Tail docking and ear cropping are two surgical procedures that some dog breeds go through shortly after birth. Though these procedures are common in breeds like Pitt Bulls, Great Danes and
Dobermans, an increasing number of animal welfare organizations and veterinarians are against them arguing that they pose unnecessary risks to our pets. Here are some facts about tail docking and ear cropping that you may not know about:
This practice is banned in several parts of the world, including the U.K. and Australia. In the United States, however, tail docking in unregulated. This means that it’s not controlled or banned. Docking
involves removing part of or all of a dog’s tail with surgical scissors. It’s generally performed by a breeder or veterinarian when a dog is some days old while the tail is still soft.
Supporters of docking argue that it reduces the chances of injury in dogs. For instance, they say that farm and hunting dogs that have the tails removed have fewer chances of injuring them while herding or chasing. Others also think that docking the tail of energetic breeds such boxers can prevent them from hurting their tails when they thump them against dog crates or walls.
Why Some Think That Docking Is Bad and Unnecessary
However, opponents of the practice think that tail docking is purely a cosmetic surgery meant to give dogs a certain look. Since it’s done without anesthesia, the pain your young dog goes through during
and after the surgery can be intense as you can imagine.
Other than that, docking has no other health benefit to puppies. On the contrary, it poses serious risks to them. For instance, several studies show that intact dog tails are less likely to become
injured, and when they do, the injuries are generally insignificant and heal pretty fast. So, when you dock your pet’s tail, it creates an injury, which might take longer to heal, making him irritable when the tail is touched. The docked tail may also develop a nerve tumor.
As if that’s not enough, docking may also interfere with the ability of your young dog to relate and interact with other dogs. Wondering how? Dogs usually wag their tails as a way of communicating
their emotions (excitement, anger, etc.), so when you remove part of or all of their tail, they won’t be able to express their feelings properly.
This procedure is performed on dogs between 6 and 12 weeks. It involves cutting off about two-thirds of a dog’s ear (usually the floppy part). After surgery, the ears are taped and bandaged on a hard surface for a number of weeks with the hope that when they heal they’ll stay upright. While most procedures are successful, some end up botched giving your dog a horrendous look.
Just like tail docking, ear cropping is an elective cosmetic procedure that’s done mainly for the benefit of dog owners who prefer upright ears to floppy ones. Apart from improving the appearance of dogs, supporters also say that ear cropping can help fight off ear infections.
But several animal welfare organizations and veterinarians think otherwise.
According to experts, about 80% of dogs don’t get ear infections at all. That includes dogs with cropped and uncropped ears.
It’s a dog’s genes that will make him susceptible to chronic ear infections and not his long floppy ears. Therefore, the belief that ear cropping reduces the risks of ear infections is misguided.
All in all, the decision to have your dog’s tail docked or ears cropped is totally up to you. However, be sure to consult your vet first to avoid doing something that can put your pet’s health at risk.