When I got my chihuahua home, she was just a few weeks old. I noticed her ears were not standing up, but flopping down. I began to research about my Chihuahua With Floppy Ears. If you are a chihuahua parent too and worried about the same, this post is for you!
In this article, we will talk about:
- Are Chihuahuas Born With Floppy Ears?
- 13 Reasons Why Your Chihuahua Has Floppy Ears
- Can You Help Your Chihuahua’s Ear Stand Up?
- And more..
Why Does My Chihuahua Have Floppy Ears?
Many chihuahuas have floppy ears when they are growing up. Their ears stand up on their own as they grow up. However, there could be chihuahuas whose ears do not stand up because of a variety of factors like genetics, mixed breeding, sickness, imbalanced diet, pregnancy, or aging.
Are Chihuahuas Born With Floppy Ears?
Yes, not only chihuahuas but all dog breeds are born with floppy ears. Since the newborn baby is still in the development stage, their ear cartilage and bones need time to grow fully and become strong. Thus, they have drooping ears when they are born.
After 5 to 6 weeks, the chihuahua puppies’ ears will stand up automatically as they age. If this does not happen yet, they might still have not developed completely. So, you should wait till they are 15 weeks old.
However, if your chihuahua has reached adulthood and still has floppy ears, there could be multiple reasons for it. So, let us find out!
13 Reasons Why Your Chihuahua Has Floppy Ears
1. Your Chihuahua Is Still Young
Chihuahuas are known for their pointed standing-up ears, but this is not the case since birth. So, if you have brought home a newborn baby, you need to give it sometime.
The chihuahuas might seem quite active from the puppy stage, but it does not mean they have 100% developed. They are still developing.
Thus, their ear muscles may convulse, making it look like chihuahuas have no ear control. At this stage, it is commonly seen that their ears stand up and then again drop down.
Nevertheless, as their muscles and bones grow and become healthy, you will witness that their ears start becoming erect and pointed. Generally, this starts from when they are 5-6 weeks old and can take upto 15 weeks.
2. Your Puppy Is Teething
Dr. Krista Williams and Dr. Richard Lerener, DVM at the VCA Hospital, say that at around 12 weeks, puppies start losing their baby teeth and permanent teeth start coming up. Normally, when they are half years old, all permanent teeth have come up.
The same is with chihuahua puppies. During this time, chihuahuas experience pain and discomfort. As a result, they over chew on things available to them which might not be good for them. You can try the KIPITII chew toys in this case.
Sometimes, chewing tires their jaw muscles. Since the jaw muscles are connected to the ear muscles, the natural effect occurs on the ears. Jaw muscles tend to relax causing the ears to droop down during teething.
On top of that, during this transition, a lot of calcium is lost by the muscles. This lack of calcium causes muscle spasms, leading to floppy ears in chihuahuas.
Also Read: When Do Chihuahuas Lose Their Baby Teeth?
Parent genes play an important role in chihuahua puppies. If your chihuahua’s parents had floppy ears, it is more likely that your chihuahua will have floppy ears. This can happen in both mixed breed and purebred chihuahuas.
However, there is a 10% chance of floppy ears in purebred chihuahuas. So, if you want your chihuahuas to have straight ears, take the chihuahua breeder’s guarantee.
Also, one more thing to add, floppy ears do not always mean low breeding quality. So, you should not base your decision on the chihuahua’s ear before bringing them home.
4. Mixed Breed
Sometimes, we assume that our chihuahua is purebred. But, that is not the case. One of the parents can be a non-chihuahua parent. So, if your chihuahua is an adult with floppy ears, it could be a mixed breed.
Chugs, a mix of chihuahua and pugs, have the body like a chihuahua but the face of a pug. Thus, they have folded ears like a pug.
Similarly, chipits, a mix of pitbull and chihuahuas have pointed ears like a chihuahua but they are folded like a pit bull.
Other mixed breeds that can cause folded ears are- chipoo (chihuahua and poodle), Chiweenies (chihuahua and Dachshund), and Labrahuahua (Labrador and Chihuahua).
5. Your Chi Has Ear Problems
Another reason for floppy ears in chihuahua could be ear problems. Here, we will discuss two common ear infections chihuahuas face.
According to Amanda Simonson, DVM at PetMD, otitis is the inflammation of one or both ears. There are three types of otitis in chihuahuas- otitis externa, otitis media, and otitis interna depending on the location in ear.
Generally, chihuahuas have otitis externa, which is inflammation of the external ear that causes their ear to droop down and become floppy. The reasons for otitis are trauma or any bacterial or parasite infection in the ear.
If you see any itching or discharge from the ear, it is best to consult the vet. This issue can start from one ear and spread to the other ear as well.
Christina Fernandez, DVM at PetMD writes that ear hematoma occurs in dogs when the blood vessels present in the earflaps rupture. The causes of ear hematoma are allergies, ear infections, excessive head shaking, and immune disorders.
If left untreated, this blood can be reabsorbed by the ear causing the ear to bend down or become deformed.
In order to treat this at the earliest, watch out for signs like redness, swelling, itching, foul smell from the ears, or a discharge from your chihuahua’s ears.
6. Your Chihuahua Has Ear Mites
The American Kennel Club mentions that ear mites are the parasites that enter the ear canal of dogs and feed on wax and oil present inside the ear. While these parasites do not bite the ear, the scratching done by the dog can be harmful.
The floppy ears in chihuahuas could be because of the same. Sometimes when there is poor ear hygiene in chihuahuas or they come in contact with dogs with mite infections, they can catch it too.
So, if your chihuahua is scratching their ears frequently, has a brown discharge, or has wounds in the ear, the best thing to do is to take them to the veterinarian. Do not delay as they might spread to other body parts of your chihuahua.
7. Imbalanced Diet
You must have heard the saying, “we are what we eat.” The same is true for our lovely pet chihuahuas. In the early stages of development, a proper and balanced diet is very important for a chihuahua’s overall growth.
If the food you provide does not contain the required amount of nutrients, there can be underdevelopment of cartilages, muscles, and bones around the ear causing floppy ears in adulthood of a chihuahua.
8. The Domestic Syndrome
Charles Darwin first proposed the Domestic Syndrome theory years back. According to him, erect ears were a feature of wild animals whereas domesticated animals had floppy ears. Although, he wasn’t able to establish a strong link in this regard.
Later, in the year 2014, Adam Wilkins wrote a research paper The Domestication Syndrome in Mammals, where he talked about the importance of neural crest cells in domestic syndrome.
Neural crest cells, or NCCs, were linked to the domestication of animals. Since tamed animals were less aggressive and angry, they had lower adrenaline levels. This meant lower NCCs.
The NCCs were responsible for having cartilage in the outer ear. Thus, lower NCCs resulted in drooping ears after years of taming the mammals. This is also true for chihuahuas.
Today, breeders cross dogs, especially chihuahuas, as they are the smallest breed in the world. While this might sound interesting to you, this is not! Chihuahuas have been exposed to many hereditary diseases because of that.
Allergies, bacterial infections, parasites, hormonal imbalances, tumors, cellulitis are common examples of this. These conditions make your chihuahua sick, resulting in drooping ears.
10. She May Be Pregnant
When female chihuahuas are pregnant, their bodies undergo changes. During this time, the chihuahua’s ears might become floppy due to stress and other hormonal imbalances.
This is a temporary change in your chihuahua, so you need not worry much.
11. Low Adrenaline Levels In Your Dog
If you have noticed closely, dogs generally raise their ears when attentive and then sag them down when they are relaxed. Thus, it is the mood of the dogs that can change their ears.
If your chihuahua is happy, sad, or stressed, its adrenaline levels will change and thus his ears will either become erect or droop down. This even happens on a daily basis with chihuahuas.
One day, their ear is up, the other day their ear is down. Sometimes, you might even find one ear up and the other ear down.
12. Your Chihuahua Is Purposely Bred For Floppy Ear
There are people who prefer floppy-ear chihuahua over straight-ear chihuahuas. Thus, many breeders breed their chihuahuas to have floppy ears. Therefore, your chihuahua can have drooping ears because of that.
As far as your chihuahua is healthy and well-bred, there is no concern. But if you are skeptical about it, make sure you talk to the breeder well in advance.
Apart from all the above reasons, aging is another factor. As chihuahuas become old, they might contract some diseases due to their old age. These diseases can also be the reason for drooping ears in chihuahuas in old ages.
How Can You Help Your Chihuahua’s Ears Stand?
Floppy ears are completely normal in most cases, so you can leave them as it is. However, if you still wish that your chihuahua have straight and erect ears, here are 4 ways for you:
1. Tape Their Ears
Taping your chihuahua’s ears is not really recommended much. However, if you still want to try it, here is what you can do.
Use medical-grade tape and tape your chihuahua’s ears in an upright position. This is supposed to train the ear muscles to remain in that position.
Do it for a week and you might see desired results. However, this does not guarantee 100% results and has some risks involved.
2. Give A Well-balanced Diet
Since chihuahuas eat very small portions of food, it is important to load their meals with the correct nutrients. This prevents any kind of hindrance in their development that might cause floppy ears.
Ask for a diet plan from your vet and make a good meal involving meat, fruits, vegetables, and dog food for your chihuahua. A good option for chihuahua dog food is Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition for adult chihuahuas.
Also Read: How Many Calories Should a Chihuahua Eat
3. Don’t Adopt From A Puppy Breeder
Do not get your chihuahua from any puppy breeder. Just look at various breeders and make a wise decision.
Make sure your puppy breeder feeds your chihuahua well as per the veterinarian’s advice and maintains proper hygiene.
4. Avoid Stress
Stress and anxiety are very common among chihuahuas. When they are in the slightest uncomfortable situations, they start shaking their head or panting heavily.
While you cannot completely avoid these situations, you can definitely try to improve their life by taking them outdoors, properly feeding, and making them meet new people and dogs so that they are able to tackle their stress well.
Is Dog Ear Taping Cruel And Illegal?
When people try to fix a chihuahua’s ears, they go for ear taping and cropping. But just blindly following everything on the internet is not correct.
Taping your chihuahua’s ears can make them uncomfortable. As a result, they tend to scratch their ears more often. This can increase the risk of ear infections in chihuahuas.
Coming to ear cropping, it is basically cutting a part of the outer ear flap to make the ears upright. It is considered illegal in the United Kingdom, however, the US allows it for some breeds.
But should you do it? Well, the potential risks from ear cropping outweigh the advantages it has. First of all, it is an avoidable and unneeded surgical process that will cause pain to your chihuahua.
Second, any surgery involves risks of infections and bleeding post the process. In severe cases, the ear has to be amputated as well.
Thus, we believe you should accept your chihuahua as it is and make sure they are happy!