Though we accepted it as something familiar, normal, it doesn't mean that it's not wrong. Dogs don't have tails and ears as accessories. So, why do we treat them as such?
Elective surgery happens shortly after birth for many purebreds. Most of us have no idea what certain breeds like Dobermans, German shorthaired pointers, and schnauzers look like in their natural, pre-surgical state.
Ear-cropping and tail-docking are common, but just because something is the norm doesn't mean it's OK. Ask any expert.
Painful and cruel procedures
Docking happens while the puppy is only a few days old and the tail is still soft. The tail is cut off with a pair of scissors, or a rubber band is wrapped around the tail to cut off the blood supply. This way, it will die and fall off on its own.
Some argue that puppies can't remember that pain because they are too young. Some vets give the little ones anesthesia, while others rely on the fact that the dog's very young.
Cropping or cutting off the floppy part of a dog's ear is performed when the puppies are between 6 and 12 weeks old. Using anesthesia is a must, and the ears are taped to a hard surface for several weeks while they heal.
In both cases, anesthesia is involved, and these procedures are branded as unnecessary. The reason why these babies get to experience the trauma is solely to look the part.
But, it's more than just pain and direct cruelty.
What's the point of cropping ears or docking tails?
Would you love your dog any less if they had bigger ears or less hair? No, because they are our best friends, and to them, we're the center of the universe.
As we stated, some think that puppies don't feel the pain, but evidence suggests that puppies have a comparable pain tolerance to grown dogs.
Since these procedures are pointless, many countries banned them. Even more so, dogs express their emotions by their tails. Andy Roark, a veterinarian at Cleveland Park Animal Hospital in Greenville, S.C., says that docking "may interfere with your dog's ability to interact with other dogs."
Research shows that an intact tail is unlikely to become injured, and 80% of dogs with floppy ears will never have any ear infection.
Ironically, dogs most likely to develop ear infections don't get their ears cut off. That includes poodles and cocker spaniels.
Illegal or not, it's still morally wrong
Tail-docking and ear-cropping are banned in some countries, including Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Cyprus, Austria, Australia, and the U.K.
In the States, things aren't that clear. New York and Vermont were thinking about banning docking and cropping. The biggest issue comes from The American Kennel Club.
They argue that these practices are "integral to defining and preserving breed character" for some dogs. The American Veterinary Medical Association is against it.
Unless you live in a country with the proper laws, you can make a choice. If you want a dog from a breeder, then speak up, and let them know you're against docking and cropping.
What's even better is to adopt a dog from a shelter. Dogs aren't supposed to be pretty or posh. They are made of pure love if appropriately treated. And love comes in all shapes, sizes, with or without floppy ears, young or in twilight years.
The final decision is up to you.