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13 Weird Reasons Why Only One Ear Stands Up On Your Dog

Why Does Only One Ear Stand Up On My Dog

Your Fido’s ears often point at 6 o’clock.

One of them sticks up like it’s supposed to.

Meanwhile, the other one refuses to stand.

So now you wonder…

“Why won’t one of my dog’s ears go up?

And is this a cause for concern?”

Continue reading to find out:

  • 13 strange things that make your dog erect only one ear.
  • Whether it’s typical for dogs to have one ear up and one down.
  • When you should be concerned if your dog has one floppy ear. 
  • And many more…

Why does only one ear stand up on my dog?

Only one ear stands up on your dog due to young age, genetics, poor nutrition, or weak cartilage. But some also do this to hear better. However, they might need medical attention if it’s a new behavior. And some of the possible causes are ear mites, infection, blood clots, injuries, or wounds.

13 reasons why only one ear stands up on your dog

#1: They’re being attentive

Does your pooch only do it randomly?

And do they behave the same after their ear stood up?

If so, your Fido might be listening closely to a sound.

It’s like when you cup one of your ears when you want to hear better.

So don’t worry much.

Vets say that dogs have over 20 muscles in their ears. 

These make each of their ‘pinna’, or outer ear, move independently.

As a result, canines can receive sounds from different directions.

Thus, to hear well, alert dogs will have erect ears. 

And this means they’re paying attention to something.

Meanwhile, uneasy or intimidated canines will keep their ears pinned back.

Now, if you combine these 2…

You’ll get a Fido who’s curious but also wary of a sound they hear.

They’re still unsure if the noise comes from a threat. 

So your dog’s attentive and has one ear up and one down.

Fun fact: A study found that listening in your right ear makes you remember things better. Why? It’s because sounds received by the right ear go to the left hemisphere.

That’s a part of the brain that processes verbal info.

And they also say that this applies to animals like dogs.

So, which ear does your Fido raise when they’re attentive?

#2: Undeveloped outer ear

How old is your dog?

If they’re still a puppy, it’s normal for their age.

Your Fido’s young. So their ‘pinnae’, or outer ears, aren’t fully developed yet.

That’s why even though your dog’s lifting both ears…

They can only raise one up at the moment.

Now, why’s that?

Dogs are born deaf.

They have closed ear canals at birth. 

Plus, they have droopy ears too.

And as per experts, puppies need that silence as their ears are still fragile.

When you hear a sound, your eardrum and other parts vibrate.

Thus, if your pup’s ears aren’t ready to receive noise signals yet…

It can damage their hearing.

“So, when do puppies’ ears stand up?”

Typically, dogs can already open their ear canals at 3 weeks old.

But it’ll take time for their pinnae to become stronger and erect.

For most Fidos, this usually happens from 6 to 8 months.

That’s why if your pup’s younger than this…

Their ears are still developing.

And that could be the reason for your dog’s one-eared look.

#3: Ear mites

Only One Ear Stands Up On Your Dog Because Of Ear Mites

Once your Fido’s ears perked up, they usually stay that way.

But if all of a sudden, one of them flopped down…

There could be a problem.

So, check your dog’s ears.

Do you see any brown or black discharge inside?

How about a foul odor?

If you notice these signs on your Fido, they may have ear mites.

According to PetMD, these parasites live on:

  • Ear canals.
  • Skin surfaces.

They feed on canines’ ear and skin debris.

And a study says that dogs often get allergic reactions to ear mites.

Hence, the irritation and swelling.

That’s why if your dog has infested ears…

They’ll have ‘pruritus’ or itchy skin in that area.

And due to this, they’ll scratch and shake their heads frequently.

Also, these parasites can affect one or both ears.

So that could answer why one of your Fido’s ear flaps is down.

“But how do canines get ear mites?”

Your pooch can get these through close contact with an infected animal.

These parasites may live up to 2 months. 

So if your Fido’s infested by these mites, your vet will clean their ear canal first.

And they’ll usually give your dog:

  • Oral pills.
  • Topical medication for inner and outer ear.

Check out also:  Why do my dogs ears stink? Treatment and Prevention

#4: ‘Otitis externa’

Your pooch might also flop down an ear due to an infection.

If their external ear canal’s affected, vets call it ‘otitis externa.’

It’s the scientific term for an outer ear infection.

And this condition is usually itchy or painful for dogs.

So they’ll also show these other signs:

  • Odor.
  • Scaly skin.
  • Headshaking.
  • Skin redness.

“What may have caused this?”

  • Allergies.
  • Ear parasites.
  • Foreign bodies.

Any dog can get otitis externa.

But breeds with big, droopy ears are more prone to this, such as:

  • Cocker Spaniels.
  • Miniature Poodles.
  • Old English Sheepdogs.

And it’s due to the shape and size of their outer ears.

On the other hand…

The research found that 4 breeds have fewer chances of getting this.

And they’re the following:

  • Chihuahuas (0.20%).
  • Border  Collies (0.34%).
  • Yorkshire Terriers (0.49%).
  • Jack Russell Terriers (0.52%).

What to do?

Ear infection won’t go away on its own.

So consult your vet. Then have your dog’s ears cleaned and treated.

Warning: Experts say to avoid using home remedies like vinegar to cure this. It may only cause more swelling in your dog’s ears. And it can also lead to yeast infection.

#5: ‘Otitis interna’

How does your Fido walk with only one ear up?

If they often lose balance or move in circles…

Your dog might have ‘otitis interna.’

This time, the affected part’s their inner ear.

And based on VCA, this type of infection’s due to:

  • Yeast.
  • Bacteria.
  • Ear mites.
  • Foreign bodies.
  • Unharmful polyp in the middle ear.

Now, some infected Fidos may not display any signs.

But dogs with a more serious case will lose their balance.

And they’ll also exhibit these:

  • Head tilting.
  • Inability to blink.
  • Hesitating to chew.
  • Pawing of the affected ear.
  • Drooling in one side of the mouth.

What to do?

This condition’s more serious than otitis externa.

And to cure this, a vet must treat the underlying cause first.

Then prescribe the right antibiotics for your dog.

Note: If your Fido has this infection, put them in a cage in the meantime. Since they’ll lose their balance, it’s best to restrict their movements. And this is to avoid further injuries.

#6: Yeast dermatitis

If your dog’s ears get infected repeatedly…

It could be a sign of ‘yeast dermatitis.’

Vets say that yeast’s always present in the skin.

But due to excessive oils or moisture, this fungus can grow in numbers.

And when it does, it’ll cause skin irritation.

In addition to this, a weak immune system may also allow the yeast to multiply.

“How will I know if my dog has yeast dermatitis?”

Aside from itchy skin, you’ll also notice these in your Fido:

  • Flaky skin.
  • Musty odor.
  • Redness of the skin.
  • ‘Elephant skin’ (thickened skin).

Note: You can treat a yeast infection with an oral or topical medication.

You might also like: Why does my dog rub itself on the carpet?

#7: Ear hematoma

Besides yeast dermatitis

An infection may also result in an ‘ear hematoma.’

Experts say it’s the swelling of an earflap due to ruptured blood vessels.

Thus, the affected ear will become thicker due to the blood clot.

Plus, it’ll be heavier and painful too.

So if your Fido has a hematoma in one ear, it’ll be hard for them to raise it.

Warning: Hematomas are painful. Also, if you ignore these, they can distort your dog’s ear tissues. So have your pooch checked by an expert asap. 

#8: Weak ear cartilage

In other cases, your doggo may also have one ear down for a simple reason.

It’s because it’s not strong enough to erect itself.

This issue could be genetic if you have an adult Fido.

But if you have a pup, there’s a chance that their ear will stand up as they grow bigger.

#9: Ear injury

Ear Injury

Unlike infections, most injuries aren’t visible.

So, gently touch your Fido’s floppy ear. Then watch their reaction.

If your pooch flinches or grunts, they might be in pain.

Your dog has an injured ear so they can’t raise both of them.

And they may have gotten this from an accident.

For example, your Fido fell while playing.

Then they landed on one side of their head. And it injured their ear on that part.

Also, many parents shared that this happened to their working or hunting dogs.

Some of the Fidos got their ear stuck between tree branches.

Meanwhile, others injured it as they passed through thick bushes.

#10: Bite wounds

The ears are one of the most vulnerable parts of the body.

They’re 2 flaps of skin sticking out from the head.

So if your pooch fights or plays roughly with other dogs…

Their ears can get bitten or scraped.

For puppies, it’s often a form of play.

They need this to learn how to control their bite force. And also to interact with other Fidos appropriately.

But for adult dogs, biting can be aggressive behavior.

However, they’ll only do it for a reason.

For instance, your dog may attack another Fido if they feel threatened.

Or, when they’re being protective of you.

What to do?

To treat bite wounds, vets say to follow these steps:

  1. Remove any debris you see in the area.
  2. Apply pressure on the wound with dry gauze to stop the bleeding.
  3. Wrap the affected ear with a bandage and dry cloth.
  4. Bring your dog to the vet clinic.

After the treatment, it’s important to let your dog’s ears heal.

So vets usually tell parents to put an E-collaror cone on their Fidos.

And doing this prevents dogs from pawing their ears.

Note: Never apply any medication on your Fido’s ear unless the vet says so. It’s because it might slow down the healing of their wound. 

#11: High dose of prednisone/prednisolone

Is your pooch taking other meds?

Say prednisone or prednisolone?

It’s because high levels of these can harm a dog’s ears.

Based on experts, these meds help:

  • Relieve pain. 
  • Reduce swelling.

So they’re often used in curing:

  • Hives.
  • Arthritis.
  • Asthma.
  • Allergic reactions.

But if your Fido took too much of these…

The cartilage in their ears may get damaged.

And common signs of overdose are:

  • Fever.
  • Seizures.
  • Lethargy.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Increased blood pressure.

Note: Typically, dogs should only take these meds for up to 4 months at most. So if you suspect your Fido of overdose, discuss it with your vet.

#12: Poor nutrition

To have strong ears, puppies also need enough nutrients.

So if you have a young dog and their diet lacks protein…

It can also make one of their ears floppy.

Your Fido’s body parts are still growing.

Thus, the cartilage in their ears is developing too. 

And it needs protein to erect well.

Note: Omega-3 can also help prevent ear infections in dogs. And your Fido can get this fatty acid from:

  • Fish oil.
  • Salmon.
  • Sardine.
  • Flaxseed.

#13: It’s in the blood

Lastly, if your Fido’s an adult and they’re not showing any signs of pain…

They might have naturally unmatched ears.

So there’s no need to worry.

This case is most common in mixed breeds.

And you can see this in dogs with parents with different ear types.

Let’s say your Fido’s a mix of a Husky and an Australian Shepherd.

The former breed’s known for having erect ears.

In contrast, the latter has floppy ones.

As a result, your pooch may have one ear up and one down.

And that’s just how their ears are.

Frequently asked questions:

Is it normal for a dog to have one ear up and one down?

It’s normal for a dog to have one ear up and one down if they’re a:

  • Puppy.
  • Mixed breed.

When young, Fido’s ears are still developing.

So the cartilage, or flexible tissue inside, isn’t strong enough to support their ears yet.

Which then causes puppies to be unable to lift one side.

But sometimes, this case is also due to genetics.

Say if a dog’s parents have different types of ears.

What does it mean when one of your dog’s ears is down?

When one of your dog’s ears is down, it usually means they’re being attentive.

A sound caught your Fido’s attention. So they’re listening to it carefully.

When they do, you’ll see that their upright ear twitches.

Then, it faces towards the sound source.

And by doing this, your dog will be able to hear better.

But if it seems like your Fido’s in pain or itch, they might have:

  • Injury.
  • Ear mites.
  • Bite wounds.
  • Ear infection.
  • Ear hematoma.
  • Nutritional deficiency.
  • High levels of prednisone/prednisolone.