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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

Puppy Tails Matter! The Truth About Tail Docking

Tail docking, the practice of surgically removing a puppy's tail, has become a topic of debate and scrutiny in recent years. As our understanding of animal welfare and the importance of natural attributes has evolved, there is a growing consensus against this procedure.

So let's delve into the reasons why docking puppies' tails should be reconsidered and explore the alternatives that prioritize the health, happiness, and natural beauty of our canine companions.


Cruelty Free Approach


Docking a puppy's tail involves a surgical procedure that causes pain and discomfort. Puppies' tails are often docked at a young age due to the belief that puppies at 3-5 days old cannot feel pain. However, scientific evidence and veterinary expertise suggest otherwise. Puppies have a developed nervous system even at a young age, and they are capable of experiencing pain and discomfort.


Natural Communication & Expression


A puppy's tail is an integral part of their communication and self-expression. By wagging, raising, or lowering their tails, puppies convey a range of emotions, including happiness, fear, and curiosity. Docking their tails limits their ability to communicate effectively, potentially leading to misunderstandings, aggression and other behavioral issues.

"The essential question is not “How harmful is the procedure?”, but rather “Is there sufficient justification for performing it?”

Potential Health Risks


Tail docking is not without risks and potential complications. The surgical removal of a puppy's tail can cause pain, infection, and long-term health problems. It also removes an important sensory organ, diminishing the puppy's ability to navigate their environment and maintain balance. Performing painful procedures during the neonatal period, can have lasting consequences on pain processing and perception in the future.


Ethical Responsibility


Tail docking is a painful procedure that involves amputating a portion of the puppy's tail without any immediate medical necessity. The puppy experiences pain, discomfort, and potential complications during and/or after the procedure. Many ethical guidelines and organizations discourage or condemn the practice of tail docking in puppies when it serves no medical purpose. It is important for dog owners to prioritize the well-being, comfort, and natural integrity of their dogs, promoting practices that enhance their physical and emotional health rather than engaging in unnecessary and potentially harmful procedures like tail docking.


In conclusion,hoosing not to dock puppies' tails is a conscious decision that upholds principles of compassion, respect, and responsible pet ownership. By refraining from this unnecessary and potentially harmful procedure, we protect the well-being, natural beauty, and communication abilities of our puppies. Let us advocate for the preservation of their tails, promoting a more humane and enlightened approach to puppy care. Together, we can create a world where puppies can thrive and express their true selves, tails wagging freely.

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