Cropped ears on your dog can look great. But you want to make sure the procedure is done properly and safely, to ensure you get the results you want—while keeping your dog as safe and comfortable as possible.
The first question you have to ask yourself when considering this procedure is, when should you have it done?
The Best Age for Ear Cropping
Many people believe that your dog’s ears will only stand up if they’re cropped as a puppy. This is actually a myth—your dog’s ears will stand up regardless of when they’re cropped. In fact, you can actually get your dog’s ears cropped at any age if you really want to. Just keep in mind it’s a more traumatic and painful surgery for older dogs
That said, it’s best to get the procedure done before 12 weeks of age. (Most vets recommend having it done between 7 and 12 weeks of age.)
Is there an age limit for cropping your dogs ears?
Most vets will actually refuse to crop a dog’s ears after a certain age…although if you look around, you can probably find a vet who is willing to crop a full-grown dog’s ears.
The typical cut off date ranges from 12 – 16 weeks. Some veterinarians may also refuse to crop a dog’s ears at a certain weight. The typical cut off weight ranges from 15 – 20 pounds.
Other veterinarians have no cut off date and will perform the ear cropping procedure at any age, or weight.
Choosing an Ear Crop Style
The next thing you need to do is choose an ear crop style.
It’s important to choose an ear crop style before you go looking for a vet, because some vets will only perform one style of crop.
There are four main crop styles for American Pit Bull Terriers & American Bullies:
Short crops and show crops have the greatest chance of standing erect. Ears that are cropped too long, or too short, are less likely to stand erect.
When a dog’s ears are cropped too short, they are more likely to lay flat on the dog’s head.
When a dog’s ears are cropped too long, the cartilage within pinna may be too thin to support the weight of the ear.
Choosing a Vet
This procedure is going to determine how your dog looks for the rest of their life, so make sure to do your homework and find a good vet.
It’s a good idea to ask your breeder (or other local breeders) where they get their dog’s ears done, because they probably know who’s best at this type of procedure.
You can also find local vet that performs ear cropping surgeries here: Vets That Crop Ears in the United States.
When you talk to the vet, you’ll want to ask them two things:
1) The Price
On average, you can expect to pay anything from $150 to over $600. Keep in mind, a more expensive vet does not necessarily mean you’ll get a better crop. A fair price that you should expect to pay for a good crop is probably about $250.
This price should include everything, including the procedure itself, the follow-up visit, and any medications (pain medicine and potentially antibiotics).
2) Picture of Prior Crops
In addition, it’s a good idea to bring in a few pictures of ear crops that you like. Show them to the vet and ask if they are willing and able to crop ears in that style.
(Some vets will only crop ears one way, so make sure they can provide what you want.)
So you’ve decided on a vet. The next step is to take your dog in for a visit so the vet can make sure that your puppy is able to handle the anesthesia. Some vets will do a blood test at this point.
The vet will also give you any instructions on what to do the night before the surgery. You’ll probably restrict food the night before the procedure, and restrict water the morning of. But make sure to pay attention and follow your vet’s recommendations.
After the Procedure
Your vet may keep your dog overnight, or you might be able to take them home the same day. They should also provide you with pain medication, so make sure to ask for some if they forget. The vet will also attach some kind of foam support or plastic rack to your dog’s ears before sending them home.
Your dog will definitely be out-of-sorts for a night or two. The anesthetic will make them drowsy, and their ears may be sore. If it looks like your pup is in pain, give them some pain medication—after all, that’s what it’s for.
1) Follow the Vet’s Instructions.
This should go without saying, but make sure to follow all your vet’s instructions! Your dog has just had surgery, and it’s important to do everything you can to help them heal properly.
2) Use the Cone.
You can remove the cone from your dog as long as you are supervising them, but put the cone back on whenever you’re not watching. The cone is there to prevent your pup from ripping their stitches, which is very important to the proper healing process.
3) Keep the Ears Clean.
You need to keep the skin clean until it’s had a chance to heal. This is important in preventing infections that could require an emergency trip to the vet. Use peroxide and Neosporin at least 2 or 3 times a day.
4) Remove scabs.
When you were a kid, your mother may have told you not to pick at scabs. Well that might be good advice for yourself, but when it comes to cropping ears, you want to remove any scabs on your dog’s ears immediately.
This is important because the scabs could interfere with the ears properly standing up.
The best way to remove these scabs is to soak them in water for 5 minutes first, to soften them up and make them easier/less painful to pick off.
5) Watch for Infections.
Whenever you wash your dog’s ears (you are cleaning them 2-3 times a day, right?), be on the lookout for signs of infection. This could come in the form of redness, swelling, pain, or red streaks extending away from the affected area. If you see any signs of infection, take your dog back to the vet right away for treatment.
6) Nourish Your Dog Through a Healthy Diet.
Finally, make sure your dog is eating well and getting all the essential nutrients they need to recover properly. We recommend giving your pup dog a full serving of Bully Max twice a day during this post-op recovery period.