Why are Dog's Ears so Soft and Sensitive?
Different shapes of ears are found in dogs. Some have floppy ears, and others have straight or extra furred ears, but you all know that their purpose is the same. You might have observed that dogs’ ears are one of the softest parts of the body, but have you wondered why dogs’ ears are so soft?
Two things make a dog’s ears soft. First, the bone of the ear, dog’s ears don't have the traditional hard bones, instead, cartilage is present there. Cartilage is a softer bone, and also it is bendable. The second thing is the fur of the ear. There is a special downy type fur on the dog's ears, that is neither short nor extra grown, and it contributes to the softness of ears. Both the cartilage and the soft fur gave dogs’ ears an extra soft finish.
We’ll be discussing the anatomy and physiology of dogs’ ears in detail to know more about dogs' ears, and to know how we can save dogs’ ears from infection? And we will also discuss how dogs' ears are more sensitive than many species?
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1. How dogs' ears are made?
Puppies are born deaf. Normally, they start hearing after one week of their birth. After one week, a dog becomes able to use the incredible features of its ears. Dogs' ears are made of more than a dozen muscles. But these muscles of a dog's ear are not the actual things that make their ears exceptional. Dozens of muscles of dogs' ears are just to help dogs to rotate their ears according to the direction of the sound. Unlike humans, dogs can willingly control the motion of their ears.
Special features of the dog's hearing do not end here. There are some other special features that dogs hold in their ears. The shape of the dog ear is entirely different from many species. The ear canal of the dog is L-shaped, and also it is quite deeper. The L-shaped and deeper ear canal directs all the sound vibrations to the eardrum directly. That's why dogs can hear both high and low-frequency sounds efficiently.
Now let's talk about how dogs can hear very high and low-frequency sounds. The sound range is measured in Hz (hertz). Hz is the number of vibrations of sound per second. Every species has a special range (lower and higher) of HZ, which decides which sound is hearable for a particular species and which is not. The human range of audible sound is 20-20000 HZ.
The audible range for the dog is 67-45000, which is much higher than for humans. It means that the dog's ears are much more sensitive than humans. That's why dogs can hear the silent ultrasonic whistle, which appears inaudible for humans. You might have noticed that the dogs often react strangely. They raise their ears and acquire the surrounding area, while to you, everything is normal. It is because your four-footed friend can hear four times better than you do, so your pet might be hearing or reacting to the sound that is inaudible for you.
There are some breeds of the dog-like German shepherd and Collie. That can hear even better than the dogs of other breeds.
Along with physiology, the anatomy and outer structure of the dog's ear are also peculiar in many ways.
2. Why are dog's ears so sensitive?
According to the shape, dogs have a wide variety of shapes, like fluffy, small, large, folded, and floppy. But actually, the thing lies in the internal structure of the dog's ear. It is the inner structure of the dog's ears that makes their ears sensitive to sound. The inner structure of the ear is a funnel shape. Unlike humans who have broad ear canals, the ear canal of the dogs is narrow and deeper. The deeper and L-shaped ear canal of the dog ears directs all the sound vibrations in the eardrums, dispersing only a few.
As we have described above that; a dog's ear comprises many muscles. These muscles help dogs to move their ears according to the direction of the sound. Dogs can even move their ears independently to each other. If you haven't observed the one ear movement of your pet dog until now, then what are you waiting for. Start observing from now; surely you will be amazed to see.
This sensitivity, of the sound, is sometimes problematic for dogs because even the quieter world is not quite for them sometimes.
3. Why is a dog's ear fur so soft?
A pet parent loves all kinds of dogs. But fluffy dogs, in particular, get more love, and they are adored more. Usually, dogs have soft fur all over the body, but in particular, the fur of the ear is softer. It is actually due to the outer structure of the dogs' ears.
The dogs' ear is made up of cartilage, which is a flexible, bendable type of bone. Cartilage is a type of bone that is present in the ears and noses of many species.
The fur on the cartilaginous ear of the dog is the downy and soft type. And also the fur on the ears is shorter. So, we could sum up the debate, by saying that; it is due to the softer structure of the ears and also due to the downy type hair on the ears. Both of these features gives ears a softer texture to the touch.
4. Do dogs like it when someone scratches behind their ears?
The answer to this question is a big yes. Dogs love when someone rubs behind their ears unless it is a forceful or painful rub. Like humans, dogs also love the back ear massage. The gentle ear rub of the dog is in practice for years as a gesture of giving the mini reward. It is a kind of inexpensive and worthy treat for the dog. According to the research; rubbing the ear back area of the dog after the workout session brings a lot of relaxation to the dog. And it helps to create a strong bond with the trainer.
One thing to consider here is that; not all the rubs are adored by the dogs. As some dogs have temperament issues, they don't welcome any stranger who tries to rub their ears. And at the same time dogs don't welcome ear touch of all types. If someone touches or rubs their ear back aggressively, they will surely react violently.
Another very important thing to consider here is; avoid touching or rubbing the back ear area of the dog right after shaving. And also don't touch or rub the back ear area, if your dog has any kind of infection associated with the ear. It might give them pain, and it will aggravate them.
5. Does rubbing a dog's ears relax them?
Like the previous one, the answer to this question is also a big yes. Rubbing a dog's ear brings a lot of relaxation to the dog. As we have described, that along with the sense of smell, the hearing sense of the dog is also quite well. To maintain good hearing power, there are a lot of nerves that are present in the ears of a dog. As humans have a lot of nerves in their feet, so when someone rubs or massages our feet, we get much relaxation in the same way when someone massages a dog's ear, it gives a lot of calm to the dog. But keep in mind that massage should be gentle.
You might have heard about the hormone named Endorphin. Endorphin is the hormone of happiness for humans. When it releases in humans, it gives a sense of relaxation and happiness. In the same way, when you rub the ear of the dog, multiple neurons carry the message to the brain to release the Endorphin. The hormone when released lessens the depression level and increases the happiness in dogs. That is why dogs feel much more relaxed when you rub or massage their ears in the right way.
Some dogs are so addicted to good ear rubs that they improve their behavior and performance each day, just to get a good ear rub as a reward. So as a pet parent, you should treat your four-footed friend with a good ear rub after he did something worthwhile.
6. Why do some dogs have straight and some have floppy ears?
It is quite common to see that some dogs have floppy ears that hang down, and some have straight ears. But mostly the domesticated dogs have floppy ears. If you ever wondered why it is so? Why do some dogs have floppy, and some have straight ears? If you do then, congratulations because you are pondering the same question that our scientists pondered once. Now let's talk about the real things. Why do some dogs have floppy and some have straight ears?
The main reason for this deviation is domestication. Many theories and researches have proved that; once all the dogs have the same straight ears, then the domestication of the dog started. This trend of the domestication of the dog spread like bush fire. In domestication, dogs have lost many of their characters, and straight ears are one of them. During the domestication, the ears of the dog lost many of the neural crests (neural crests determine the structure or texture of the organ and tissue). This evolution is called domestication syndrome, and it has taken hundreds of years. Although floppy or straight ears have no difference in hearing ability, generally, floppy ears are more admirable by many pet parents.
7. How to take care of a dog’s ears?
The exceptional hearing ability of the dog’s ear is quite enticing, but at the same time, taking care of the dog's ear through a lot of challenges and managing the floppy ears is even more difficult. As we have described that the dogs have a narrow and long ear canal. The narrower ear canal is more prone to infection. Bacteria and other microorganisms grow in the narrow ear canal of the dog very proficiently. And makes the ear of the dog smell worse and also creates deadly infection if not treated well.
Timely grooming and cleaning of the dog's ear are important things to avoid any uncertain conditions.
Ideally, you should check the dog's ears daily to avoid the growth of any unwanted microorganisms. If you see any dirt or unwanted growth in the inner ear of the dog, then clean that surface immediately with the cotton bud wetted with alcohol or with any antiseptic. If you notice any kind of sustained infection in the inner ear, then don't try to remove it by yourself because you might worsen the condition. In this condition seeking a veterinarian's help is the best choice. Keep in mind that giving your dog a regular bath can be harmful to his ears because if wet ears are left unchecked, it would be the favorite place for the microorganisms to grow. Most ear infections spread because of wetness. The most common symptoms of these kinds of infection are:
- Bad ear smell
Maintaining the ears of the dog is super easy. There are many things that you can do to avoid the ear infection of the dog. Many ready-to-use products are available in the market. You can use them to clean your dog's ear thoroughly. Otherwise, you can use any antiseptic solution to clean the dog's ear.
Dogs' loyalty is not the only incredible feature dogs have. There are many others like; the sense of sight and sense of smell. We have described how dogs can hear the sound that appears to be inaudible for many species. In the same way, dogs have two different structures of the ear. Some have floppy ears, and some have straight ears. The floppy ears are due to evolution that happens due to the domestication of the dog.
As you have read above, the skin of dogs' ears is quite soft and sensitive, and at the same time. Their skin is more prone to infection. So, if you are a pet parent, then be very careful to maintain the health and cleanliness of the dog ear, to avoid any hassle.