beagle running in a pathe with some grass on the side

Beagles And Their Ears

Affectionate, easy-going, and lovable, that’s what you get when you choose a Beagle for your pet. And when it comes to looks, Beagles are attractive with their muscular bodies, square face, and broad nose, and they are well known for their cute floppy ears. So, what is so special about Beagles and their ears?

beagle flapping ears
Front view of cute beagle dog sitting, isolated on a white studio background

Beagles have dropped (Pendant) shaped ears that are long, soft, and floppy. These long ears take up tiny particles from the ground sweeping them to the nose and aid in the dog’s phenomenal sense of smell. Beagles are prone to ear infections, so their ears should always be kept clean and dry. 

Soft and floppy ears that flap in the wind when they run is most endearing to Beagle owners and dog lovers. Read on for more about the Beagle’s ears and how to keep them clean and healthy.

What Is So Special About A Beagle’s Ears?

beagle and a person holding the ears up
Model shot of young beagle dog with flying ears

A Beagle’s ears are a part of its charm and cuteness. Their ears are described as being dropped as they hang down from the face. The correct name for this shape is Pendant. 

Long and floppy, the ears are rounded, and the front edge slightly turns in towards the cheek.

The ears are not too thick, and they are most pliable. When your dog runs very fast or when driving in the car with the window open, the ears will flap in the wind.

Do Beagles Have Ear Flaps?

beagle ears flapping in the wind
Close up of cute beagle puppy running on grass, in profile, holding his red ball. Ears flying. In garden. With some copy space.

I am sure you have noticed the flap or pocket of skin on the outer ear of your Beagle. This is known as Henry’s pocket. Why does your dog have it? Well, theory suggests that it is used for:

  • Helping the Beagle to accurately locate the direction of the sound.
  • Aids with efficiently angling the ear towards the sound. Dogs will move their ears independently from the body when they hear a sound.
  • It helps your pet to flatten its ears.

Although we are not absolutely sure why these flaps are on your Beagle’s ears, it is a space for ticks and fleas to crawl into, so always check this spot for any unwanted parasites.

Why Do Beagles Have Such Long Ears?

Initially bred to hunt rabbits, Beagles have an excellent sense of smell. The long ears of the Beagle aid the dog with this exceptional trait.

When your dog is in ‘smelling mode’ and the head is close to the ground, the long floppy ears will sweep up any tiny particles toward the nose. But the ears also help to cover up any other distracting sounds, so the dog learns to rely more on its phenomenal sense of smell.

Why Do Beagles Shake Their Head And Flap Their Ears?

Your Beagle might just be shaking his head for a tickle, minor itch, or a sting. But it could be more severe such as an ear infection, ear mites, or even an ear injury. When the shaking becomes persistent, and the dog keeps scratching its ears or keeps tilting its head, you need to be concerned.

How To Know If Your Beagle Has An Ear Infection?

Most Beagles will have some form of ear infection during their lifetime. The infection could range from mild to more severe. Look out for the following symptoms that could mean your pet has an ear infection. 

Lift your Beagle’s ears and see if there are any:

  • Redness or crusty scabs
  • Swelling
  • Thick wax
  • A discharge (brown, yellow, or bloody)
  • An odor coming from the ear
  • Loss of hair on the inside or around the outside of the ear

You could also notice that your Beagle is walking in circles or losing its balance. The eyes will be moving or flicking unusually, and there might be hearing loss.

You must consult your veterinarian should any of the above symptoms occur.

Types Of Ear Infections In Beagles

Your Beagle is prone to three types of ear infections. The most common is otitis externa, when the inflammation affects the layer of cells lining the external portion of the ear canal. This infection should be treated immediately. If not, it will cause the two other and more severe types of infections.

The other infections are Otitis media and interna, which affect the middle and inner ear canal. These two infections result from the spread of infection from the external ear. These infections are severe and can result in deafness and facial paralysis.

How Will The Veterinarian Treat Ear Infection In Beagles?

Once the infection has been determined, your Beagle’s ears will be treated by the veterinarian. The ears will be:

  • Thoroughly cleaned and treated with a medicated ear cleanser
  • An ear cleanser and topical medication will be prescribed for home care
  • Oral anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medication will be administered and may be prescribed

Most uncomplicated infections will improve after 1 to 2 weeks. Still, in more severe cases, the infection can take up to a few months to resolve.  

It is essential to follow the veterinarian’s recommendations and take preventative measures for a reoccurrence.

What Causes Ear Infection In Beagles?

Although lovely long and floppy ears are a beagle’s trademark, they are prone to ear infections because of their shape. The floppy ears fall over the ear canal, which causes a dark and damp space creating the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. 

Ear infections will be more prevalent in the summer months when the ears are warm and damp, encouraging unwanted pests. Other causes that may affect the ears are a build-up of wax and debris in the ears.

Allergies And Hormones Cause Ear Infections In Beagles

Allergies and hormonal conditions can cause ear infections. Allergies can be caused by the food that you are giving your Beagle. The hormonal disorder causes skin infections that could also trigger infections in the ears. 

You would need to consult your veterinarian to advise on the course of action of changing your pet’s food or administering hormonal supplements.

How To Keep A Beagle’s Ears Clean?

Keeping your Beagle’s ears clean and dry can help prevent infections. 

How to clean your Beagle’s ears:

  • Fill the ear canal with some cleaning solution. Massage the ear canal from the outside of the ear. This massaging action will help loosen the debris and bring it up and out.
  • Using a piece of gauze, gently wipe out the canal. To clean the inner ear, don’t use cotton-tipped ear sticks or a paper towel (it will leave fibers behind).
  • You can use cotton-tipped ear sticks to clean the ear flap.
  • If the ear seems to have a lot of compacted debris that won’t come out, consult your veterinarian to clean the ear.

More tips on when to clean the ears and what signs to look for concerning infection:

  • Clean the ears at least 1 x per month
  • Check the ears for dirt, scratches, parasites, or any discharge. 
  • Smell the ear; it should not have an unpleasant smell.
  • Wipe the ears out with a cotton ball moistened with bottled water. Do not go too deep down into the ear canal.

It is essential to keep your Beagle’s ears clean and dry. If there is a discharge, don’t just clean it up, there could be an underlying problem, and it will need to be addressed. Always consult your veterinarian before an infection becomes severe.

Conclusion

A Beagle’s cute, long, floppy ears are its much-loved trademark. However, the ears of the Beagle are prone to infections if not kept clean, dry, and free from parasites. Inspecting and cleaning your pet’s ears regularly and paying attention to any signs of ear irritation will keep infection at bay.

Beagles are lovable, lively, and highly endearing. By keeping their ears healthy, you will be rewarded with a happy, long-eared family pet!

References

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-ear-infections/#:~:text=There%20are%20three%20types%20of,and%20inner%20ear%20canal%2C%20respectively.

https://wagwalking.com/behavior/why-do-beagles-shake-their-heads#:~:text=Very%20often%2C%20dogs%20shake%20their,ear%20mites%2C%20or%20ear%20injuries.

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/tips-preventing-ear-infections/

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