10 Must Know Reasons Why Dogs Have One Ear Up & One Down


Seeing your dog with one ear standing up may prompt you to ask, “Why does only one ear stand up on my dog?”.

A dog with only one ear standing up may look goofy, but the reason for this look may be no laughing matter. Continue reading to see what it means when a dog has one ear upright and the other down. 

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10 Reasons Why Your Dog Has One Ear Up And One Down

Dog Has One Ear Up And One Down

There are plenty of reasons why a dog may have one ear up and one down. Some of these reasons are completely innocent, while others may be cause for concern. Let’s take a look:

Your Dog Is Feeling Nervous

A fearful pooch may drop one of its ears while the other stands up. Nervous dogs will usually lower both of their ears when they’re feeling scared, but there may be times in which dogs may only lower a single ear. 

If a dog feels scared then it may try to seek comfort from you while developing lopsided ears. Read your dog’s body language at this time to discern how it’s feeling. A fearful dog shakes when it feels scared, so it should be fairly easy to tell if your dog is frightened.

If you suspect that your dog’s nerves are the reason for its droopy ear, try to comfort your dog. Perhaps finding a quiet, safe space for your dog to unwind could remedy your dog’s droopy ear. 

Your Dog Is Protecting Their Ear

A pooch that has one ear up and one down may simply be protecting its ear. Dogs encounter lots of different nuisances throughout the day, and it can be frustrating for your furry friend to get insects or other pests in their ears.

Therefore, if a bug is fixated on one of your dog’s ears, your dog may drop the ear that is being attacked. This behavior will give your canine companion a better chance of keeping pests out of its ear. 

Owners that suspect that a dog has a droopy ear because of a pest can examine their dog’s ear to see if anything is bothering their ear. Remove your dog from the area with the pests and see if they raise their ear once they feel safe. 

Your Dog May Have A Parasite

Though your dog will do their best to protect their ears from pests, there are times in which a pest will infiltrate a dog’s ear and take up residence. 

Parasites like ticks and leeches would love to reside in your dog’s ear. Moreover, ear mites are a parasitic species that have evolved to permanently reside within an animal’s ear. Having one of these parasites in an ear is an uncomfortable experience for your furry friend.

They may react by developing a droopy ear, and they are likely to frequently scratch the affected ear that has a parasite such as ear mites, ticks, or leeches.

Consult your vet if you believe that your dog might be harboring a parasite in their ear. 

Your Dog Is Listening

A dog that has naturally floppy ears may raise one ear when being attentive. A dog that is keyed into a particular sound may raise a single ear to focus on a given noise while drowning out other sounds. 

Given the incredible hearing abilities of dogs, it can be difficult for a dog parent to discern if a sound is the reason for a dog having one ear raised while the other is droopy. Dogs may be able to listen to noises that humans are not capable of detecting. 

If your dog briefly raises its ear and seems to be attentive, then they are likely listening to a sound. 

Puppies Have Naturally Floppy Ears

Those who have never owned a puppy may be alarmed when they see that a pup has droopy ears when its breed is known to have erect ears. 

Luckily, there is no need to worry about puppies that have droopy ears, for this is completely normal for a puppy. All pups are born with floppy ears because the cartilage in their ears has not developed enough to support their ears. 

The droopy puppy ear stage does not last long. Most breeds that have erect ears will develop their trademark ear shape when they are 3 to 4 months old. 

If your pup has yet to develop erect ears after 8 months of age, then you may want to check with your veterinarian to be sure that they don’t have any issues. 

Bad Diet

In rare instances, a poor diet may be to blame for a dog that has one erect ear and one droopy ear. This is especially true for young dogs. 

Dogs that are malnourished lack the nutrients and resources that they need to develop properly. Therefore, parts of their body may be deformed. 

Puppies are particularly susceptible to developing one good ear and one bad ear due to their diets since they are at a point in their lives when their ears are forming their permanent shapes. 

A puppy’s droopy ear may be able to be fixed by switching to a healthy diet. Unfortunately, sometimes the damage is irreversible and pups may be stuck with one droopy ear. 

Ear Cropping

The practice of ear cropping will alter the appearance of a dog’s ears. In some cases, it may look like a dog has one floppy ear.

Owners may crop their dog’s ears to give them a specific look. This practice changes the appearance of a dog’s ears.

Giving a dog an intimidating appearance is often the desired outcome of ear cropping. Great Danes, Pitbulls, Doberman Pincers, and several other dogs often receive cropped ears even though they have ears that are not naturally pointy.

Ear cropping is definitely not recommended, read this article by RSPCA.

Ear Infection

An ear infection is among the more common health conditions that could cause one of your dog’s ears to droop while the other stands up. Many dogs will experience an ear infection at some point during their lifetime. 

Ear infections are often caused by the otitis media bacteria. While these bacteria are not a cause for concern provided you take your fur baby to the vet, these can be dangerous if left untreated.

Ear Hematomas

An ear hematoma is most commonly the result of a preexisting infection or injury to a dog’s ear.

Ear hematomas occur when a dog ruptures one or more blood vessels within its ear. Such a condition is quite painful for dogs, and owners who suspect that their furry friend may have an ear hematoma should take their dog to the vet immediately.

If left untreated, an ear hematoma could damage the ear canal of the one ear that is afflicted with the condition.

A Previous Injury

If you notice that an adult dog seems to have a perpetual drooping ear or a cauliflower ear, then minor injuries may be to blame for its status. When dogs fight with one another, there is a high probability that the quarrel will end with one of the dogs being injured in some way.

Abandoned dogs and stray dogs are especially likely to have confrontations that result in ear problems for a dog. If it looks like a dog has animal bites or bite wounds taken from one of its ears, that is a pretty good indication that it was involved in a scuffle.

If you think that your dog was injured in a fight, be sure to take your dog to the vet immediately so they can assess damage to the ear and neck muscles.

Will My Dog’s Ear Stand Up Eventually?

why are dog ears floppy

If you own a dog with one floppy ear, you will surely be curious to know if your dog’s ear will stand up eventually or remain floppy.

Unfortunately, there is no single, affirmative answer to the question of “Will my dog’s floppy ear stand up eventually?”.

Depending on the severity of the health problem, a dog’s drooping ear may or may not stand erect ever again.

This is an unfortunate reality to accept, but in cases where ear problems cause a dog’s ear muscles to be damaged, erect ears may not be a future possibility.

Owners should take their fur baby in to see a veterinarian if they have trouble holding any of their ears upright. If a vet suggests that a dog’s lopsided ears are the result of damage to ear canals or ear muscles, then an owner may need to get used to seeing their dog’s ear flat against its head.

Adult dogs may have an especially difficult time repairing one floppy ear compared to a puppy’s ears. This is simply because puppies are still growing and more capable of healing from injuries compared to adults.

This outlook may sound bleak for some dogs, but know that many dogs can recover from an ear injury!

Even if a dog cannot recover from an ear injury, the dog’s health will not be impacted by a flat ear.

How To Prevent A Dog’s Ears From Becoming Floppy

A dog owner can take several precautionary steps to ensure that their dog never develops a floppy ear. Here’s what you can do to preserve the health of dog ears:

Clean Your Dog’s Ears Regularly

Anyone who has owned a dog knows that these animals need to be cleaned frequently. Even their ears require routine cleaning to maintain optimal health.

Careful, frequent cleaning of a dog’s ears can help keep harmful debris and other dangers out of your dog’s ears.

Owners will want to purchase a veterinarian-approved ear-cleaning solution for their dog to assist with the cleaning process.

Once this solution has been purchased, go ahead and squeeze some into an ear before carefully rubbing the solution around the ear. After a short time, use a cotton ball to remove the solution and any debris that has been collected within the product.

Many dogs will not enjoy this process, so it’s okay if your dog shakes their head a bit before you clean out the solution. Don’t be afraid to clean the outer ear of your dog during this time as well.

Don’t Allow Your Dog To Roam Freely

It may sound obvious, but preventing a dog from roaming freely is perhaps the best way for an owner to protect their furry friend.

You may have a sweet, friendly dog, but if your pooch is allowed to roam freely, another dog could harm your furry friend.

A scuffle with another dog could result in a fight that leaves your dog with one ear up and one ear down. To prevent a fight that results in a detrimental health condition, keep your fur baby somewhere that you can keep an eye on it.

How To Treat A Dog With One Ear Up And One Down

If you find yourself living with a dog that has one ear floppy and one droopy, here’s what you can do:

Try Giving Your Dog Supplements

Some supplements have cartilage-fortifying compounds that can help repair a damaged dog ear. If your pooch has ear damage, try to give it some of these supplements and see if they help the situation.

Have Patience

Treating a dog that has a droopy ear is often a matter of patience. Time is often the often thing that can heal a damaged ear. Therefore, owners should look after their dogs while they are healing and provide them with comfortable conditions for their recovery.

Remember That Some Dog Breeds Have Floppy Ears

Dog Has Floppy Ears

Some people who encounter a dog with floppy ears may wonder if this characteristic is normal for dogs. 

Before getting concerned after viewing a dog with floppy ears, remember that a specific dog’s breed may have evolved to develop ear floppiness.

While some dogs may look silly with their floppy ears, there are plenty of breeds that have been bred to have floppy ears. In fact, some of the most popular dog breeds have floppy ears. For instance, consider breeds like Labradors, the Basset Hound, retrievers, beagles, and dachshunds-all of these dog breeds have naturally floppy ears. 

Keep in mind that a mixed breed dog may look like a certain dog breed with upright ears, but some part of their lineage may cause them to instead have droopy ears.

Dog Breeds With Just One Floppy Ear?

Are there any dog breeds that naturally hold one ear erect while the other is floppy?

While it would certainly be interesting to witness a dog with these characteristics, there are no dog breeds that have evolved to naturally have one ear stand erect while the other droops. Even mixed-breed dogs are not known to naturally have one floppy ear and one pricked ear.

So, Is It Normal For A Dog’s Ear To Be Floppy?

There are no dog breeds that have evolved to naturally have one ear standing up while the other droops. It is not abnormal for one ear to be upright while the other ear droops. 

However, this behavior should not persist for more than a few minutes. If one ear seems to be perpetually droopy while the other is upright, a dog’s family should take it to their vet.