Ear cropping and tail docking have long been associated with certain breeds. Entities like the AKC say that the practices are “integral to defining and preserving breed character,” which boils down to “it looks good.” This is not a good reason to put an animal through a medical procedure, especially ear cropping and tail docking which are painful and serve no purpose.
Ear Cropping and Tail Docking – Painful and Dangerous
No matter what you may hear from pro-cropping and docking people or organizations, both ear cropping and tail docking are dangerous, albeit not extremely so. They are also painful. Did you know that tail docking is done when puppies are very, very young? Because of their age, the general thought is that the pain won’t be remembered, so the procedure is done with medical scissors, and there is no pain medication involved. Whether the puppy remembers it or not later in life, that animal will have a body part amputated with no pain management of any kind. After that, the end of the tail will be sutured – again with no pain management. That’s barbaric.
Ear cropping is a bit more involved but no less painful and more dangerous. Ear cropping is a surgical procedure and requires a general anesthetic. Depending on age and size, some vets put the dog completely under and some use a “Twilight” method which involves extreme sedation without the using of oxygen. In either instance, the dog is exposed to anesthesia. Just like with humans, dogs are at risk whenever anesthesia is used. On top of that, you have the discomfort of having a portion of the ear removed and then walking around with taped up ears.
Ear Cropping and Tail Docking Serve No Practical Purpose
Proponents of ear cropping and tail docking like to say that it can be medically beneficial to dogs, but that is utter nonsense. To illustrate this, I’ll give you some examples.
Advocates for ear cropping say that it reduces ear infections. Not so. There is no evidence that an erect ear decreases the risk of ear infection. In fact, breeds which are prone to ear infection like Spaniels develop those infections due to excess hair in the ear canal, not floppy ears, and they aren’t even the breeds that traditionally have cropped ears.
In the same way, that cropping is touted as having medical benefits, so is docking. This one is also untrue. Proponents of tail docking say that it protects highly energetic breeds like Boxers from tail injury due to whacking it on an object. All you have to do is look at all the Labs in the world – which never have docked tails – to see that this argument carries no water.
Ear Cropping and Tail Docking – Painful and Purely for Looks
Both ear cropping and tail docking involve the removal of parts of a dog’s body for no other reason than to achieve a certain look. While that’s okay for humans, because we can weigh the pros and cons, a dog cannot do that. They don’t think they need a bobbed tail. They don’t think pointy ears will make them look more fierce. They just want to be petted and love their family.
Ear cropping and tail docking are purely for looks and are unnecessary. In fact, at the vet practice where I was employed, our vet wouldn’t even do them. They serve no purpose; they ‘re painful, and they open up pets to the possibility of infection along with the pain and discomfort of the procedures.