Ear Cropping and Tail Docking - Does It Enhance a Dog’s Beauty or Is It Barbaric and Inhumane?

Contributed by Angie Lewis, President of Alaska Animal Advocates

Cropping a dog’s ears involves surgically removing the floppy part of the ear, while docking requires the surgical removal of a portion of the tail. It is breed standards for show dogs that dictates the procedure specifics. Tail docking typically happens when a pup is a few days old, often without anesthesia. Ear cropping is a more complex surgery that can occur anywhere from 6 to 12 months of age and general anesthesia is required.

These procedures are very painful and involve side effects and risks. Post-surgical infection, pain, and scarring are some of the negative results of these practices. Aftercare can be extensive. Not to mention, the psychological damages that result because of the trauma. This is a lot to put your dog through, for no reason. These are unnecessary surgeries – simply for cosmetic purposes.

More seriously, dogs communicate with their bodies and the ears and tails play a vital role in this communication. This can lead to problems with misinterpreting a dog’s efforts at communication. A dog may look as though she is being aggressive, when in reality, she is not able to express herself adequately without complete body appendages, Dogs who have docked tails and cropped ears often appear more intimidating to people than those that have not been mutilated.

In addition, there are many medical benefits to allowing a dog to keep her ears – such as acupressure, acupuncture, and collection of blood samples from the ear. Ears help keep debris out of the ear canal and therefore lessen the opportunity for ear infections. Not to mention, that dogs love having their ears rubbed and they use their tails to help with balance. Tails help to determine proper alignment of a dog’s spine.

More and more veterinarians are opting out of cropping and docking ears and tails, although the United States is lagging behind Europe and Australia. Love your dog the way she was meant to look and forego these unnecessary procedures.