However, excess wax will need to be cleaned out.
Maltipoo dogs
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How to Clean Your Maltipoo's Ears

Long hairs can quickly grow and this is why it is important to do this grooming on a routine basis. You will want to remove these hairs. 

Hold onto the ear flap and bring it backwards against your Maltipoo’s head. Now, you have 2 choices when it comes to plucking out excess long hairs: You can use your fingers (along with ear powder) or a very fine point forcep tool. Do be extremely careful if you choose to use the forcep tool (similar to a tweezers) because if you put it too far down or if your Maltipoo suddenly moves, it can cause injury.

It is easier to grasp onto a hair if you use some ear powder. Do not use a lot. Just a bit will do. You will find it helpful to put the ear powder in a small bowl and just dip your fingers into the powder as opposed to trying to sprinkle the powder into the ear.

Pluck out just a few hairs at a time. Do this quickly (like ripping a bandaid off, it is best to pull with confidence and quickly)

Once you are satisfied with the removal of excess, long hairs in the ears use a cotton ball or a small piece of gauze with canine ear lotion applied to it, to clean away any debris, dirt or other. Alternatively, you can use a bit of mineral oil or even just a bit of rubbing alcohol. Just carefully wipe around your Maltipoo’s ear flap and only into the opening as far as your eyes can see… do not force anything further into the ear canal, never try to go deeply.
What to Do if There is a Lot of Wax

If you notice a lot of excess wax buildup in your Maltipoo’s ears, if you are wiping with the cotton ball and see that it picked up a lot of wax …you may wish to flush the ear yourself if you do not wish to have a groomer or veterinarian do so.

When doing this, you will be using the canine ear lotion and you will be holding the ear differently than when you were cleaning it as stated above. You will want to hold onto the cartilage at the base of your Maltipoo’s ear and gently bring it out and away from their head. By doing this, any solution that you put inside will slide down the ear canal and make for a good cleaning. Use 4-5 drops of ear lotion, mineral oil.

Then, lower the earflap and gently hold your Maltipoo’s head so that he or she does not shake it back and forth. Use one hand to very gently massage the base of the ear. Doing this will distribute the lotion or oil and help to dislodge that excess wax. Once you are done massaging, let go of your Maltipoo’s head…and you will see that they will immediately shake back and forth, this is expected and is fine.

The excess wax will now be brought up toward the ear’s entrance so that you can wipe it out with a cotton ball or small piece of gauze.

***  If you are not sure which solution to use or which tools to use, you may wish to look at our recommendations in the Maltipoo Specialty Shoppe.

Maltipoo ear infections can be triggered by several different elements. Ears that remain wet after bathing or swimming can serve as a host for bacteria. An excess of wax build up may plug the ear and cause infection, foreign objects caught inside of the dog's ear, untreated ear mites or cleaning too deeply can all be causes.

Symptoms-  Signs of a serious ear infection are:

• A very bad smell coming from the ear/s
• A discharge
• Your dog is constantly trying to scratch his/her ears, or rubbing against objects to find relief
• Touching the ear causes your Maltipoo to react with signs of pain, such as yelping.
• When an ear infection is left untreated, it can cause the dog to become dizzy, unbalanced and even vomit
Maltipoo short ears
Buddy, 3 years old
Photo courtesy of Gerald Frederick
Treatment - Most infections will need to be treated with a combination of antibiotics and a professional cleaning. It is important to bring your Maltipoo to the veterinarian if you suspect an ear infection, since it must be treated with prescribed medication and additionally, there may be other issues as well such as a diagnosis of mites or torn tissue.

Most infections clear up in a week or so, if medication is given properly and ears are kept clean.

Reoccurring Ear Infections - Some dogs have chronic ear problems that keep coming back as soon as the medication is gone and with some dogs, medication never fully fixes the infection. At this point, more testing must be done to find the cause of the reoccurring issue.
It is important to have a veterinarian look into this further since a lot of ear infections can cause scarring inside the dog's ear and lead to even more serious health concerns. As long as a dog keeps getting hit by infections, scarring will increase and lead to even bigger health issues. Several steps should be performed:
1. A sample of the ear discharge should be examined to identify the exact type of bacteria or virus.
2. Owners must regularly perform ear washings at home
3. Testing may show that the infections are being caused by allergies. This is the #1 reason for reoccurring infections. Once the cause of the allergy is determined ...prognosis is good.
Pseudomonas Canine Ear Infections - Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a very strong bacteria and it is resistant to most antibiotic medication. 
This can develop when a dog with reoccurring infections is given many different types of antibiotics, and most of the bacteria are killed but not all. What lingers is a strain that is very strong and resistant.

When the culture of the dog’s ear discharge is done, this will show if it is indeed Pseudomonas. This will also show if this strain can be eliminated by the very strong antibiotics of Enrofloxacin or Orbifloxacin. A topical treatment will be given as well to use at home.

Last Resort - If the cause of the reoccurring infections cannot be determined and medication is not working at all, the final step that may be taken is surgery. A specialist will surgically open the vertical canal. The ear is then easily and completely cleaned out and treated. This is done to prevent any more scarring, since scarring can become so great that the canal becomes almost closed.
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