There are several dog breeds that can be recognized by two different characteristics: their erect and pointed ears and their short, almost non-existent tail. Most of us can assume that these dogs were born this way, but unfortunately, it is not so.
Dobermans and Miniature Schnauzers are two examples of breeds in which it has become a common practice to subject these dogs to two procedures shortly after their birth, namely trimming the ears and clipping the tail.
A painful and inhumane procedure
Tail docking involves the surgical removal of a puppy’s tail, usually when the animal is between two and five days old. The tail is usually cut off with scissors, or a rubber band is wrapped around the tail to cut off the blood supply so that the animal dies and falls off by itself.
This procedure is usually done under anesthesia, as many veterinarians or breeders who perform this procedure say the puppy is not yet fully awake and will not remember the pain.
Ear clipping is a procedure in which the sagging part of a dog’s ear is cut and glued to a hard surface for several weeks while the wound heals to keep it straight. This procedure is usually performed under anesthesia when the puppy is between six and twelve weeks old.
Both procedures are considered medically unnecessary and their main purpose is aesthetic.
Why are these procedures performed?
Ear and tail trimming is a traditional procedure for more than seventy breeds of dogs, for the only reason that it is the fashion that has been established for these breeds. Proponents of these two procedures claim that a puppy’s nervous system is not fully developed and, therefore, the procedure is not painful for him.
However, this claim has been refuted and there is evidence that puppies have a similar tolerance to pain as adult dogs.
Some owners and breeders claim that farm dogs and hunting dogs are at risk for wandering injuries when driving a herd or hunting, and therefore the wand needs to be removed completely. Others believe that removing the tail on energy breeds, such as boxers, prevents them from injuring their tails when they hit walls and boxes, and some believe that cutting off the ears reduces the risk of infection.
Proponents of these procedures sometimes argue that in the case of thick-haired dogs, the tail should also be removed for hygiene reasons.
The argument against cutting and trimming ears
There are several reasons why these procedures are inhumane and unnecessary. The procedure is very painful, and the repeated screams the puppies hear during and after the procedure are an indication of the level of pain they feel.
As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection or other complications, and many dogs suffer from chronic, long-term pain.
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