Dog Breed Info

Clippering the Ventilation Strip

Area for the ventilation strip is a narrow line that is clippered at base of ear directly in front of ear canal opening to allow for air flow. A #10 blade or closer is used, depending upon thickness of coat and blade used on cheeks. Aside from keeping area clean to prevent odors and creating ventilation to help prevent ear infections, trimming this area creates a more groomed appearance.
The ventilation strip area is not trimmed on all breeds and it is very important to understand when to trim and when not to trim. It is not trimmed on breeds with erect ears. For example, if coat is trimmed on West Highland Terrier, hair required to create round head appearance is missing and frontside of ear is exposed. The Scottish Terrier is another breed with erect ears with very little hair in ear canal and coat around base of ear is required to create the signature tufted ear trim style.
Trimming ventilation strip area is applied to breeds with drop ears such as American Cocker Spaniel and is automatically clippered when cheeks and top portion of the ears are shaved. The area is also trimmed when muzzle and cheeks are clippered on Poodle. Dogs with drop ears that are full coated are typical candidates for trimming ventilation strip. Clipper with or against lay of coat. Direction is determined by color and density of coat. Never use scissors or thinners because area can be easily cut or pinch using these tools.

A ventilation strip is a narrow line at base of ear directly in front of ear canal opening that is clippered to create ventilation to help prevent odors and ear infections. The area is also trimmed to achieve correct head styles.

Ventilation strip is trimmed during Prep Phase on breeds with excessive coat in ear canal to prevent pulling wrong hair. Clippering is repeated during finish phase to achieve best finish. For dogs with little or no hair in ear canal, ventilation strip is clipped during finishing phase to prevent repeating procedure. .

Pet is placed on grooming table and ventilation strip is clippered during prep and finish phase.

Trim area with #10 blade or higher. Clipper with or against lay of coat. Direction is determined by coat color, coat density and ear and head trim style.

Blades - #10,#15,#30

Be Prepared for Pet's Reaction
Trimming ventilation strip utilizing clippers can cause dog to respond in negative manner due to sound of clippers and vibration of blade when placed near ear area. Be prepared for pets reaction as soon as clippers are turned on and blade is placed near ear.

Dogs often get very nervous around their ears. Check safety loop and make sure it is adjusted properly. Massage opposite ear as a calming and distracting technique. If dog resists and begins to struggle, stop procedure and ask a salon buddy to assist you. After task is complete, use both hands to massage ear area to praise dog for allowing you to complete task.

Procedure: Clippering Ear Ventilation Strip on Dog
Trim area in front of ear canal opening to create ventilation.

Pet's Position: Sitting or Standing,
Professional's Position:
  • Stand in front of dog and gently secure head.
  • Use both hands to gently massage both ears.
  • Bring one hand forward and gently hold underside of muzzle.
  • With other hand, lift ear leather to expose ear canal.
  • Use clippers to trim thin strip at base of ear in front of ear canal.
  • Complete same procedure on other ear.

Safe & Gentle Handling
Trimming ventilation strip before removing coat from ear canal helps prevent pulling wrong hair because you can see what grows in canal and what coat is growing on cheek. Always use clippers and never scissors. Always clipper toward ear canal opening, with lay of coat.

Pets with Special Needs
Trimming ventilation strips on dogs with coated drop ears with history of ear infections help maintain more healthy ears by creating ventilation. Underside of ear leather may also be trimmed to remove excessive coat to create more ventilation.

Salon First Aid
If ear is nicked or scratched by blade, apply hydrogen peroxide to cotton ball and gently swab area and then apply pressure until bleeding stops.

Professional Image
The professional must focus on how to safely secure head of pet when conducting grooming task to maintain a professional image. Many dogs react in a negative manner creating the impression professional is hurting dog. Use soothing techniques to encourage dog before task and reward after completing task.

Clipper blades and hands should be sanitized to prevent transferring infection or ear mites from ear to ear. Sanitizing after procedure is complete prevents transferring ear mites to another dog.

Client Relations
Notification to the Pet Family
Notify pet family when trimming ventilation on dogs with full coated drop ears to help prevent ear infections and odor caused by lack of ventilation. Also notify pet family of any skin irritation due to procedure.
Recommendation to the Pet Family
Recommend pet family consider ear trim style that helps prevent ear infections by removing excessive hair from around earl canal opening

Pet Family Education
Creating excellent ventilation keeps healthy ears on man's best friend. Hair is removed from ear canal opening and on underside of ear leather by clippering to create excellent ventilation.
Pet Grooming Training