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    All You Need To Know About The Dog Ear Anatomy

    All You Need To Know About The Dog Ear Anatomy

    by Health / 3 min read


    Estimated Read Time: 4 ½ minutes

    Summary: In this blog, learn all about your dog’s ears! We’ll go over the dog ear anatomy and what you need to know about dog ears as a pet owner…

    Dog Ears

    Did you know that the average dog can hear around x4 better than a human, including sounds at incredibly high frequencies that human ears can’t pick up!? Your dog’s ears are kind of amazing, and far more sensitive and accurate than ours!

    Dog ears - and human ears alike - are an organ that enables hearing and also contributes enormously to the ability to balance. Your dog’s ear is made up of three parts; inner, middle, and outer…

    Dog Ear Anatomy

    a blue and beige infographic detailing the inner ear anatomy of a dog

    Inner Ear; the most complex and arguably important part of the ear. This area consists of the cochlea (which is directly responsible for hearing), and the vestibular system (which is directly responsible for balance).

    Middle Ear; this area is made up of the eardrum, three tiny bones that are contained in a small, air-filled chamber called the hammer, stirrup, and anvil (collectively known as the ossicles), the oval window, and the eustachian tube. The eustachian tube connects the back of the nose with the middle of the ear, allowing air to flow through.

    Outer Ear; this is the part of the ear that we can primarily see on our pups and they come in all shapes and sizes depending on a dog’s breed. The outer ear is called the pinna (or ear flap!), is made of cartilage, and is covered with our dog’s skin and fur. Its shape is designed to effectively capture sound waves and make sure they pass through the ear canal and the eardrum. The dog ear canal is much deeper than in human ears, and they have an outer, vertical canal followed by a horizontal canal too. Unlike people, canine pinnae can move independently of each other and freely. More than a dozen separate muscles contribute to the movement of a canine’s ear, and the entire area is dense with nerves and blood vessels.

    As mentioned, the shape of a dog’s ear varies from breed to breed. For example, German Shepherds typically have erect and active outer ears, whereas a Cocker Spaniel’s ears are typically long and dropping.

    Dogs Ears

    Infections of the ear and other ear disorders are fairly common in doggos. Because of this, your vet will examine a dog’s ears at every routine checkup and check for infection, mites, and/or foreign bodies. 

    Foul-smelling ears can often be a strong indicator of an ear infection in a dog. Read our blog about why your dog may have smelly ears here, and contact your vet to get your pup looked over. 

    Being on top of your dog’s hygiene, including cleaning their ears regularly will reduce the likelihood of them developing infections. Read our blog on how to clean a dog’s ears here


    Author Moriello, Karen A. DVM DACVD “Ear Structure & Function Of Dogs” MSD Manual: Veterinarian Manual, Oct 2020

    Author Kidd, Randy “Structure Of The Canine Ear” Whole Dog Journal, Apr 22. 2019

    "Let's Hear It For Dog Ears!" Coronado Veterinary Hospital, Feb 05. 2019

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