It’s important to remember when talking about health and your dog’s body, natural development and vet approved ear intervention/modification are the best approaches.
However, when it comes to finding out why your German Shepherd’s ears are floppy, some people want to find out why, and what they can do about it.
Here is a list of 13 things you can look out for and take into consideration if your German Shepherd’s ears are floppy, and you want the ears to stand up.
German Shepherd Ears Are Floppy: 13 Solutions & Fixes
1. Look At The Parents
Since the first registered German Shepherd way back in the 1890’s, the standard for the breed has been that German Shepherds have ears that stand up.
If you are looking to buy or rescue/adopt a German Shepherd, looking to see if the parents both have ears that stand up is a way you might be able to determine how your GSD’s ears will turn out.
By looking at the parents and doing research on the breeder, you can get an idea of the genes your GSD might have that will effect ear development.
2. Look At The Puppy
Whether you are buying from a breeder, or picking your puppy up at a rescue or adoption centre, examining the ears (without hurting the dog), can give you an idea of how they might turn out.
The ears that might have the best logistical chance of standing up and not staying floppy might be:
- Smaller ears height and width wise (less weight for the cartilage to support)
- Thicker ears/ears with more depth (might suggest the ear cartilage is thicker)
- When you feel them, the cartilage feels harder compared to floppy or soft cartilage
3. Be Patient & Wait
German Shepherds will generally stop teething at around 6-7 months old.
In this time their body is developing naturally – including their ears.
It’s generally far too early in the first 4-5 months to try do anything to your German Shepherds ears if they are floppy.
So, be patient in this time, and go see a vet between about the 5-6 month period for their advice if your German Shepherd’s ears are still floppy.
4. Make Sure Your German Shepherd Puppy’s Diet Has The Right Nutrients
When you first get your puppy, a vet will be able to tell you the right foods to feed your GSD puppy to give them the right nutrients, and the right amount of nutrients to grow and mature naturally.
This development includes the ears and the muscles around the head that connect to the ears.
We have also written an article about German Shepherd puppy food which you can read more about – Best Dog Food For German Shepherd Puppy: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews.
5. Keep Your Puppy Healthy
Some sicknesses, illnesses and diseases can effect the way your puppy’s body takes in nutrients.
If your puppy isn’t taking in enough nutrients or the right nutrients, there is a chance their body isn’t developing the right way – which might effect things like ear cartilage growth and strength.
Regular vet visits and proper medication/preventative measures like worming for example can help.
6. Avoid Unnecessary Force On The Ears
Playing with the ears, pulling on them, or in general doing things to damage the cartilage can play a minor role in the way the ears develop when your dog is a puppy.
Avoid playing with your puppy’s ears too much, and watch out for other dogs and small children doing the same.
7. German Shepherd Ear Taping
Taping is a common practice employed by people looking help their German Shepherd’s ears stand.
It involves placing two uprights/guides into your GSD’s ears and taping them together to hold them steady – providing a prop for the ears to stay up.
You want to wait for the initial teething process to take place and to see a vet for advice before you tape your GSD’s ears (ideally get your vet to show you how to tape the ears without hurting your GSD – don’t poke the uprights too far into the ear, and dont harm the skin when applying the tape).
You can see the ear taping process step-by-step here.
8. German Shepherd Ear Forms, Guides, Supports & Inserts
Ear forms work very similar to taping.
The ear forms are a prefabricated form or guide that sit in your GSD’s ear and provide a temporary support for the ears to stand upright.
Instead of taping, you apply skin glue to the forms and your GSD’s skin to hold the forms in place.
See a vet before you undertake this method.
Companies like Redline K9, K9ProTraining and DogSportGear might manufacture German Shepherd ear forms.
9. Ear Padding & Moleskin Padding
Generally Moleskin padding is used to hold the ears in place.
In a nutshell, you cut the padding to the shape of the ear and use skin glue to hold the padding in place – keeping up the floppy ears.
You want to see your vet before doing this as it is a homemade type solution.
Here’s a video of applying moleskin padding to a German Shepherd’s ears.
Generally, you want to be feeding a vet recommended food diet that should include supplements like Glucosamine (which can help with joint health and cartilage health) naturally.
Although, your vet may approve giving your dog additional glucosamine tablets to supplement their diet.
Glucosamine and chondroitin ave both shown to help general joint health, particularly in large dogs, so there are other positive side effects aside from potentially effecting the ear cartilage.
You can read more about supplements in Best German Shepherd Supplements For Hip & Joint Care.
Some owners swear by giving their dog Vitamin C to help the ears stand, although this might just be a myth.
Like the supplements, see your vet about this one.
12. Calcium Injection/s By A Qualified Vet
Some vets might suggest and carry out calcium injections to help the ears stand.
13. Surgical Implants By A Qualified Vet
Some vets might perform an ear implant to help the ears stand up.
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