From talking with owners on the
PetDiabetes mailing list, ear pricks are generally not used on dogs.
However, Leo was successful in using this method for on Duffy,
a diabetic Schnauzer he fostered. Since it worked for them, this
method might be an option for you and your dog.
Schnauzers are groomed so the hair inside the ear is very short. I kept it
completely pulled off Duffy so the blood pools easier and doesn't get spread
through hair. This doesn't bother dogs; the majority of the ear seems not to
feel pain. Only the cartilage where the flap is seems to feel pain. For
other dogs I would keep the insides of the ear shaved completely, and pull
out the hairs as it grows. I think it would work on any breed if the hair on
the inside is kept short or removed and if the ear is large enough to
squeeze out a drop of blood. Dogs with cropped ears might have trouble with
this method since usually only the cartilage part is left behind and that
hurts when injured.
Duffy and I had a routine. I fed him, then let him out. I got the glucometer,
inserted the strip, opened the lancet and got it ready, and had out a piece
of wet paper towel. I sat down and called him. He comes every time he's
I picked him up and cuddled/kissed/snuggled for a minute or so. Then I had
him lie down on my lap. I would turn him so the ear I was going to prick was
away from me, the inside of the ear facing away. I alternated ears.
When it's hot there's plenty of blood in his ears and the inside is pink. In
the winter his ears are white and cold. When they're cold, I compress an ear
VERY tightly, held flat between my hands, for 30 seconds, then let the blood
flow, and keep alternating until the ears are pink. I don't have to do this
in the summer.
I'm right handed. For lefties, just change right for left below.
Then I held the ear clamped at the base between my left thumb and the side
of my left palm and index finger. I did this until the ear was very pink
with pooled blood. If you squeeze too hard you stop the inflow of blood too,
but that wasn't too much of a problem.
I would then slide the clamped hand toward the tip and the blood would be
squeezed up the ear. The ear would be lying on my left thumb. When the ear
was good and pink I would take the lancet in my right hand and prick him
with the lancet, but only about halfway the length of the lancet. I did it
slowly and carefully, which he didn't seem to mind. Lancets are longer than
dog's ears are thick and if you just jab it goes through. I pricked against
my thumb so I would know not to go too deep.
I found it best to prick at least 1/2 inch from any edge of the ear. There
was more blood there.
Then I would carefully set down the lancet, take my right hand, hold the tip
of his ear, and press the ear down against the left thumb. This usually
squeezed out enough blood.
If it didn't, I would reposition, let go of the ear, and fold it in half, so
the tip and the base were together, the middle of the ear folded, and the
inside of the ear with the prick facing out. Then I would use both thumbs on
one side and both index fingers on the other, and squeeze blood from the
base and tip of the ear to the center. This would almost always work.
On rare occasions I'd have to stick him twice.
I had a glucometer that needed a relatively large drop of blood, but this
wasn't a problem. I can't remember the name because we gave it to Duffy's
I always looked on the other side of his ear for a blood spot in case I went
too deep. Then I used the piece of wet paper towel to wipe off any remaining
blood, and I held pressure on the prick for about 20 seconds.
While waiting for the glucometer to register I cuddled him some more.
Duffy didn't mind any of this at all. It almost seemed like it didn't hurt
him at all. Everybody who saw me do it was amazed that he didn't even react.
--Contributed by Leo and Duffy