Why Do my Dog’s Ears Have Pockets of Skin?

A cat’s Henry’s pocket

After Rosie’s bath, my human started to dry her hair with a hair dryer, lifting the double-layered coat with a comb to make sure all hairs got the warm air.  Lifting open an ear to dry a small clump of hair around it, my human noticed something strange: Rosie’s ear has a pocket of skin near the base.  You can put the tip of your finger in it or open it up like a book.  What in the world is this? my human wondered.

The answer is that it is a cutaneous marginal pouch, also known as Henry’s pocket.  Though no one knows for sure what use they are, these “pockets” of skin could help dogs hear high-pitched sounds or aid them in flattening their ears.  Henry’s pockets are commonly found on dogs who have longer hair or ears that stand up.  Rosie’s pockets cannot be seen unless you lift up her ears, but some dogs’ pockets are very visible.

Because it can be dark and damp in your dog’s pockets, it is a good idea of clean them out regularly to avoid infections and to check them often for hidden fleas or ticks.

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