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Scratch

Plucking Hell .......

46 posts in this topic

Scratch   

Hello everyone

I have been a professional dog groomer working at it full time since 1986, as a salon owner since 1989.

When I first started grooming, plucking the hair out of the ears of dogs that grow hair in their ears, such as Poodles, Schnauzers and ShihTzu, was the normal thing to do. Get in there with forceps and yank every damn hair out of there.

Over the years my methods changed, and these days I use electric trimmers to clip the area out, and then I use depilatory powder and my fingers for deforestation of the ear canals.I also am not as pedantic over getting every hair out.

I am leaning even further away from ear plucking as the years roll on. Often now days if I am presented with a clean fresh and not overly hairy ear, I will run the clipper lightly over the area and leave it be.

When I first started grooming, topical flea treatments did not exist. When the were introduced a few years later, I noticed a MASSIVE drop in ear infections among my grooming clients. I know some of those topicals cover mites as well, and I assume this was the reason for seeing so many less ear infections. It used to be every second ear I looked in was plugged up with thick brown or yellow goop. These days I'm lucky to see 1 ear infection a month. I must confess I also have a very awesome client base of very conscientious dog owners.

Any who, I have noticed a big increase in clients coming in stating their vet told them to tell their groomer to never pluck the dogs ears. I'm fine with that,.......BUT......... I get just as many clients changing groomers because ' the other groomer didn't pluck fifi/fidos ears. AND, I have had a few clients noticing I haven't been getting all the hair out of their dogs ears, and asking me to pay particular attention to 'do it properly this time'.

So, I'm stuck in the middle :banghead: :banghead:

It seems the first batch of new vets out of Roseworthy are being told don't pluck, and passing the message on to their clients, and other vets are getting on board with this advice.

I would like some actual professional advice on this. I would like to become a " no pluck" salon. But I can't win. Some clients want them plucked, some tell me their vet said they should change groomers because the groomer isn't plucking the ears, and others are saying the vet said don't pluck the ears.

I feel it is a classic ' if it aint broke, don't fix it' and am happy to leave healthy ears alone, and especially leave infected ears alone, and advise veterinary intervention.

I actually don't think plucking the hairs helps prevent grass seeds either, possibly actually makes it easier for grass seeds to slide right in down there. So many times I have pulled a seed trapped in the ear hair. If it wasn't for the hair plugging the ear, it would no doubt have gotten deeper into the ear more easily.

Ok well sorry for the long post.

Edited by GrufLife

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Rappie   

The dermatologists do recommend not to pluck. Although some individuals grow hair to excess it exists as a protective mechanism for the ears. I don't appreciate a particular increase in ear infection in hair ears vs non hairy ears. Plucking (particularly extensive plucking) serves to cause irritation, inflammation, pain and swelling all of which can contribute to the development of ear infections. I also tend to be of the opinion that healthy ears don't require 'maintenance' cleaning - the occasional clean after swimming or a bath is ok but ears are generally designed to be able to maintain themselves. Obviously in a patient with a history of ear infections it is a different situation.

Edited by Rappie

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redangel   

I have poodles and yes my vet has gone from recommending the ears get plucked to basic ear hair trimming do not pluck.Personally Im not fussed for those of my dogs that have fine ear hair..trimming is fine..however one of my dogs has thick hair that chokes the entrance of the ear canal should it be left. I would never dream of not plucking her ears.

Yes I have noticed older vets recommend plucking but newer graduates I have seen are pretty much against it.

Will be very interested to hear input. A poll on owners maybe?

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Scratch   

The dermatologists do recommend not to pluck. Although some individuals grow hair to excess it exists as a protective mechanism for the ears. I don't appreciate a particular increase in ear infection in hair ears vs non hairy ears. Plucking (particularly extensive plucking) serves to cause irritation, inflammation, pain and swelling all of which can contribute to the development of ear infections. I also tend to be of the opinion that healthy ears don't require 'maintenance' cleaning - the occasional clean after swimming or a bath is ok but ears are generally designed to be able to maintain themselves. Obviously in a patient with a history of ear infections it is a different situation.

Thank you Rappie. You have pretty much summed up exactly how I feel about it. can you suggest how I can counter the ' but my vet said the groomer should pluck the ears' ? there are some clients who will only listen to their vet and whatever they say is gospel. I'd like to tell them, get a new vet, but that is probably a bit too cheeky !

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Scratch   

I have poodles and yes my vet has gone from recommending the ears get plucked to basic ear hair trimming do not pluck.Personally Im not fussed for those of my dogs that have fine ear hair..trimming is fine..however one of my dogs has thick hair that chokes the entrance of the ear canal should it be left. I would never dream of not plucking her ears.

Yes I have noticed older vets recommend plucking but newer graduates I have seen are pretty much against it.

Will be very interested to hear input. A poll on owners maybe?

Thank you. Yes, I have a few Schnauzer clients with insane ear hair. The curly Portie I do is the craziest I have ever seen though!

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Yonjuro   

I used to have a schnauzer and my parents still do, we used to pluck but in more recent times their vet has recommended no-plucking :) So I guess it is all about education and it seems things are slowly changing.

Luckily for me it is a non issue being a husky owner, I can only imagine the nightmare that would present if I had to pluck Ronin's ears... I imagine I wouldn't be able to type very well without fingers :laugh:

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*kirty*   

I have to pluck my standard poodle's ears because they get completely blocked with hair if I don't. The hair actually forms solid balls in the ear canal if left too long. I also shave the underside of her ears because I noticed they stay cleaner and fresher this way. I guess because the air circulates better?

Edited by *kirty*

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Erny   

As a dog-trainer and behaviourist, I get people who say "but Vet said this" or "but other trainer said that".

In my books, I work as and stand-by what I believe and have the conviction to be able to explain why I do what I do the way I do it, even when presented with the "but they said". I have knowledge of the "other practices" and can compare in my mind the benefits of one to another - keeping dog individuality in mind. If you hold conviction which is based on what you believe and know you can back that up with good and strong conviction, don't let people make you be different. It's not as though you are avoiding certain practice because you are ignorant to it (which is what some 'professionals' do). You understand it, have even used it. You have experience and you have a knowledge base. In anything, I think there are exceptions to the rule and I think it is very good practice to keep that open mind, but as a general consensus and approach to your work, stick to what you believe is right and base your opinion also on your results.

ETA : In your instance, if you wish to (for the sake of keeping clientele and maybe even for the sake of opening their minds), discuss why you aren't in the standard practice of plucking ears but perhaps offer that if they find non-plucking ends up being the cause for ear issues and proves to be the case (and maybe that you'd even be happy to speak with their Vet), they can come back for the ear-pluck in between their usual grooming appointments. ???

Edited by Erny

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Why dont you make it a policy to ask? Explain to eaxh new client (and existing ones) your view then ask them to make a choice. Slowly you should move towards a full roster if clients who are on board with your view.

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Rappie   

The dermatologists do recommend not to pluck. Although some individuals grow hair to excess it exists as a protective mechanism for the ears. I don't appreciate a particular increase in ear infection in hair ears vs non hairy ears. Plucking (particularly extensive plucking) serves to cause irritation, inflammation, pain and swelling all of which can contribute to the development of ear infections. I also tend to be of the opinion that healthy ears don't require 'maintenance' cleaning - the occasional clean after swimming or a bath is ok but ears are generally designed to be able to maintain themselves. Obviously in a patient with a history of ear infections it is a different situation.

Thank you Rappie. You have pretty much summed up exactly how I feel about it. can you suggest how I can counter the ' but my vet said the groomer should pluck the ears' ? there are some clients who will only listen to their vet and whatever they say is gospel. I'd like to tell them, get a new vet, but that is probably a bit too cheeky !

Well you could try that but it may not go down well, no matter how much it may be the case D You could say that you prefer not to interfere with non-essential procedures and that if plucking is required by their vet they could have it done there. It would probably help to have some evidence to back up your position. You could perhaps try contacting a local dermatologist to see if they have any client information sheets or are willing to go 'on record' as being opposed to it.I am happy to (at some point , pending baby arrival) see if I have anything suitable.

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Please excuse my ignorance on plucking as I don't have fluffy/hairy dogs...but just curious...does it hurt them when you pluck their hair/fur?

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Scratch   

Please excuse my ignorance on plucking as I don't have fluffy/hairy dogs...but just curious...does it hurt them when you pluck their hair/fur?

Most dogs with hairy ears are also hairy dogs that get regular haircuts, so as puppies, start to get used to all aspects of salon grooming, including getting the hair out of the ears. A well trained and conditioned dog will usually tolerate it without much fuss at all. Untrained dogs can put on a real show over it. Done with the powder and fingers the way I do it now days, I find incredibly less traumatic for the dog than the old way of sticking the forceps in there and grabbing the hair. The way I do it the dog often doesn't even realize I'm pulling the hair, more like just a vigorous rub under the ear! There are certainly dogs who dont tolerate it well at all, and to be honest, I've never met a dog that enjoys it as much as a belly rub or a treat! I have seen groomers being completely brutal with dogs who are not willing. If I get a very intolerant dog, I will explain to the owner that I could not accomplish the task without beating the dog up, and that they should consult their vet if they really want the ears cleaned out.

Edited by GrufLife

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Scratch   

As a dog-trainer and behaviourist, I get people who say "but Vet said this" or "but other trainer said that".

In my books, I work as and stand-by what I believe and have the conviction to be able to explain why I do what I do the way I do it, even when presented with the "but they said". I have knowledge of the "other practices" and can compare in my mind the benefits of one to another - keeping dog individuality in mind. If you hold conviction which is based on what you believe and know you can back that up with good and strong conviction, don't let people make you be different. It's not as though you are avoiding certain practice because you are ignorant to it (which is what some 'professionals' do). You understand it, have even used it. You have experience and you have a knowledge base. In anything, I think there are exceptions to the rule and I think it is very good practice to keep that open mind, but as a general consensus and approach to your work, stick to what you believe is right and base your opinion also on your results.

ETA : In your instance, if you wish to (for the sake of keeping clientele and maybe even for the sake of opening their minds), discuss why you aren't in the standard practice of plucking ears but perhaps offer that if they find non-plucking ends up being the cause for ear issues and proves to be the case (and maybe that you'd even be happy to speak with their Vet), they can come back for the ear-pluck in between their usual grooming appointments. ???

Thank you for your considered reply. Sage advice as usual :D

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Scratch   

The dermatologists do recommend not to pluck. Although some individuals grow hair to excess it exists as a protective mechanism for the ears. I don't appreciate a particular increase in ear infection in hair ears vs non hairy ears. Plucking (particularly extensive plucking) serves to cause irritation, inflammation, pain and swelling all of which can contribute to the development of ear infections. I also tend to be of the opinion that healthy ears don't require 'maintenance' cleaning - the occasional clean after swimming or a bath is ok but ears are generally designed to be able to maintain themselves. Obviously in a patient with a history of ear infections it is a different situation.

Thank you Rappie. You have pretty much summed up exactly how I feel about it. can you suggest how I can counter the ' but my vet said the groomer should pluck the ears' ? there are some clients who will only listen to their vet and whatever they say is gospel. I'd like to tell them, get a new vet, but that is probably a bit too cheeky !

Well you could try that but it may not go down well, no matter how much it may be the case D You could say that you prefer not to interfere with non-essential procedures and that if plucking is required by their vet they could have it done there. It would probably help to have some evidence to back up your position. You could perhaps try contacting a local dermatologist to see if they have any client information sheets or are willing to go 'on record' as being opposed to it.I am happy to (at some point , pending baby arrival) see if I have anything suitable.

Thanks again. Do you mean a veterinary dermatologist? I am not aware of what's around in Adelaide in that area, but shouldn't be too hard to find. If you have any written material at your disposal I would really appreciate it, but entirely at your leisure.

Best wishes for a speedy safe delivery :thanks:

Edited by GrufLife

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Scratch   

Why dont you make it a policy to ask? Explain to eaxh new client (and existing ones) your view then ask them to make a choice. Slowly you should move towards a full roster if clients who are on board with your view.

Thank you. I have been talking to more and more clients on the subject. Some days the more I speak to, the more differing opinions I hear!

like Erny says, I know what my opinion is, and it is based on knowledge and results, I just have to stand by my beliefs. Easier said than done sometimes!

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I've been grooming since 1995 and I agree ear plucking was a huge deal back then, when I started in the vet clinic there was quite mixed opinions between vets. I decided to do a trial on a few customers dogs and two of my own poodles to see what would happen if we stopped plucking.

Results ended up being multiple dogs with yucky infected ears including my own dogs.

Now if the dogs have only a small amount or fine hair in the ears I trim it with scissors but don't pluck, if it's thick and the ear canal is quite full then I definitely pluck.

Most of my customers leave it to me to decide and don't worry too much about what the vets have said.

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You can only ask the client what they want done with their own dog.

If the hair is particularly thick & dense & completely blocks the ear I would think pluck it, if fine & not blocking providing it doesn't cause any problems then leaving it should be ok. Matter of trial & error & common sense for individual dog I would have thought.

I pluck all my dogs although not vigorously poking down the canal.

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I have just seen this thread and it is interesting.

I have a schnauzer cross and I don't have her professionally groomed. I just trim the hair around her eyes and wash her myself. To be honest I have never even looked at her ears apart from having a sniff every so often especially as I do remember the vet telling me once not to pluck the hair in her ears because it causes more problems than it's worth. A few months ago she was running around with her head on one side and since she is an epileptic I worried about something happening in her brain. I took her to the vet and he couldn't find anything out of the usual and just wondered if she had been bitten by an insect. The next day she was holding her head normally which was great, but then I found what looked like a stone made of hair on my lounge room floor and I have wondered if it was a hairball that came from her ear.

I would be interested to know what other posters think about this.

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Schnauzers are one of the worst breeds for ear hair, it's often very tight and completely blocks the ear canal.

I would recommend shaving inside the ear flap with a 10# blade then plucking out the very centre hair.

A few years ago I rescued 4 poodles from a well known registered breeder (more like a puppy farmer) two of them ended up with permanent hearing loss because they had never had the hair plucked. The ears were infected and the hair turned into concrete like corks and completely sealed the ear canals. Vets flushed them under anaesthetic but couldn't repair the damage.

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