In some breeds, ears and tails are traditionally docked or cropped. Today, both procedures are controversial. These procedures are purely cosmetic and have no medical or health benefits. Many people and organizations believe these procedures are inhumane, and should be outlawed in this country, as they have been in others (England, Canada, Germany, Switzerland…etc). The American Veterinary Medical Association, Humane Veterinary Medical Association, Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights and the American Hospital Association all oppose the procedure and have urged the AKC to ban them. Our doctors and staff also feel that the procedures are inhumane, and do not perform them.
Why is this so?
Ear cropping is actually amputating a part of the ear. The incision is large, and there are many sutures involved. While the puppies are under anesthesia and do not feel pain during the procedure, the healing process is long and painful. The ears must be kept taped up for several weeks or months and the sutures and tape used are very itchy and irritating to the pet. Seen from the irritation, the tape will have to be replaced repeatedly. Not to mention the pet is very uncomfortable and in pain.
Frequent visits to the vet to changes the tape and bandages are necessary. Owners often find the time and money required problematic. Failure to provide the diligent aftercare often leads to complications. Infections and/or failure of ears to stand are common, even after all the haste in preparation.
It is obvious to most caring individuals that putting a puppy through anesthesia risks, risk of surgical complications (infections/bleeding), and prolonged pain and suffering simply cannot be justified for cosmetic reasons. It also seems hard to justify the expense (around $600-1200).
Tail docking is the amputation of the tail, usually done without anesthesia when puppies are 3 to 5 days old. Some people will claim it isn’t painful – but rest assured, puppies scream and the mother becomes quite distraught. Why scream when it doesn’t hurt? Merciful, however, they do not go through the pain afterwards (like ear cropping).
Complications are common – the mother often lick/chews the tails open, requiring further procedures to repair them, without anesthesia (puppies are not old enough at 3 to 5 days). Infections can occur, bleeding becomes a problem, and in spite of a proper technique, some tails may end up to long/short or badly scarred. Many dogs with cropped tails seem to suffer discomfort or extreme sensitivity of the stump for life (phantom pain).
Again, caring for humans, it is hard to justify holding a puppy down and chopping off its tail.
So, why do it? For looks? Can we justify inflicting pain and suffering on an animal for looks? We can’t, therefore we do not perform the procedures, and we implore owners not to put their pets through this.*We have books available with pictures of most breeds with natural ears. Let us show you how beautiful they are, left as God intended.