Instructions on the pipe foam method of dog ear taping for cropped ears.
Remember, there are different methods of dog ear taping with pipe foam. This article outlines one method that is successful for us and has resulted in beautiful standing ears:) The pipe foam method of ear taping has become quite popular. In most cases however, the post method is used for a month or so following the initial surgery.
Using the post method of dog ear taping for the first month or two will help assure a properly developed ear bell and offer required support for the young pup's ear tissue. Once the dog's ear bell is established and the ear cartilage has stiffened, the foam method of dog ear taping is a great choice. Foam supports are much more comfortable for your growing Dane than rigid supports like tongue depressors and cardboard tampons.
- Pipe insulating foam for 3/4" or 1" copper pipe.
- Medical adhesive tape like 3M or Johnson & Johnson, both 3/4" and 1-1/2" wide.
- (Alternative) "Stick to itself" bandages, see "Teri's Tip" towards the bottom of the tampon/post method page.
- If necessary.. Medical adhesive such as Skin Bond, Skin Prep pads and medical adhesive cleaner.
- Antiseptic wash, hydrogen peroxide 3%, cornstarch powder.
With any method of dog ear taping, it is important to watch for signs discharge, wetness, redness and odor. Keep a close eye on your dog. Constant scratching or head shaking can be an early warning sign that something has gone awry beneath the dressing! In any event, if you notice something out of the ordinary, remove the tape so ears can "breath" for a while. Typically, it is OK to leave the ears "taped up" for 5 to 7-days or so without a problem.
Take the opportunity to clean and inspect the ears while the tape is removed. Give them ample time to dry out and breathe. Don't leave the ears down for more than one day, unless of course there are signs of infection. Leaving the ears un-taped for long periods or allowing the dog to sleep on semi-rigid ears, will most likely reverse any progress you have made with cartilage development!
Keep on taping until the ears stand proud! Stay patient, from time to time a nicely standing ear can bend or flop for no apparent reason. Maintenance dog ear taping is not uncommon, you may need to tape an ear occasionally until it is truly set.
This article discusses the "foam method" of dog ear taping plus construction and placement of the foam stay. In the beginning, it's good practice to have the ears stick to the foam stay using either reverse wrapped tape or adhesive.
As the ears "firm up" you can decrease the length of foam that goes downward into the bell and offer much more comfort to you Dane:)
Over time, the bond between foam and inner ear will no longer be required. At this point of your dog ear taping adventures, simply coat the foam with cornstarch powder and tape the ears around them.
Cut a piece of pipe foam the approximate length of your dog's ear, bell to tip. The shape should look similar to the red outline on our sketch. Trim and taper the piece as needed to achieve a nice matching fit. Dry fit the stay to assure proper shape and make any adjustments here. Once satisfied, ready your dog's ears by cleaning with antiseptic wash and leave them to dry.
About this drawing: Our Dane profile does not illustrate the curve of the ear. The red outline is the finished shape of the foam stay. Pipe foam is round and the ear should curl around this rounded piece nicely.
TIP: In the event that your foam stay isn't rigid enough to keep the ear from folding in the middle, glue or tape a Popsicle stick or similar rigid object to the inside of the foam piece.
Wrapping the Foam Stay
We are now ready to wrap the foam stays with tape. This can be tricky, using 1-1/2" tape folded over on itself to act as a two sided tape usually works best. Due to the odd shape and angles of the stay it is also difficult to wrap a piece of tape continuously, using numerous 4" pieces will be much easier.
Once the posts are nice and sticky (with tape or adhesive), go get your Dane:) Hold the ear up straight and press the stay firmly against the inside of the ear. Have some 4" pieces of 3/4" tape ready and wrap from the opposite side of the post at three areas. One as close to the base as possible, one wrap in the middle, and a wrap about 1/2" down from the tip.
Grab the roll of 3/4" tape now and beginning at the base, start wrapping upward all the way to the tip. There is a small flap of skin at the base of the ear that should be folded back under the tape.
After both ears are wrapped up, cut a 16" piece of 3/4" tape. Hold the ears in correct position and use the tape to connect the bases together. Length of this linkage will have to be adjusted at times if the ears begin to fall inward or outward.
Many dogs have a knack for destroying the tape-job by head shaking, scratching, and a variety of other crafty tricks. If your Dane is destructive try substituting the reverse tape wrapping on the foam stay with Skin Bond or similar medical adhesive. Our goal is to keep the foam pieces in-place!
Ears should first be prepped with Skin Prep or similar solution to remove the oils and dirt. The glue works awesome and usually holds for a week until ear oils eventually break down its bond. Most medical adhesives have a cleaner that should also be on hand to remove the old glue in between ear taping.
Tip: When using Skin Bond or adhesives for dog ear taping, be sure to wipe out the ears with Skin Prep pads. Oils in the ear can interfere with glue adhesion, the prep pads will neutralize the oils.
While wrapping tape around the ear, don't wrap to tight, this can cause circulation loss and tissue damage! We are trying to "lay" the tape around the ear, use just as much tension as required, don't over do it.