I’ve noticed that my dog has a little slit/pocket-thing on his earflap. Is this normal? What is it?
What’s That Earflap in The Heights
Dear What’s That Earflap,
What your dog has is very normal. In fact, this little ear pocket even has a name…”Henry’s Pocket,” or, in scientific speak, a cutaneous marginal pouch. Nearly all domestic cat ears have this little pocket, but not all dogs do. If they do, it’s located at the outer base of the external ear.
The Henry’s pocket is more commonly found in dogs with upright, erect ears and/or thinner coats. Chihuahuas, Boston Terriers, Corgis, and Pugs are a few examples of dog breeds that have the pocket.
So what purpose does the Henry’s pocket serve in the ear anatomy? No one knows for sure, but here are a few guesses:
• Aids in the detection of high-pitched sounds by accentuating lower pitches.
• Serves as a barrier or corral for sound waves – when dogs tilt or angle their ears, they’re allowing the pouch to function in this manner.
• Makes it easier for dogs to fold or flatten their ears, sort of like an accordion pocket in luggage.
As with all other types of ear flaps and skin folds, the Henry’s pocket creates a dark, moist, bacteria, and parasite-friendly environment. Keep an eye on it in order to ensure that it stays clean to avoid ear infections or other ear problems, and don’t fret if you see your vet taking a peek in there. Ear cleanings are an important part of your pet’s care, especially for dogs with floppy ears like Coonhounds or Cocker Spaniels. Use an ear cleaner or ear wash and cotton ball or wipes, and get rid of all the gunk that collects in the outer edges of the dog’s ear to make sure that your pet’s ears are healthy and happy.
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