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Plastic Surgery For Dogs: Dog Ear Crop and Tail Dock

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Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing, and healthcare.

Stylize Your Dog

No, I'm not speaking in terms of doggy clothes and accessories. No bling- bling collars or jeweled leashes. I'm thinking more in terms of plastic surgery for dogs. It's not necessarily a new thing, a new trend, a new style. Dog's don't care what they look like, but people do...

Basically, those interested in ear cropping and tail docking procedures are not looking out for anything but their own ego and how they appear walking the dog that is missing at least 2/3 of his ears. Dogs are not accessories; dogs are not pawns in the human game; dogs are man's best friend...

Would you have your best friend's ears cut off just because you think he'd look better? Now, ok, that's really a different situation, but you get my meaning.

Where in most countries, it has become illegal to dock a puppy's tail or crop his ears, that's no the case in all countries. It's time to become illegal in all countries...

Dogs don't know style. Dogs know, or at least need to know, love, care, and kindness.

Ear Cropping

How Does Ear Cropping Work?

  • Puppies between the age of 7 to 12 weeks old, are the best candidate for the procedure- think about that. You're putting this small pup under general anesthesia, which poses a risk for any dog, especially puppies.
  • The veterinarian gently cuts away on average 2/3 of the puppy's ears, this includes all the nerve endings and acupuncture zones within the ear.
  • The opened ears are closed with stitches from the bottom up.
  • Once the wound heals and the stitches are removed, the puppy isn't done yet. He has to go through months of ear taping, which even to me just looks uncomfortable.

In some ear cropping cases, the ears still don't stand properly, which means another surgery for your puppy. Many Great Danes pose this concern. And, think about it, the older the puppy, the longer it will take to heal. If you choose not re- crop the ear, then he's stuck looking uglier than he ever looked. So, you just may not get the same ego boost with a dog with a goofy ear.

Many people claim that ear cropping doesn't cause the pup any pain, but think about it, when you go into surgery, get cut open, and wake back up, you usually feel some kind of pain. Some people say, "I had my dog's ears cropped when he was a puppy he never showed signs of pain." Well, to that I have to say:

  1. Just because the puppy didn't show any signs of pain, doesn't mean he wasn't in any. Some dog breeds are able to hold their pain and illness better than others.
  2. When the pup hit his head or ear on something when playing or accidentally scratches it because, face it, healing wounds itch, and he yelped... He was in pain.

There is absolutely no medical benefit for cropping any dog's ears. There's just no proof that cropping dog's ears reduce the risk for ear infection. It's you, the owner's, responsibility to clean the dog's ears from debri. It's just not a quick fix to irresponsibility to cut them off; you still have to clean his ears.

Many dog breeders believe that certain breeds have to have their ears cropped to be successful in the show ring. Well, the ears have absolutely no determination as to whether the dog wins or losses. He will have the same, equal chance, as any other dog. Natural- eared dogs can and do with best in show competitions.

And, lastly, when you crop your dog's ears, you inhibit communication with other dogs. Body language is the key to dog communication, and when you remove 2/3 of the dogs ears, you remove valuable communication skills.

Wait, one more thing. When you remove a dog's ears, he may have phantom scars and wounds for the rest of his lift, which can result in behavioral problems. Ever heard of phantom limbs? It works the same way.

Dog Ear Cropping





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Tail Docking

How Tail Docking Works?

  • All the hair on the tail is shaved so to properly sterilize the tail.
  • A tourniquet is applied to stop the bleeding.
  • A clamp is placed on the desired length of the tail, which is usually determined by breed.
  • A scalpel is used to cut off the rest of the tail.
  • Stitches are put in place to prevent the wound from opening, and the tail is bandaged.

A puppy's tail is generally docked when he's only a few days old. Many breeders prefer to dock their own puppies' tails, but this is unsafe and unsanitary, so professional veterinarians should perform the procedure, if you must have it done.

Although, there is more debate about tail docking than ear cropping, personally, I find no real excuse for it.

Working dogs and hunting dogs that are true workers and not just in the category, may actually benefit from the procedure, as when running through the brush which chasing or flushing out game, it can prevent injury to the dog. But, there's no reason to remove the entire tail.

Like a dog's ears, his tail is very important for communication with other dogs. He needs his tail to show pleasure, fear, friendliness, dominance, playfulness, defensiveness, inquisitiveness, aggression, nervousness, and submissiveness.

Docking Young Puppies' Tails

Other Resources

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. If you have any questions or concerns, you should consult a veterinarian.


What do you think?

Stupid people are annoying on March 20, 2015:

Dear dumbass writer. This is all I have to say get your facts straight before you become a critic about what is best for the dog. Have you ever owned a doberman, dane, boxer etc. I doubt you have. I have and will continue to own dobes and make sure they are cropped and docked. The real cruelty is floppy ears. They rip, snap, get torn up in play, and cause a great deal of health problems for the dogs that are unfornate to have this curse. Not only that but many of these dogs need their tails docked due to insufficient muscles, and bones meaning they can break much easier. What would you rather do? Remove the tail before it becomes a broken tail ? or Risk it.

Btw any doberman owner will tell you that the puppy doesnt seem to mind it at all. I know this is a fact mine sit perfectly for cleanings then go about there day. Nothing has ever changed in dog after.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on June 30, 2013:

I wrote a very long comment, which I then tried to edit only to have it "freeze up" in the edit box, so I lost it. I can't recall everything I wrote so I'll write a shorter version.

The vet confirmed that the reason my dog has "worried" at the end of her docked tail ever since I got her as a puppy is due to the "phantom pain" similar to that described by human amputees. Research has proven that dogs have a similar pain threshold as humans; therefore, when they sustain similar injuries or surgical procedures, they do feel similar pain.

My late stepfather was an amputee late in his life, and he described both the physical and psychological misery of the phantom pain he felt. Knowing that dogs can feel that same phantom pain makes me angry that my dog's breeder chopped off her tail for no other reason than to alter her appearance, with no thought to how it might affect her. Anyone who agrees with tail docking (or ear cropping) for cosmetic reasons alone cannot honestly claim to love dogs.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on June 30, 2013:

My dog is an eight-year-old miniature schnauzer whose tail was docked by the breeder, but her ears were left floppy. Her ears stand out from her head except for the ends which curve down a bit, so she's not been prone to ear infections. Also, she's never had jaunts through wooded areas so hasn't sustained any injury that might occur from running through underbrush.

However, even as a puppy she "worried" at the end of her little stub of a tail, as though it were bothering her in some way. After she was a few years old, it felt as though a tiny piece of bone or gristle was at the tip just under the skin, so I thought that might be what was causing her to nip at the end of her docked tail.

I wondered, though, if dogs with docked tails could possibly feel "phantom pain", such as that experienced and described by human amputees. I finally asked the vet if that could be the case, and she said it is. She hates docking tails, but does so with anesthesia so that breeders won't do it themselves with nothing to prevent pain to the puppy. She wishes the practice would be outlawed in the USA.

I did some research and found veterinary research that determined the

similarity between the human and canine nervous systems. This means that dogs will suffer pain of similar intensity to that of humans if they sustain a similar injury or undergo a similar surgical procedure. "The pain threshold has been determined to be approximately equal in humans and animals (Fleeman 1995). " This study disproved the old myth that animals don't feel pain as humans do.

This research also confirmed that 90% of human amputees suffer pathological pain in the form of phantom limb pain, and dogs with docked tails may similarly suffer phantom limb pain. That pain may go undiagnosed if their inherent stoicism masks the symptoms.

I would never purposely have the tail of a dog docked now that I'm aware it can cause phantom pain, which I fully believe my dog experiences every day of her life. It makes me angry that the breeder chopped off her tail as a cosmetic procedure with no thought to how it would affect the dog.

My late stepfather was an amputee late in his life, and he told me about the severity of the phantom pain he suffered and the psychological misery it caused him. I would not wish that on anyone--human or canine. Anyone who would cause that to a dog for no reason other than cosmetic appearance cannot honestly claim to love dogs.

Voted Up++


Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 29, 2012:

I just want to refute a serious error in your article and also in the propaganda put out by anti-ear cropping people. There are medical benefits to ear cropping. I have had many floppy ear dogs presented for ear infections and aural hematomas but never had problems with dogs with cropped ears. My own dog bathes in the ocean every day and I have cropped her ears so that they will stay open.

Ear cropping should not be illegal everywhere, only in those countries where people don't understand dogs

Quin on May 22, 2012:

How can people say this is bad and unhumane its just like a baby getting his foreskin snipped or getting there inbilicule cord Cutt so shut up and stop bitching

Shaddie from Washington state on May 09, 2012:

Canines in the wild do not have floppy ears. If you want to talk about cruelty, consider the fact that we humans have willingly bred these animals to have folded, limp ears that promote humid environments within the ear canal, and in severe cases, depending on the breed, can even inhibit hearing. This, in and of itself, is an UNNATURAL occurrence in the wild. I am a firm supporter of ear cropping in Dobermans, not only because it is the historical look that their creator, Dobermann, intended out of the breed, but also because it actually does create less of a chance for ear infection and mechanical injury during close contact (playing, possibly fighting, etc).

I also agree with docking. In part for the history behind the appearance, but more so because a docked tail is more efficient in close, frantic quarters and is extremely beneficial to a working or high performance animal. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to break up fights at dog parks or dog kennels where a quick removal and speedy segregation is impeded because the dang tail of the stupid dog gets slammed in the door of the room that we are trying to close off. Tail injuries are extremely painful for all dogs, and understandably this is not ideal. I have personally witnessed the safety of docked tails in the field and in busy indoor practices, and I fully support any veterinarian that performs this procedure safely.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on February 20, 2012:

This is a very informative hub. The decision rests with the dog lovers, but I guess my decision is already made :-)

Jared on February 02, 2012:

Just seems like there is so much else to worry oneself about in this world. For example, male and especially female circumcision. To me, this is far worse a custom, yet it is still done routinely even in modernized countries such as the US.

macho on January 12, 2012:

Ya need to learn to mind ur business for real is it ur dog??? Then mind ur own..

Zellner on December 25, 2011:

Cropping a dog bred specifically for guarding a home and family is necessary. Ask yourself this...If you were you be an intruder and you walk in and see the doberman pictured uncropped what would you do? Now ask yourself the same question and imagine the ears tightly cropped. You see intimidation is half the battle. Uncropped the dog has the attack to show its not a harmless hound dog and it has more exposed weak areas to get ahold of. Most the time the dog with the crop scares people off with just the raise of the upper lip. not to mention if he actually did have to attack everything on his body is tight, out of the way, and unable to grasp.

hubber088 from Baltimore, MD on December 17, 2011:

Let dogs be dogs. No unnecessary plastic surgery!

Chris from Illinois on August 08, 2011:

I certainly understand why working dogs might need docking to keep them from getting injured. But for most people and dogs nowadays, docking is pure vanity.

Chris from Illinois on August 03, 2011:

As a forever home for rescued rottweilers, we have had two with beautiful rottie natural tails. I can't imagine putting a dog through such pain. And the American Veterinary Assoc. has done an informational vote to ban the practice, but many still do it. Maybe they should be charged with animal cruelty.

Meg on May 17, 2011:

I grew up with Great Danes and they all had their ears cropped. When I got "my" first dane I did not crop her ears because I loved them floppy. She had beautiful ears. Three years later I got a male and DID crop his ears. My Dane with floppy ears broke both ears by shaking her head. She hit them on something and both of them bled for weeks and I could not touch them for 5 months without her growling at me (which she NEVER did before). She was in so much pain. Now which is worse? My puppy did great with his ear crop. I'm sure it hurt, but the day after surgery he was playing like normal and never acted like he was in pain like my 3 yr old dane did for over 5 months every day! I'm for choice... its up to the owner... people judge too much with out knowing what they are talking about! There are a lot of surgeries humans do that are not "necessary" to themselves or infant son.

Ham on April 13, 2011:

I don't care what yall say about not cropping a puppy's ear, i agree about NOT docking the tail but why is not okay to crop his ears its not like it's a MAJOR surgery for him, people whos agaisnt it have very sensitive feelings about that and some are ok with it. Dogs and puppies hurt themselves anyway when playing, running, fighting with each other. By the way i have 2 dogs male and female and their 7 puppies i also have feelings for them and i love them so much i don't want anyting to happen to them, but cropping my pups ears is not a big deal.

Amstaff Baby on February 08, 2011:

I had a rottweiler half my life ago and his tail was docked before I even got him. They put a rubber band around it until it fell off. I am SURE that hurt!! THAT is cruel! I had a red dobie and he was all natural with ears and a tail. No one even EVER guess what he was. Hilarious. He was a big lap dog. Decades later...I just got an Amstaff from a reputable breeder with CH all the way back to the 30's. Every one of them have their ears cropped. Mine was the only one in the litter not done, by request. I told them I'd do it here in another state. One of the pups DIED during anesthesia and was to go to a man who was going to show him. I have found out you do NOT have to have their ears done to show them. I personally like the look of their ears cropped but I just can't do it!!! He looks cute as a pup with floppy ears and I believe he is more approachable with soft floppy pup ears. He is in puppy training and then on to get his CGC and on to therapy training. I don't think it is wise to take an AMSTAFF into a nursing home or whatever looking mean. This breed already gets way too much negative press. I am not sure about everyone talking about the pain as the pups are put under for sedation and given pain killers at my local vet....laser is different. The old way of stitches and tape looks cruel to me. Anyway....this is a great post. Thanks for ALL the comments except Darrel who should keep his penis to himself.

FFS on February 06, 2011:

I cannot help but stick my beak in. It is a cruel and unnecessary process. Think about it...Would you bring your newborn child home from the hospital and think to yourself...hmm let's mutilate the little bugger, it might help him/her win a few competions later on in life. Cut and muscular...or deformed and unnatural. I fail to see why anyone would choose to derange nature.

Gina on January 23, 2011:

OMG! Did you watch the videao where they cropped that puppy's tail??? That is so cruel. The puppy obviously feels great pain, and is very distressed. And then the cow twists the tail she partially cut until it breaks off. Poor puppy is squirming, and crying out. That is so terrible, she should have her fingers taken off in the exact same manner. People are so cruel to animals. Stupid, shallow people. Burn in hell you animal torturers.

info**queen on December 30, 2010:

This is obviously a debate that will will never have a definite answer. Everone on here makes great points, but the bottom line is: it's all opinions! If the law changes to make cropping/docking illegal, people will say it's a violation of civil liberties. EVERYONE has the right to make their OWN choices. If it stays legal, we will have never ending debates just like this one.

I am a dog lover. I grew up with German sheperds in ALL colors. I have owned a miniature pinscher who had a natural tail and ears. He was too old to dock or crop when I got him. Personally I feel it's a personal choice as to dock or crop your dog. As long as it's humane. The way you portrayed the cropping and docking process is bad. Of course being against it you wild find the worst way to portray it.

Not that it meant anything to me, but a complete STRANGER argued with me for about 20 minutes about my min pin. She told me that bc he had a natural tail and ears he was a Manchester terrier, and could not be a min pin. THOSE are the ignorant people you should he arguing with. I know my breed of dog and it's my choice to crop or dock. Not yours. If you want to write subjective pieces, keep it subjective! Don't try to implant your ideas into others heads. That's what's wrong with the world today. My min pin was happy with natural ears and tails and my new baby, a boxer, is happy with her docked tail and natural ears.

Shadoe&Katie on December 26, 2010:

ok we have had a pitbull and we did not like ear cropping as well because our friend had one of the brother pups of the litter and cropped his ears. but after seeing my dog go through years of pain from his ears sometimes i think that i should have got his ears cropped . i don't believe in it but sometimes i think it is nessisary. my dog went through a lot of unnessisary pain for years when he could have went through only months. i would have taken that back if i could . but whenever i would take him to the vet the only thing he could ever find wrong was a yeist infection. but no matter what it would come back the next day and no cream they would prescribe us for him would in that i think its nessisary

Julia on December 10, 2010:

Hi, i have to say my input in this. I raise and breed and train Australian Shepherds. I have had dogs come to me as rescues with their tails, and while working with the sheep, they often have their tails broken, and have to go in and have them removed. I have had full litters with tails, and full litters without tails. Which is natural, but i always have all of my litters spoken for before birth, and before they are 24 hours old, it is decided which ones are working dogs, and which ones are family pets. If they go with a family, they leave with their tail, if they go to a farm they leave without their tail. It has always been like this, as it is safer for the dog. And farm dogs have protect their yard, land, and stock. So when another dog comes into their yard, they have to get that dog off the property, so they fight. In not having the tail, they have less chance of getting caught. But when they are with a family, then yes, they should have their tail to wag, and be happy, and show it. My own personal dog, that goes everywhere with me, was born with a naturally docked tail. And to be honest, she wiggles her bum so much that it is easy to see when she's happy.

I do have a request though, that you debate the subject of "lethal white" or "double merle" dogs. They are the consequence of breeding two merle dogs together, and end up being blind, deaf, or both.

Any feedback is appreciated.


Dracqla666 on November 28, 2010:

Would you still be mad, if it had to be done? My dog kaiba is amazing, but has trouble with dealing with her hyper tensions. she gets so excited, i can deal with the barking, jumping, running and smuggling. But its the whacking, smacking and slapping of her overactive tail thats gets me and everyone else around her. I know she can't help it, but it's beginning to alienate everyone around her and me. some of my friends don't even want to get close to her. The worst part is she's around little kids most of the time and they don't know about her whirling tail of death. So long story short, she makes them cry and now their afraid to be around her. So i started to think of getting it docked, but not so sure about it. It's like i'm going to be taking her trade mark away. She's know for that tail, but it would make everything better for everyone else. she would be able to be around everyone without hurting anyone and i'm also a little scared of her breaking it on something. So yeah just message me later.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on October 25, 2010:

The dog probably is mixed with a pointer, as I've seen this before with a litter of lab/pointer mixes all with different tail lengths.

No, there's nothing you can do. If you aren't happy with the tail length, then maybe you shouldn't have adopted that particular dog.

I do not suggest adopting a dog with the hope that you can fix cosmetic flaws.

Foyne on October 24, 2010:

I just got a rescued lab and she only has half her tail. Is there any sort of operation or way to recreate the other half of her tail?

Juggs on October 21, 2010:

I believe that if we ban ear cropping and docking, that it should be illegal for a woman to have a boob job or a face lift. It's only cosmetic. They must really be vain.

DEANO on October 19, 2010:

I live in the Uk where ear cropping has been illegal for years and quite rightly so. Why would anyone want to make a naturally beautiful animal look like a reject from star trek. not to mention the fact that it is cruel. Ear infections are just an excuse it was originally done for fighting dogs so they didn't get their ears ripped so why in this day and age is there any need

Pam on October 16, 2010:

I am looking to get my APBT ears cropped. not because i think he will looked better. when i got him i never wanted to get his ears cropped, but he gets really bad ear infections that cause him pain and discomfort. I understand that when they do it it will be painful for a little while, but im sure he would agree with the after affects later. This poor guy cant sleep well because of his ear itching, and has to stop every 10 minutes while playing to scratch them. at least every 3 days we have to pin him down and pour ear clenser down his ears just to keep the itching to a minimum. do i think he will look meaner with them, personaly no, but i am sure that more people will be afraid of him after. so maybe you should make sure you know the reason a person got their dogs ears cropped before you get on your soap box and tell people they are being cruel to their animals.

Ellie on September 29, 2010:

Well written article, but I have to disagree.

Michelle on September 24, 2010:

I am a breeder of boxers, and i do understand that you think tail docking an ear cropping is crule. We do tails before any nerve endings so its the first or secondd day they are born. I raise show dogs, and yes my dogs ear are cropped and tails are docked, and id do it again. My dogs have no problems, and even the day the pup gets ears cropped they play and jump around.

BellaWeims on July 31, 2010:

I am totally opposed to unnessecary ear cropping, unless other reason if it is for health concerns. But I am all for puppy dewclaws, they are useless, and cause a lot mor pain when they are older, if they rip or tear from playing and being stupid in a field or park. No matter how many times I see these dogs come through the clinic with them ripped, it is a lot more painful when it is to be removed when they are older then 3 day old puppies, same goes with tails. Especially, the sporting dogs, with the long whippy tails, they break or tear. I can do without tail docking, but Dewclaws is a must on all breed of dogs. Besides, my veterinarian freeze's the area prior to docking and removing the tail/declaw. So, the puppy does not feel it, if this is a common practice it is more humane. It is still the owners choice, freedom of rights, it is the same as a parent circumsing there child, it is also causing pain, but that is a whole other issue I will not get into. I know there is a ban in Europe, but they went at it the wrong way. If it is done correct and humanely it should be fine. There should be regulations set by CKC, that breeders cannot do themselves and only vets can them.

VivekSri on July 09, 2010:

It's fascinating that the innocent looking things get a canvas for customization and you've done a good help here. Cool reading thing.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on June 25, 2010:

There are a few countries who ban cropping and docking. All pets are left natural by law.

Onlooker on June 25, 2010:

in the us if they banned docking and cropping, it would be a violation of peoples rights, go figure. As for the ear infection issue, it is actually allergies and environment, a dog with allergies will have more itchiness in the ears, resulting in trauma from the scratching. Living in humid areas will also cause it, with or with out the ears cropped the air circulation is not affected because the dogs ear canal goes down before it goes in. I believe any thing done or not done to a dog should be the owners choice. Because no matter what anyone does, says or illegalizes, agreement among all is impossible. Not to say it should or should not be done, I think this energy is better spent on other things such as the horrors of the fur industry and the atrocities committed against the animals we eat. If we are going to eat them then they deserve to live what life they have in comfort and dignity as a show of gratitude for what they provide for us. Maybe once we get all that other squared away then worry about this issue. Sorry if i offend with my opinions.

Shelby on June 08, 2010:

While I am against any cosmetic surgery to an animal that would cause it pain, I find some of the comments on this site to be a bit ridiculous. Docking a dog's tail at a young age is NOT akin to cutting off a finger, like Melissa has claimed. People who are ignorant of the actual process of either docking or cropping should REALLY keep their mouths shut, as they do not contribute actual facts or help to the conversation and come off sounding incredibly ignorant. In my humble opinion, cutting a dog's ears is not natural and unnecessary in today's society, but I'm not going to froth at the mouth and accuse every single person who has had this procedure on their animal of abuse or cruelty. As for tail-docking, I think that some breeds (especially working dogs or hunters) benefit better from not having a tail. Docking a dog's tail should not be demonized when it is overall helpful and not very painful to the animal.

Whitney, I find your post written excellently, if not a bit biased, and I respect your opinion as I hope you do mine. I wish all people could be a bit more open minded and conduct themselves as professionally as they should.

Doberman Owner on May 11, 2010:

Actually there is a reason to crop certain dogs ears, such as dobermans. If they are going to be used as guard dogs, or even if they aren't they have the natural instinct, cropped ears makes it harder for an intruder to grab the dogs ears to pull it off of them.

codi on April 27, 2010:

People dock tails for safety reasons in some breeds. I have brittany spainial puppies. we docked their tails so when they are in the field there tail does not get caught on fences trees or brush and ultimaly get ripped of. yes i have seen it happen to a dog whos tail was not docked. it is very humane and actually safer

Jennifer on February 19, 2010:

I completely agree with Lacy. People are able to have their own options on if they want their dog cropped or docked. Its all cosmetic, are you going to yell at mothers when they take their 3 mo old baby girl to go in and get their ears pierced? No. I know we are not cutting off the babies ears but they cry just as much or how about circumcising men.Cropping ears and docking tails is cosmetic. There is no doubt about this. However it is a personal decision and those who have it done should not be shunned for it. My Dane will have his ears cropped, not only does it look better (in my opinion) but that is how they look in the show rink. Folks have been cropping, or shortening, their dogs' ears for thousands of years. In fact, most historians agree that it probably started in ancient Rome. It was very popular in the rest of Europe, too, at least for certain breeds.Ear-cropping used to be a requirement for some dog breeds because it was part of that breed's description standards. Breeds including, but not limited to, Boxers, Dobermans, Great Danes, and Schnauzers often had cropped ears in an effort to gain recognition among other dogs in their same breed class. Ear-cropping was preferred because it allowed working, hunting, and fighting dogs the advantage of not having their ears ripped or torn while on duty.Anyone considering having their dog's ears cropped should carefully review the potential medical complications and should plan to give absolute dedication to the follow-up care. Repeated veterinary visits are required not only for basic healing status, but also for the unplanned appointments that are necessary to fix ears that come out of the mold. A veterinary professional should be consulted and booked to perform any and all pet alterations since the use of anesthesia is required. Not all veterinarians perform the procedure, and among those who do, few consider it a form of art. In some instances, the resulting ear shape and stance may not be satisfactory. This is unfortunate because a lot of time and pain have been sacrificed, resulting in irreversible and irreparable damage

Its a personal choice. People should focus more on the idiots who buy pit-bulls for fighting reasons. These dogs are going to be banned everywhere, but in stead you are all focused on docking and cropping. COME ONE.

Lacy on February 11, 2010:

I believe certain dogs need docked tales. My breed is boxers and aussies. A working dog without a tail is nice. The tails can break very easy on dogs that were not breed to have tails. That is much more painful than have you tail docked with you are 3 days old when you tail is not even hard bone yet. They don't remember a thing just like a human male baby does not remember this cercomsition. Ears are just like getting a dog spayed it is just something we deside we want to have done. It is all cosmedic any way you look at it. The ears heal just as fast as the spaying. It is your dog and your decision. So stop telling people what is wrong and mind you own business.

Beth on February 06, 2010:

I'm not much on the ear cropping. I have a boxer with natural ears but the tail...IMO they look awful with tails and as excited as my boxer gets nothing would be safe with him whopping his tail around. I've seen poodles in australia with undocked tails because it's illegal there now to do that and they are butt ugly with those tails.

BoxerLover on February 05, 2010:


I had dogs for all my life, I never spent a day of my life with out a dog. I have a 8 1/2 year old boxer, and of course he had his ears cropped when he turned 14 weeks old; on the other hand I had two sons, and they have their penis circumsized. All of them never asked for it, dogs as babies don't talk. I have friends that do not agree and never did that to their son. I never had the oppourtunity yet to meet someone who has a girl and waits until she is old enough to have some earings hanging on her ears. As soon my daughter turned 2 weeks old, she had her first set of earings, so cute. The reason that I am comparing my dog to my kids is because they are a part of my life, they all are my family.

About those videos, if you love your dog, you should not watch it, who wants to watch a family members having a bad surgery online, or on TV? Why not to put some positive videos where they show professional vets cropping ears?

Boxers are cute no matter how they look, but it's about being a boxer and their standard having the ears cropped and tail done. I used to have a beagle, long ears, and he always had problems, scratching his ears all the time to the point that bled, and don't go there about keeping them clean, they are inside dogs. My boxer never had that problem, and yes he has clean ears, nice and perfect. I just got another boxer and I am thinking to do the same, it's not about looking good, it's about being a boxer. Now I never see a beagle with the ears cropped because they are not boxers. We can be talking and talking about the same subject that will never go nowhere, we can neutre a dog to prevent bad behavior, that is not true, I had to put my dog (a good family dog) to sleep because after that surgery he bit 7 people in 4 years, just because he was protecting the family. What about reproduction? and we can not crop ears, which is true that have consequences later, or the tail, so what are we talking about?

Shawna on January 30, 2010:

I breed Boxers and ours have floppy ears. I like them croped as well! Some times people have reasons for doing it! We are keeping a male from my male we recently studed and will be cropping his ears. We did not do my male and I regret it. He gets yeast infections in them so they have to be kept very clean and even that dosnt work all the time, on top of that, they get very stinky. I will be croping from now on for those reasons. All of these are common issues for floppy eared Boxers. I believe now it is healthier for the dog and easier on the owner. Most people against this don't understand the medical reasons aside from the cosmetic reasons. Every dog and situation is different so you cant pass judgement when you don't know what you are talking about!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 26, 2010:

It's great you did the research before you went out and just had the surgery. Give Bella a hug

jameson on January 25, 2010:

just bought a doberman she is so cute! She is 9 weeks old so I was doing research on whether to do her ears and I've decided that it would be selfish of me and no one is ever getting near my ears with scissors ( I hope) , so I will leave them natural. Her til was already docked though so can't save that! Anyway, Bella says hey :)

Natalie on January 14, 2010:

I have a Doberman purebred and just sadly had to put my purebred UK Boxer to sleep (RIP mate)...but I kept both ears as they were born! Soft and silky! My Boxer boys ears were so soft, when he used to lay next to me i'd fiddle with them for ages whilst watching the telly, he loved it and I loved feeling how velvety they were.

My Doberman is only 5mths old and her ears are HUGE but I don't want to crop them to make them stand up - it makes a Doberman (and Boxer) look fierce - which contrary to popular belief - they are not!

All dogs have 16x our hearing so do they really need to have their ears cropped for hearing!

Its purely KC rules from donkeys ago which favours cropped ears......Its like me having a child and deciding that I want her to have a certain type of nose - so I change it whilst she's daft is that.

Hypocritically - both my dogs came with tails docked and to be honest I can see why this is probably best in a Boxer - they are like whips and with the amount of jumping/bouncing and knocking into stuff they do I could see it getting damaged (I base this on my cat breaking hers in half and well if she can do it then a daft dog like our boy would as well).

We didn't have a choice with the docking but I do prefer it.

Cropped ears - NO WAY!

Brittany on January 09, 2010:

I completely agree that altering your pet for cosmetic reasons seems wrong to me. reason= unneccesary.

However, There ARE reasons for it that will make dog and owner happier and then it is= neccesary.

All the reasons Susi have mentioned throughout this thread are very notable reasons. I am sure that she is an avid animal lover and does not condone a useless altering of an animal.

bestuvall reminds me of someone like my husband. a smart person who loves dogs but believes in his dominion over them. Educated, compassionate but will not put up with one-way thinking on a subject that is less than black and white.

I have to say that I think it would be a huge mistake to make cropping/docking illegal. NOT because I support cosmetic alteration, but because I realize that every relationship between owner and pet is a unique one. Making cropping illegal for purposes other than medical will not stop it, in fact, it will elliminate the possibility for a proper veterinary procedure for those that simply insist upon it cosmetically. It will create a horrible stereotype on poor dogs that have the procedure done. Especially those altered animals that wind up in shelters. Who will want the puppy that they have to keep explaining, "Oh, no we got her this way, we didn't do this ourselves" *strange look from neighbors* i truly believe that a ban on altering will create just a negative image of altered dogs as dog-fighting has created for pitbulls, although the latter has completely different reasons than the first. "unwanted pets"

The answer to everything we don't agree with is not, "make it illegal."

I urge everyone to really think about what this would do. Let us not dwell on whether it is right or wrong or neccesary because those are opinions that will never merge.

Stopping vets from performing cosmetic cropping/docking to prevent altering is like keeping contraceptives from teens to prevent pregnancies. In both cases, it will only make the problem worse. (What makes these two things comparable? Human nature.)

Just a reminder, I have stated my opinion on cosmetic altering= unneccesary. I have also made my stand on medical altering= necessary. Making cosmetic illegal= an easy 'solution' but the negative repercussions, I fear, would outweigh the good intentions with the pet coming out suffering more than the inconvenienced owner.

Thank you for reading!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on October 10, 2009:

Tell you the truth, I don't recall ever seeing a Corgi with a docked tail, in person anyway. I've seen the pictures, but most Corgis that I've seen have their tails. *shrugs*

J M Dynes on October 10, 2009:

Love the article, but I think you should add a few of the smaller dog breeds up there. Pembroke Corgis have the same tail-docking debate going on. (Mine doesn't have a docked tail and there are so many people who don't even know that pems are born with tails.)

Shadow's Mommy on October 05, 2009:

I have a Dane with soft velvety floppy ears and they are adorable. With large dogs the long floppy ears make them appear less threating and considering the fear people have with large breeds this allows people see them in a way that better suits there sweet demeaner. In the old old days it was necessary to cut the ears to prevent them from getting shredded by wild boars and wolfs, but now days it serves no purpose and with out a medical issue should be left natural. Because there is no reason to have it done now many European countries and Australia have made it illegal to crop ears on dogs, maybe the U.S. will decide to follow suit.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 30, 2009:

Acupuncture is not jamming a needle into the dog. The needles are gently inserted, and have much less pain. Acupuncture is proven effective with many cases.

Cropping the ears has no proven benefit if the dogs isn't having problems with its ears to begin with. You can just as easily clean the dog's ears to prevent ear infections than chopping off it's ears.

Guest on September 29, 2009:

This is the second website I've seen where they say the dogs "acupuncture zones" are removed. Seems like this would save the owner a lot of money potentially spent on quacks sticking needles in the dog's ear.

Are you suggesting cutting the ear isn't good, but jamming needles in it is?

Jim on September 27, 2009:

This article is well-written, however, I have to disagree heartily. Yes, your dog will be sore after it's surgery. It will also be sore after the surgery it has to neuter it. Or perhaps it has a tumor it needs removed- But we shouldn't do it, because they'll be sore after. No matter how you look at it, we're going to end up causing our dogs soreness. Whether for their own good or not. For many dog breeds, their tails are docked because they are weak or just are naturally unhealthy. It benefits the dog later on, and is done when they are just tiny, tiny puppies. Ear cropping is pretty much the same thing- While giving the ears better air-flow, it also allows them to have better hearing. It also gives them a much cleaner look, in my opinion, for dogs like the Doberman or Danes. However, I do like some natural ears, especially on dogs like the Boxer. Some pictures you show are obviously crops down by cheap, lazy people who don't care for their dogs, or just had the misfortune to get a bad crop. It is not torture, unless it is done improperly.

vivalady on September 20, 2009:

Displaying your vanity via your pets .....sick o ramma

Alison on July 24, 2009:

I am very much so against ear cropping, but i can understand tail-docking on certain breeds like aussies or great danes, but in reality they look fine either way. With ear cropping it makes some dogs just look unnatural..

cosmeticharmony from Colombia on July 24, 2009:

I totally agree cosmetic surgery for dogs should be done only if there are any medical reasons.

Lauren on June 21, 2009:

I agree completely! Dogs do NOT need their ears cropped or their tails docked. It's not needed and painful!

Sandy on June 07, 2009:

Great video -- certainly shows why BACKYARD BREEDERS should not have dogs.

Dusk on May 25, 2009:

anyone who would put an animal in pain for their own wants should DIE. >:(

Melissa on April 27, 2009:

It should be illegal everywhere. I think dogs without tails looks hideous anyway. Whoever thought of doing it, must have been a sadist. I just want to say to those who do it... why not chop off a finger and see how much pain you are not in... yeah right. Use your brain people if you would not do it yourself, then don't do it to your best friend. They really do love you, and show it by wagging their tail. Ear cropping is ridiculous as well. If they weren't meant to have their ears and tail, then they wouldn't be born with them.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 13, 2009:

You can but it's not typically recommended.

pitdoger on April 11, 2009:

can i get my dogs ears croped if hes 13 months old?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on March 30, 2009:

someone do you realize that dogs who are not spayed/neutered (especially spayed) can die from a number of high risk health complications? What serious direct health complications can kill a dog if you leave his tail and ears?

Two completely different situations and scenarios.

someone on March 29, 2009:

The day you all stop fixing your dogs the day I will stop cropping/docking tails. Advocates for not docking/cropping also advocate fixing your dogs. One argument is that the dogs come out of the womb with a tail, I say they also came out with their reproductive organs to. It's not natural to not have their reproductive organs nor is it natural to have not tail or cropped ears. The surgery for fixing an animal is also very painful to. The lame excuse that its healthier for the dogs to get fixed because it lowers their risk of testicular cancer. I say DUH!! It would be hard to get cancer in an organ that you don't have anymore. You can't get breast cancer if you don't have breasts (tissue) nor can you get testicular cancer in humans if you don't have your testicles seems obvious. The real problem that fixing the animals is to help population control. Fixing isn't the solution its making sure the owners are responsible and have control of their animals at all times. If you don't let your cat run around unfixed then you won't let your cat mate. Same with your dogs. So until we humans can control our animals and be responsible and not let them run stray or put them on the streets when we can't afford them etc. Then there will be no reason to fix the animals.

There is a reason why fixing your dog is called altering them. It's the same exact thing cropping/docking/altering, all is unnecessary but we do its just the reason behind the story

james on March 26, 2009:

My Great Dane's ear's are crop'ed. Although I spent many month's making sure everything turned out ok. And I just had my boxer's ear's done. I see nothing wrong with it as long as you take care of them. They will still love you just as much!

Clark on February 25, 2009:

Hold on a second. Cropping ears and docking tails is cosmetic. There is no doubt about this. I can't remember anybody worrying about me when I was circumcised. This is not intended to be off color, but cosmetic mutilation of neonates occurs every day. The ear cropping has some mythology in the Germany that rendered ears less vulnerable to injury during varmit patrol. Tail docking arose as a matter of tax law: Working dogs had docked tails and not taxed. Pets did not have docked tails and were taxed. It makes NO DIFFERENCE to the dog. A dog just wants to be in your "pack". Pack leaders and members in ferral dogs aren't rejected because their ears look different. All this discussion is silly. Crop or not, Dock or not. The dog doesn't care.

J_Eds from Blackpool on January 27, 2009:

I think docking dogs tails it terrible! :(

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 25, 2009:

I agree that there are other reasons than pure cosmetic. I don't believe I ever said that. There can be health reasons in addition to other reasons to crop a dog's ears or dock the tail. But, for a plain old family pet, generally, there's no reason to do it other than cosmetic purposes, again unless there is a medical reason.

Ratatosk on January 25, 2009:

I aggree with you on the whole banning ear cropping etc for cosmetic purposes. But to say ear cropping is solely cosmetic shows how ill informed you are about dogs. Great Danes for example originaly had their ears cropped because they were used to hunt wolves and boars, if an animal gets ahold of the ears and tears them they could bleed to death. Those ears are filled with veins and capillaries. I for instance camp and hike a lot with my Great Dane. So for instance, if I was on a trail miles away from a vet and my dog got into a raccoon or other animal that could destroy his ears how realistic is it that I would be able to carry a 170lb dog to safety before he bleeds to death? So obviously ear cropping has more than just cosmetic prinicipals.

Mud Dog from West Chicago IL on January 20, 2009:

I must admit I'm lurking through your old Hubs. This is one of many of the amazing posts I've found you've done. There is very little reason to ever put your pet through this kind of torture. It doesn't make sense. There's this whole debacle going on with the AKC regulations for the show ring. There's a group, rightfully, demanding to make it where no new competitors will be able to compete with altered appearance. Meaning no tail docks, no ears crops. They are fighting to try and make it more "natural" though its pretty well known they just believe that animals shouldn't have to go through the torture. It shouldalready fall under the no medically altering the show dogs. Neuticles ((the fake testicle implants that male dogs can get after being neutered)) Are already against the rules because of the same regulations. Why not furthering the standard?

My little girl almost had to get pooch plastic surgery. I rescued her at a relatively young age, she had been used for baiting for fighters. She apparently didn't have enough fight in her to be a fighter. She was dumped in a dumpster in a plastic bag and luckily found. Her tail had been broken mutliple times over her short 4 month life and was a little lightning bolt. They were worried that as she grew the tail would be more and more trouble to her, not because of obvious medicaly issues in not being able to move it correctly, but on a social level as well. Her tail can't raise properly so she can't propperly display her body language.

I opted to let her grow into it, see how things went. I didn't want her to go through that trauma, and what she would see as abuse by another human so early in her life. She was originally just a foster.

Her tail never grew really after that, but she doesn't seem to mind. And she's good natured enough to other dogs (shocking enough with her history) that there's not many dogs that get upset with her because of her mixed signals. I never regret not going through that procedure. Besides, she's my lightning bolt butt now, what would she have been if I had done it? Stubby?

Cute pit by the way! :)

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 11, 2009:

So you really tink there is something wrong with a natural dog?

Oh and you and prevent ear infections by regular cleaning. Rotties are not naturally cropped.

I'm ignoring you love animals that they taste delicious. I'm not sure what human beans are, but I am a human being who feels that just because an animal doesn't act like a person, doesn't mean it deserves to be thrown outside and ignored. Not saying you do that at all. Just saying that animals do feel pain and they do not deserve to be put in such for purely aesthetic reasons. Health reasons are different altogether, and in those cases to prevent a worse injurty, then by all means crop or dock, but ear infections can be prevented by regular cleaning, so there's no need to crop the dog's ears.

Nelson on January 11, 2009:

Yes, I see a problem with the Rotti. It has a tail. I have a Rotti, Brutus. He's an excellent dog, I love Rotti's. I had him sent to me with his tail/dew claws docked, however I did not request that his ears were docked and now he has had several ear infections. As with many dogs that do not have their ears docked (large ears) it blocks HEALTHY air flow to their ears. There is nothing wrong with ears being docked. It seems to me that people forget that animals are animals and people are people. I love my Rotti and would do nearly anything for him but people act as if having a dogs ears croped is akin to cuting it's dick off in public without anistesia. This is rediculous I love animals, they tase delicious. Please forgive me spelling and realize that unless your dog does the dishes, sucks you off and pays the mortgage it is in fact just a DOG and not an infant or a HUMAN BEAN!

Kelly on December 25, 2008:

Ok! I have 2 boxers. One boxer (F) had her ears cropped when I got her. She is so beautiful and alert, one of the things that make boxers so amazing! When I got my male, I also thought it was cruel to crop his ears and I did not. Later, I got another female. She looks just like my first one, but her ears are not cropped. Based on this information, I believe that I have experience with cropped and uncropped ears. The female with her ears cropped has not had any problems. I just have to be careful in the winter because of the cold temperatures. My uncroped female and my male do not have that problem. The problem I have is that when they stand next to you and shake, like all boxers do. Their ears whip and sting when they hit my legs. If they do that to me, then it goes to say that it also whips the dogs ears. In addition, my female has had cuts on her ears due to the fact she shook next to a wall. The cuts have never healed because they "flop" around all the time. Every time they heal, it just takes a rainy day to shake the scab off....This is not uncommon for certain uncropped dogs to have. I would think that a few weeks of uncomfortable tape is more preferable to a life of bleeding and risk of ear tumors. I wish now that I had cropped my males ears. His puppy look is cute and I love him and his ears. I just feel bad for the guy. Those ears flop all over the place. It has to hurt!

As for the tail, I agree that the band is quick and less painful for the puppies. If the vet does the docking correctly, then it is not that bad for the puppy. It is not bone at that point. If you wait until the boxer is too old, it is not uncommon for the tail to break. Costing a lot more money, and a lot more pain for the dog.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 20, 2008:

If it's for a medical reason, docking the tail is in a way warrented. The vet can aenesthitize him and remove the tail to a smaller length. You may wato consider it, as I was told by my 2 local vets and a specialist that if you can't keep the tail healed, it can develop into cancer. There will be some adjustment, but if he's constantly busting open the tail, you may find taht he will be happier without it bc there won't be any m pain. You may even consider just having it half cropped where he has a half a tail; that will be your decision as to the length and what you vet says.

You can try to train him not to wag his tail, but that will take a good bit of training if you'rep for it. Also remember that typicaly a happy dog wags his tail, so it will definitely be a ride to train him not to do so.

amanda on December 20, 2008:

i have a question..

i have always been totally AGAINST any type of treatment to a dog that is mainly for appearance or "fashion", but 8 months ago, we adopted a american staghound mix (we think) and he has a tail that hits so hard that it bleeds. he smacks it into walls, knocks down my children, hits our eyes and heads if we are sitting in position, and it hurts. i mean it really hurts. when we have company we don't even want to let him out because his tail is so wirey and hits like a whipping cord on the legs of all of our guests. i think you get my picture. anyway, after a million cries from our kids, and countless numbers of things being knocked over and broken, i have started looking at whether or not his tail should be removed. i know, i know. it has NOTHING to do with cosmetic reasons WHATSOEVER. he is beautiful and we love him so much. but he actually hurts himself and then whacks his bloody tail all over our walls. so, is there any type of a way that we can have it shortened or removed that is in a safe, painless way? or does anyone have any suggestions on how to train his tail to stop? i have never declawed a cat or have ever even heard of "ear cropping", so i am new to all of this. i don't want to hurt my dog, i just don't know what to do for his sake and my kids sakes also. thank you.

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 05, 2008:

As for Pyometra I quote from a very good site:

Pyometra means an accumulation of pus in the uterus (Greek, "pyo" = pus, "metra" = uterus). It is a very serious disease, not uncommon in older unspayed bitches, and can result in death. Pyometra is the final stage of a process of uterine disease. Bitches’ ovaries normally produce the hormone progesterone after estrus to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. The lining of the uterus thickens, and glands develop to release nutrients to nourish the early embryo until the placenta develops. The normal uterine defense mechanisms are also supressed to prevent them from attacking the newly implanted embryos. These changes take place whether the bitch is pregnant or not. Some bitches, however, seem to be unusually sensitive to the effects of progesterone. The uterine lining thickens excessively, and the glands develop abnormally, sometimes forming cysts, and release so much secretions that fluid may accumulate inside the uterus. This process progresses with each non-pregnant cycle that the bitch has. The fluid secretions encourage the growth of bacteria, particularly since uterine defenses are inhibited. Now there is inflammation of the uterine lining, known as "endometritis." There are usually no clinical signs, except that the bitch is more likely to be infertile. If the infection becomes severe enough, pus forms in the uterus, and now the bitch has pyometra.

Pyometra is most common in older and middle-aged bitches. There do not appear to be any breed-related or genetic relationships. Typically, the bitch has not had a litter. She has either never been bred or has a history of being bred unsuccessfully (infertility). Multiple non-pregnant estrous cycles are associated with the changes that result in pyometra. However, young bitches may also get pyometra, particularly if they have been given a large dose of estrogen (a "morning-after" shot to prevent pregnancy in cases of accidental mismating). Estrogen increases the sensitivity of the uterine lining to progesterone. Pyometra most commonly occurs 4 to 8 weeks after standing heat, but can occur as early as the end of heat or as late as 12 weeks after heat.

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 05, 2008:

"Of course, a dog isn't going to py if it's been spayed. You have to have a uterus first so of course it's going to be more prevelant in an unspayed bitch. rofl ... just because a dog has a uterus doesn't mean it's going to come down with pyometria."

Perhaps I should clarify this. What I should have said is that an 'unmated and unspayed' Bitch is more likely to get a pyometra. It is less likely in the cases of bitches who have been mated.

As for the mammary tumours, yes, most will be benign, but they still require a General anaesthetic to have them removed, and I have known cases where the bitch has had to lose an entire strip of mammaries all the way down one side of her body. Spaying will only help prevent these if it is performed early in the dogs life, otherwise the benefits of prevention of breast cancer tend to be negligible.

I would like to quote from the following site:

"Protection from Spaying

A female puppy spayed before her first heat cycle can expect never to develop a mammary tumor of any kind. The incidence of tumor development in this group is nearly zero.

If she is allowed to experience one heat cycle before spaying, the incidence rises to 7% (still quite low).

If she is allowed to experience more than one heat cycle, the risk is driven up to one in four.

Since most female dogs come into heat the first time before age one and breeding an immature female dog is not recommended, this means one must generally choose between a litter of puppies or mammary cancer prevention. Because mammary tumors are promoted by female hormones, spaying at any age is helpful in tumor prevention. Just because a female dog is in the high-risk group doesn't mean it is too late to reap benefit from spaying. "

There is a lot more information on that site if you go to it and read it in full.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 05, 2008:

I’m at work so this is the gist of what I got:

You can’t say that SELF MUTILATION is the same as opting to cut off something from someone/something that can’t choose for himself. Yes, the stretching earlobes and such are practiced in other civilization in children, but these are tribal civilizations that have been practicing such for decades. This is a different situation than a civilized culture opting to stretch their earlobes.

You can’t assume that cutting off a dog’s body part is always going to be beneficial if you haven’t had any problems. I agree that it can be medically beneficial, but you don’t know if it will be if the dog has never had any problems.

I’m not saying close a vet practice bc they performed the procedure for MEDICAL reasons with a patient with a MEDICAL history of problems associated with the mutilation (as you want to put it)

I never said dogs CAN’T communicate without their tail or ears, but they do not have the FULL ability to do so.

I don’t plan on changing my mind because I have plenty of medical history and experience to back up my OPINIONS. I don’t think you’re wrong for thinking body modifications are wrong, and I don’t fault you for it. I don’t fault you or think you’re an idiot or ignorant for possibly thinking it should be illegal; it’s YOUR OPINION AND AN OPINION IS NOT WRONG! I think that you’re getting your panties in a wad for nothing, both of you.

If you don’t like the way your dog looks, get a different dog, or don’t get the dog at all. Hence, I have a dog breed that commonly has cropped ears and sometimes docked tails, but I love the look of the dog naturally, and so I brought her home and love her and have never had any intention of having either procedure performed. Now, when she was having problems with busting her tail open and my vet and a specialist both said that if it persists, we may have to have it docked to prevent cancer, I considered it. But, I was able to clear up the tail, and it’s healed fine.

bestuvall on December 04, 2008:

personally.. after looking at your blog on "streching the holes in your body" and tools used and techniques.. docking a dogs tail looks positvely innocent.. these "proceedures''. i guess we can call them "plasitic surgeries".. although no doctors are involved .. are hideous.. and should be banned..or at least they should only be performed by a medical doctor.. and what real doctor would do such a thing to a natural human body??/ if they do they should lose their license.. hmm sound familiar.. people should not be allowed the choice to do this to their natural bodies.. they were NOT BORN that way...and if they get an infection.. or are mutilated in any other way.. I don't want to pay for it.. so if it happens don't come to the ER clinic on my dime....

hmm it is all about choice.. isn't it... I choose not to support your right to mutiltate your body.. close every tatttoo parlor and disallow any more piercings and that really is awful. it sends the wrong message about the human being. and their natural being..anyone who does this to their body needs serious mental help.. and anyone who does this this to ANOTHER human needs to be arrested....

so how do you like that???? my pet .. my choice.. your pet .. your choice.. your body.. your choice....who cares if the holes grow. to the size of barrels. or are infected with pus oozing out... or if your 'body parts" fall off or are mutilated...really who cares.. ?? I sure don't.. oh and by the way.. aren't some of these mutilations done on children???? children being those who have not reached the age of consent.. 16 or over..?

bestuvall on December 04, 2008:

Interesting to think that a vet who could perform lifesaving surgeries on pets.. could be struck from practice because he/she declawed a cat... how sad is that.??? what a waste...of the vets education...and for the public at large.. what ever happened to personal choice.. ?? if declawing a cat who has destroyed your furniture or scratched you or putting it in a shelter where it will probably be killed is "the choice".. then is it better to kill the cat?? NO.. I don't think so.. but then if i wee in Britain my ve would put his/her license at risk...better to kill the cat...

Now i know the answer.. train the cat.. BLAH>>> BLAH>> BLAH.. is it better for a cat with not training to LIVE without claws in a home that does not want to "train the cat" .. or to be dead with keeping its clws.. my bet is .. if you ask the cat.. since we are "talking to the animals" that the cat would say.. take my claws.. leave my life...

bestuvall on December 04, 2008:

LOL.. show me one dog that cannot "communicate " without a tail.. or the tips of its ears.. heck dogs can even "communicate" when deaf.. or missing a about dogs that are born withno tail.. are they not able to communicate?? how about dogs with small ears that they are born with? oh sorry they can't communicate either.. my breed has ears that naturally stand.. and a natural tail..some of the dogs have had to have their tails cut off for various reasons.. funny. they still "communicate" just fine.. i see you are a APBT person and a reptile person.. i am amazed as you seem to support BSL and "grandfather" clauses tha might allow people to keep the dog of their choice .. for awhile..... and reptile ownership and breeding of repitles fast beocming against the law in most states...

as usual.. people call for laws against what they percieve does not 'affect them".. sorry.. it does...

do you think that all laws should be made tha only medical reasons are the reasons fro choice?/ of any kind?

I always remove dewclaws.. as i have seen the result of not doing so.. torn and bleeding and infected legs.. no thanks I will be prophilactic in my approach and remove them.. if you choose not to.. or your breed standard calls for dewclaws.. your choice...

Ignornace has proven to work very well in Europe where spaying an neutering is sledom done EXCEPT for medical reasons.. and yet their shelters are hardly full and their "kill" numbers a much less than ours.. hmmmmm

leash laws are not the only way to control pet population.. spaying and neuterng work too. as we see by th fact that shelter numbers have dropped every sinlge year in the last 20..and that over 75% of people already have their pets s/ned. but not as a law.. read the book I suggested and fight to repeal or never institute pet limit laws in your limit laws are one reason the shelters are so full.. if each family could have one more pet.. the shelters would be empty

so once the proceedure is done.. and it is illegal.. what do you do with the people who own "illegal " dogs??? Take them?? if you found a docked tail would you demand "papers" from the vet".. if they were not produced what is the penalty?? these are questions that have to answered before any laws can be passed... as laws must have consequences....

Susi on December 04, 2008:

Oh now we're digging ... it removes important communication skills?

As we've discussed some dogs have naturally prick ears and some dogs are actually born without a full tail -- called a bob-tail and cropped dogs communicate just as well as they do.

LACK of proper socialization interferes with a dog's ability to communicate well with other dogs ... not cropping and docking. I have cropped dogs and they get along fine with all other dogs, that's so silly.

If a dog is to be used for specific types of work, catching a dewclaw and tearing it can be very, very painful. Some dog's have very tight and well attached dewclaws, they shouldn't be messed with but some are floppy and loose and it can be quite beneficial to get them taken off early on instead of left to tear. A good breeder would know if this was something that would be of benefit to the dog later on or not.

If it was outlawed, then it would have to be done at a much older age and then it is major surgery ... it is going to be really painful to the dog then.

I don't expect to change your mind, it's obviously set in stone but I do hope to add in a bit of common sense and actual experience to the matter so that others that might desire to might learn. By advocating for the illegality of it, you're absolutely interferring in my right to choose what I feel is best for my dogs and I do look at it from a perspective of it being for a health reason, not just a cosmetic one whether you choose to believe that of me or not.

I have had both spayed and unspayed dogs, none have ever had breast cancer. I've had dogs that had mammary tumors but they weren't malignant. Spaying a dog young can decrease the incidence of mammary tumors but it neither increases nor decreases their risk of actual cancer. Vet medicine is a bit ahead of human medicine in this aspect although it is catching up. They will do surgery for it because we've found that simple aspiration can spread breast cancer if that is what it turns out to be but 50 percent of all mammary tumors on the dog are non-malignant. Same in people, a lot of human doctors would rather cut the lump out to diagnose it rather than do a needle biopsy because a needle biopsy can spread the cancer if it is cancer and that's not a good thing ... doesn't mean it's cancer as the following article shows.

If a bitch is spayed prior to her first heat cycle, she has a .5 chance of obtaining cancer and if allowed one heat cycle (which can be beneficial for other reasons) it goes up to 7 percent ... which is still quite low actually.

Of course, a dog isn't going to py if it's been spayed. You have to have a uterus first so of course it's going to be more prevelant in an unspayed bitch. rofl ... just because a dog has a uterus doesn't mean it's going to come down with pyometria.

I do believe in spaying and neutering dogs but it should be done sensibly and because it's the right thing to do FOR YOUR DOG not because of these ridiculous myths that some of you want to spread around.

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 04, 2008:

Can I also add that a leash will not solve the problem of unwanted litters if you just happen to have two dogs, or two cats, of the opposite sex. Even if you kept both dogs on a leash in the house (which would be a nightmare in itself), they would quickly drive you mad with the whining and crying where the male tried to get to the female. Even shutting one of them in another room in the house does not stop this problem, (believe me, I experienced it once when I had an adult Doberman male (without cropped ears), and a rescue Cairn terrier cross female who came into season at 6 months old before we had a chance to get her spayed). The noise was so bad the neighbours even complained, and in the end we had to put her in kennels until her season finished so we could get her spayed. Shortly after we had the Doberman 'done' too, and my God was it a relief.

Dewclaws can be an 'iffy' subject, as I have seen a lot of dogs with broken or torn dewclaws that they have caught on things, so possibly would prefer them removed for the dogs own good, and to prevent future pain, (but NOT for cosmetic reasons).

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 04, 2008:

Susi, I am not assuming the worst of anyone. I just think that there is no reason to have either procedure cosmetically, and that the procedure should be illegal. That is a personal opinion and you can't prove me wrong in my opinion. Also, there are many ways that you can aid ear infection even in drop eared dogs by not cropping their ears. There are medicines and regular ear cleanings that would prevent it. Cropping and docking removes so many crucial communication skills for the dog.

I'm not saying hormones can't cause or enhance cancer by any means. And my vet, is a specialist, not a general vet. Both cancer specialists that looked at my case, said that in terms of osteosarcoma, the cancer cells are typically already throughout the body, and even by spotting the signs early can not 100% cure the dog. After amputation of the limb and chemo there is a 50/50 show of survival after 1 year, another 50/50 shot after that year, and so on. There is only a 5-15% chance have a cure, and that's no matter what time you catch the first signs of osteosarcoma. Generally, though spotting the signs early can help, but not with bone cancer.

Misty, I agree for MEDICAL reasons, that's different, as it can cause cancer for repeated busting open of the tail bc the dog keeps hitting it and breaking open a wound. But cosmetically, there's no reason for altering the pet's appearance. Like you said, if you're not happy with the way the dog/cat/whatever looks, then don't get the pet. You should never have to alter an animal to make it look better to you or anyone else.

bestuvall , I never said to alter the Rottie at a young age, I said alter it period. You're trying to find things to argue, and I will no longer argue with you. I don't just ask around, I have research backed behind my questions/answers. I'm not an idiot and I realize that asking around means you can get one answer bc that's what the one person feels is the answer. I also diagree with removing dewclaws. There's no reason for it cosmetically. Feral cats is a BIG problem for shelters, but what about unwanted litters that land a pregnant female or a new mom with a load of pups? That's  HUGE concern, as well. It is plain ignorant to think that leash laws is going to solve the pet over-population problem.

You should not cut anything off of your dog until you have a medical reason to do so. Spaying/neutering is different, and should typically be done before 1 year old but after 6 months (depending on the breed) in order to prevent/reduce the risk of medical problems in the future.

If the procedures are illegal, then the person would not be able to get it done period unless there was a true medical reason backed by the dogs previous medical records. But, like most BSL laws, there would have to be a grandfather clause for people with previously cropped/docked dogs.

I never once intervened in your right to choose, but I will always feel that cropping/docking for pure cosmetic reasons should be made illegal, and I hope that the U.S. takes the hint from other countries.

Like I said, it's your choice right now, and I still think it should be illegal bc they have no way to choose whether they want it done or not. It's pure human selfishness. You are taking away vital communication skills that you dog needs.

Susi on December 04, 2008:

In regards to osteosarcomas in dogs ... you're both mistaken on that including your vet. Many cancers can be hormonally driven and it isn't that s/n can cause it, it's just the timing of it especially in Rottweilers.

It is generally believed that early s/n may actually increase the chances of it being expressed earlier. The later that one elects to have it done, *IF* the dog is prone to it, the later it will be expressed.

bestuvall on December 04, 2008:

You are so wrong.. large dogs like Rotties should not be neutered at a young age.... you really need to do some research instead of just 'asking around"

here's a start for you.. and others.. I am sorry your dog has cancer.. especially this one, as the outcome is not a positive one.

What do you suppose the sentence should be for an illegal "proceedure" like docking a dogs tail? Would you take that persons dog from them? Just curious. How about removing dewclaws.. done at about the same time as docking.. two or three days..should this also be illegal?? what else can you think of.. and yes spaying and neutering of pets in other countires is ONLY legalconsidered if the pets health is jeapoardy.. and yet they have very few dogs in shelters.. why?? Leash laws are enforced and people contain their animals..including CATS.. the feral cat is the main problem at the USA. easy to find out.. just look it up... or go to your local shelter and ask for the for pet population issues I suggest a book by Nathan Winograd.. "Redmption. The Myth of Pet Overpopulation in the United States".

Cropping and docking should remain in the perveiw of those who are involved.. pet owners, doctors and breeders.. just stay out of my right to choose.. and i will stay out of your right not to.. don't want to crop.. don't.. don't want to dock.. don't.. my pet .. my choice your pet.. your choice

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 04, 2008:

Breast Cancer is also far more prevalent in bitches that have not been spayed, plus the risk of Pyometra (major life threatening womb infection where the womb fills up with pus and usually requires urgent removal).

To not spay or neuter is crazy with all the unwanted pets in this world, plus the resulting feral animals left roaming the streets from unwanted litters. Then you have to consider the less ethical owners who would simply keep drowning or dumping the litters they didn't want.

I have worked for a vets too, and where I live both ear cropping, de-clawing and tail docking are all illegal without a very good medical health reason for doing so. To perform these procedures otherwise would result in the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons striking the vet off their register, and then he could never practice again.

If you aren't happy with the way your pet was naturally born, don't take away it's means of communication by mutilating it. Take the better option, don't get a pet unless it is a goldfish!

Susi on December 04, 2008:

Actually it is true. There is no such thing as *normally* cropped ears. Cropping isn't done in the uterus and they aren't popped out cropped. They are naturally upright ears or prick ears some may call them.

There are also dropped ears ... or some folks may call them flop ears and sorry but it is true that they can be prone to ear infections even if the owner takes very good care of them. Even on the show Dogs 101 recently, they've spoken to this tendency in some breeds and how they require extra care to prevent it.

My prick eared dogs and my cropped dogs have never had an ear infection nor have they ever required *special* care for their ears. I take very good care of all of them, thank you very much.

Some floppy ear dogs might never have a problem with it *that* is true but to say that they can't is absolutely an untruth. To claim that one isn't taking very good care of them if it happens isn't very fair in a lot of cases or accurate either. Seasonal allergies can cause a dog to scratch at their ears without an infection even being there. Haven't the insides of your ears ever itched because you had a bit of hayfever or something going on?

You are assuming the worst of someone just because you want to believe it and want to impose your beliefs on others. To me it's a typical example of folks who think their beliefs are all that count and actually have very little knowledge in the matter only an opinion.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 04, 2008:

There are actually, many parents who will wait until the child is older to ask. There is no medical reason to crop/dock a dog.

Actually, cancers such as osteosarcoma can occur in any dog of any age or sex. I have personally consulted a vet about the particular cancer, as my dog HAS this cancer. There is nothing that can be done to change the odds of bone cancer, as it is the most common form of cancer that dogs get, and it is one of the most malignant. The only thing that is common is that more big dogs and younger dogs get the cancer, altering has very little to do with this cancer in regards to the statistics, according the cancer specialists that I have spoken with.

And no vet is going to say that you shouldn't spay/neuter your Rottie (for example) because of the risks of bone cancer, as the dog is going to get it either way if he is meant to get it.

Your pet your choice, doesn't mean that I, along with many others, has changed my thoughts about the procedures being made illegal.

bestuvall on December 04, 2008:

Wait unitl the child is OLDER.. you are too much.. you cannot ask dogs questions because dogs cannot talk.. medical decision regarding your pets health and welfare should be up to the owner and their pets veterinarian. I have ner heard a baby boy as to be circumsised.. and i have to laugh when you say it is done for the "long term health of the child".. tell that to most of the male population of Europe and indeed the rest of the world..they will be crossing their legs as they read this. LOL. can you imagine asking a 20 year old.. do you want to have the tip of your penis cut off? And are you really sayng that a child can make a medical decision about themselves? Oh no I really don't want that polio shot..or oh yes i am six and i want my ears pierced.. please....

Actually what is true is that any decision made by me in conjunction with my doctor or veterinarian is really no business of yours.

I do take it that you are a pet owner and not a veterianrian or you would know that many cancers ( serious one like osteosarcoma) are much more prevalent in altered dogs along with incontinence in females and other complications. Surgery should always be considered from all sides and made with full knowledge of the risk and benefits. Including the choice to crop or dock.

My pet.. my choice...

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 04, 2008:

Actually, that is not true. A dog that normally has cropped ears can go throughout life never experiencing ear infections if the owner cleans the ears regularly.

In a way, I understand comparing dogs to humans, but what we do to our dogs not the same as having something done to a human. Humans typically ask for plastic surgery, whereas our dogs never do. Granted again cicumcision is different, and one could wait until the child was older and ask if the child wanted it done. But you can never ask your dog, "Hey do you want your ears cut off."

It isa personal choice, but there's no reason that either should be performed. And I hope that one day both processes will be illegal in the U.S., as it is in other countries.

Susi on December 04, 2008:

That's not necc true that there is no health benefit to cropping ears either. An upright ear is much less prone to infections from yeast and bacteria rather than a flop ear. I've owned representatives of both in my life, neither made me love or desire the dog anymore but the cropped ones were in general much easier to live with in the long run. I had a beagle years ago that had chronic ear infections that led to hematomas from scratching so hard at them at times. One in particular even had to be lanced and drained, At the time she was in treatment for the ear infection so no claims that I wasn't taking good enough care of her.

I think it's quite appropiate to compare it to humans especially since the author of the above article has already set the stage for it by calling it plastic surgery which is very much a human procedure. As a nurse, I've seen babies circumcised and it is painful although not so much anymore since they've started using a bit of anesthesia. Yes, we use anesthesia in babies, why should it be even more dangerous for a puppy?

No one HAS to crop or dock their dog OR get their child circumsized for that matter and that's the way that it should be.

It should be a personal choice, one made with the breeder (since it's done at such a young age) and their vet. Plenty of breeders out there that will leave the decision up to you, you just have to search for them.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 04, 2008:

Not all fences can prevent an unwanted litter. And, an unaltered pet has a higher chance at certain cancers, so by altering the pet, it is beneficial, you just can't say otherwise- statistically or medically.

Shelter numbers have not necessarily dropped but they have remained at a near constant, but not enough to say spaying an neutering is not necessary. The numbers have also been dropping because more people are spaying and neutering their pets.

You have no clue what are killed at shelters. You may know what's is euthanized at YOUR shelters, but not everywhere. Yes, the less appealing pets are typically the first to go, but that does not stop purebreds, puppies, and kittens from being put to sleep. I'm not even touching the "pit bull" subject with you, as there are more reasons that what you've said as to why they are put down in shelters. Yes, that is one of them, but not nearly the only one.

Circumcision is a different situation which is done for the longterm health of the child. As for piercing children's ears, many parents wait until the child is old enough to ask for it. You can't bring humans into an animal fight. It is ALWAYS going to be a different situation.

You have absolutely no reason- medically or statistically- that says that cropping and docking is ok. You need to do your research.

bestuvall on December 04, 2008:

How about you doing a little research.. spaying and neutering are not beneficial .. in fact it is illegal to perform these same surgeries in the countires you condone for making cropping and docking illegal... those countries support the natural dog.. as they are born..

A leash and a fence are beneficial to prevent unwanted litters. Unwanted pets are not the same thing as as an unwanted litter. Shelter numbers have been DROPPING for the last 20 years across the nation. Most animals killed at shelters are feral cats.. and those dogs called "pit bulls' who the media have made into such "monsters" that no one will take them.. you are right about one thing.. dogs don't care what they look like.. but people do.. that is why dogs are KILLED everyday.. "just because of the way they look'.. but that is a whole other topic..

Asked for.. by humans.. really. when did you last see a baby boy ask to have the tip of his penis cut off??. baby boys beg to be circumsized by rabbis.. not doctors.... little girls ask to have their ears pierced by NON medical personnel.. perhaps even at home.. by their parents..?.. somehow I don't think so..cropping and docking should be a choice... as should any surgery on a pet.. a decision made between veterinarian and client and the public should stay out of it.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 04, 2008:

How about neutering is beneficial for the dog, and cropping and docking has no value to it.

You can't compare modification on humans to animals by any means, as those done to humans are asked for. The dog doesn't walk into the vet and ask 'hey can you cut off my tail, I think it'll look better."

So try again buddy.... There's no point in getting your panties in a wad, but there's nothing that you can say that will change the fact that cropping/docking is illegal in nearly all countries except the US and unless there is a medical reason, there is no reason to do it. And, by medical reason, I mean the dog keeps busting its tail open bc it's hitting the tail on everything; this can cause cancer in the condition persists (2 vets and 1 bone specialist confirmed this). Ear infections is not a reason to crop ears, as you can clean the dog's ears regularly and never have a problem.

And, how about YOU do mre research and get a life as you actually suggested making neutering an illegal process... HELLO!! hundreds of thousands of dogs are euthanized each year becuase of unwanted litters and unwanted pets in general. Think that banning neutering would make the problem any better. You need to do your research and stop being a fool.

bestuvall on December 04, 2008:

HAHAHA when all of you stop getting tattoos. piercing your most sensitive body parts ( serting yourselves up for infection and sometimes ER visits which I have to pay for cause you don't have insurance).. how about you guys.. circumsised?/ if so did it hurt.. do you remember.. bet you don't and well bet you are glad.. as for animals.. spaying is a much more invasive surgery that ear cropping.. neutering is a MUCH more invasive surgery than docking a tail so let's outlaw THAT first..then we can work on outlawing piercing a childs ears.. or..closong all tattoo parlors.. dirty unsanitary places using needles.. without any painkiller.. except what you bring yourself of really .. get a life.. and a real job... like the vet tech .. and learn about a subject BEFORE you post..

KRISTA on October 13, 2008:






Danielle on September 30, 2008:

I don't think it should be made illegal to ear crop or tail dock. Breeds that usually have there tail docked, and or not docked like the rottie just look weird. Though i do think it should be done as soon as there born. Puppies that age do not remember. When they get older and have to be sedated to do it, its a bit more complicated. That is my opinion. Thats why i think it shouldn't be made illegal, its the persons choice. I work in a vet clinic, have seen many tail docks, and a few ear croppings and have yet to see one have any serious problems and i also see tons of dogs who have had the procedures in the past and they are just as happy and go lucky as can be. I think some breeds look good either way with the ear cropping. Boxers and pit bulls and great danes are a couple of breeds i think look good either way. Dobermans are a breed i do not find look right without the crop done. Again this is just my opinion.

Brad on August 24, 2008:

Where does human circumcision fit in to all of this? If we cut and peel the foreskin off a human babies' penis, do we worry about that? I'm sure the baby would be crying. All I know is that I am happy as hell to have had it done now that I'm an adult! Thanks mom! Thanks dad! It looks better and has been shown to reduce risk of certain STD infections. I wouldn't want to watch a video of a baby (or myself being circumcised) and I wouldn't want to watch my boxer dog's tail being docked as a puppy either. Ears should NOT be cropped because it has no value whatsoever I agree...but tail docking is definitely worth it and I am a major dog lover and SPCA donator of time and money. Obviously, this debate will go on forever. People need to think more with their mind rather than JUST their stomach and heart.

Robin on August 20, 2008:

I really think you guys need to lighten up. you act as if these animals are being butchered and abused, these animals are taken to qualified vets where their comfort is taken well into consideration. ive had three great danes now, all ears cropped and they have never been anything but happy or healthy dogs. you're you're gonna be upset about something get upset about idiots who don't train their dogs and make them terrors at the dog parks and eventually take them to the pound or people who get pit bulls cause they think they are a status symbol. as long as responsible vet is involved you have nothing to whine about when it comes to this.

Cazz on August 20, 2008:

I cryed watching that docking video. When I goy my Rotty he had been docked already by the breeder but they had buggered it up docking himabove the first nckle and not belo so he had no tail whatsoever $6. It didnt make him lookany better or worse but i often wondered what he may have lookedlike with a tail. When he wagged his whole back end moved.

Tail docking seems a waste of time unless medically needed. Ear cropping even crueler/

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 17, 2008:

You could actually say the same thing about any dog "if you don't another dog just might." Does that mean you should crop a lab's ears or a retriever or terrier? I don't think so, but that's just me. As for the ear infection, you can keep a dog ear infection free without cropping their ears. You just have to CLEAN the ears. Cropping the ears is a quick fix around it because you should still clean their ears.

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