Ear Cropping: Essential tips for puppy owners

puppy ears croppedCropped 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 20 – 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:

show crop, bottle crop, long crop, short crop

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.)

Initial Visit

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.

pit bull puppy with cropped ears CBFs

Aftercare Tips

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.

  • Rebecca

    You should not own a dog if you are willing to put them through unnecessary surgery. Put yourself in the place of your dog. You are putting your dog through unnecessary surgery (and all the risks and pain that come with it) for your own satisfaction. THINK

    • Rob

      If that were the case then no more neutered dogs either, and for the record many breeds used for hunting benefit from cropped ears by improving their hearing and minimizing the risk to their ears. My dog isn’t some fluffy stuffed animal lap dog, he is a working dog and loves it and I love him….so think about that….before you post after taking a deep swallow of the liberal cool aid

    • C

      What about circumcision then?

      • JKosh

        I said this in a facebook argument lol. Spot on, the ladies love my circumcision lmfao

    • Cracka killa

      Shutup woosie.

  • Amara

    Hi, okay listen, I come from a long line of dig trainers/breeders for cane corsos, pit bulls, and mini bullies and I know for a FACT that cropping is the best desision. Cropping is what looks best for that breed and the surgery is very simple I have observed or before and it makes your dog have less of a chance of getting infections and bacteria and helps them live a longer healthier life. THIS PROCESS IS NOT WRONG NOR BARBARIC!!! SO I WOULD MAKE THE RIGHT DESISON UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR DOG TO SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES!!!

    • Natalia

      Agreed. I just got my pups ears done this week and it looks way better than before. my older bully pup was too old to get his cropped so he got lucky. Especially if you’re going to have the pup trained for the show.

  • Delano Temple

    can anyone refer me to someone who who could crop my 16 week old puppy ears, I’m in the Long Beach area.

  • Renee

    I just had my bully puppy’s ears done 3 days ago and he is fine not in any pain he went straight to playing as soon as he got home. And he looks great. It is cartlidge they remove trust me he is not in any pain what so ever. And we keep them clean 3 times a day.

    • Tremayne Santiago

      Pretty much how my bully girl reacted, I have to protect her from her. Her ears are the last thing she is worried about.

  • Nicky

    How do I clean his ears? My pup had his ears cropped today by an individual and I didn’t get any instructions on aftercare. Yes I know I should’ve taken him to a vet instead, I was naive listening to some idiots recommendations. He is shaking his head a lot too like they are bothering him 😢

    • Clean with peroxide 3 times daily. Also use a small amount of neosporin once daily.

    • Lovemysumo

      Has he stopped shaking his head?

  • brunobully

    what are the drops they give you to put on the ear ?? anyone know what that liquid is

  • Arasley Placencia

    I just got my bully pup ears cropped. He keeps shaking his head and causing him to bleed more. How can I help him?

  • Julius

    I live in Philadelphia pa and im looking for a vet does anybody know of one ?????