Docking dogs tails became illegal in Australia on 27 October 2004 because it is cruel (even though I have seen dogs with it done since that date). Apparently if you personally get the dogs tail docked OR buy a dog with a docked tail, you are committing an offence. I am getting a Boxer in June (8 weeks) and was quite disheartened at first at the thought of not having a little stumpy tail that I love....but I'm over it now after seeing so many Boxers walking the streets, at the beach etc with long tails (they look, well, normal -- I don't know what I was expecting them to look like with a tail!!!). So, I was thinking, would it be possible for people to still get the tail docked at the same time as a puppy gets desexed at approx 6 months of age? I personally don't want to go through with this procedure with my new Boxer but wouldn't that be a way to continue tail docking without hurting the dog and keep everyone happy?
Sorry, but waiting to dock a dogs tail until it is old enough to be spayed/neutered is not a very good option in my opinion. By that age it is a major surgery - I would say somewhat similiar to having a finger or two removed. Typically if tails are going to be docked it is done before 3 days of age and wether or not this is appropriate can be debated - and is somewhat similiar to circumcision (as far as I know, anaesthetics were not always used). Anyway, like you say, what it boils down to is what people are used to seeing. Only in rare cases does tail docking serve a purpose.
Good point, Willow. Tail docking is usually done within the first few days after birth before the nerves in the tail are fully functional so the dog experiences a minimal amount of pain. At 6 months of age, docking a puppy's tail may throw off it's whole sense of balance.
I walked into my vets office and he was doing the surguryon a 6 mn old the owners wanted it done and that hurt me to look at it. Think about it this way, when they are pups and it is done before 3 days there is no need to knock them out and they are fine in 10 minutes, but at 6 mn old they have to be knocked out and the bone has to be sawed through, because it has gotten harder. want someone to hit you on the tail bone with a hammer, that how i felt watching it.
actually when a tail is docked you are not sawing thru the bone. you are severing the ligaments in between the bone. i have seen alot of animals both cat and dog have their tails amputated due to injuries and at various ages and i really do not see any of them exhibit any pain post surgery. my question is i wonder what they think when they wake up and go to lick or wag their tail and realize its not there?
AVA INFORMATION SHEET Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) PO Box 371 Artarmon NSW 2064 Australia (02) 9411 2733 (p), (02) 9411 5089 (f), firstname.lastname@example.org (email). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Issue No: 10 Released: Febuary, 2000 Why cosmetic tail docking should be banned What is cosmetic tail docking? This is the amputation of a dog's tail (at varying lengths) to suit the recommendations of a man-made breed 'Standard'. The fashion-driven modern procedure is usually performed without any anaesthetic, normally when a pup is between three and five days of age, using scissors or a very tight rubber band. The cut goes through many highly sensitive nerves. Currently, either a registered veterinary surgeon or "an experienced dog breeder" can legally perform the procedure across Australia. Many veterinarians are declining to perform cosmetic dockings on the grounds that they are cruel, painful and absolutely unnecessary. This outdated practice started hundreds of years ago, when people were far more complacent about the welfare of animals. Is tail docking painful? Yes, there is strong evidence that this is the case. The puppy has a fully developed nervous system and a well-developed sense of pain. While the puppy cannot tell us that it is in pain, many biological markers show that pain is occurring. Is cosmetic tail docking illegal? Not in Australia, but there are countries which have banned cosmetic tail docking for many years. It is outlawed in Norway (since 1987), Sweden and Switzerland (1988), Cyprus, Greece and Luxembourg (1991) and Finland (1996). In England (since July 1993), tail docking can only be performed by registered veterinarians. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has declared that the docking of tails, other than for therapeutic or prophylactic reasons, is unethical and it has described the practice as "unacceptable mutilation". Is tail docking ever justified? Yes, in some medical situations a trained veterinary surgeon may recommend that the tail be amputated as a means of alleviating some other serious health problem confronting the dog, such as cancer. This would be similar to the situation in humans when - for a range of reasons - it is decided that a limb needs to be amputated for the sake of preserving the life of the patient. It should be recognised that the medical need to amputate a tail is not a day to day occurrence and the fact that the procedure is sometimes required for medical reasons in no way justifies its routine use as a form of mutilation of entire breeds of dogs. Do dogs really need their tails? Yes, their tails have many useful functions, including maintaining balance and body language. Dogs have evolved into their current shape over many thousands of years. If a tail were not useful to a dog, natural selection would have eliminated it long ago. Although some breeds today have individuals that are occasionally born with deformed or short tails, this genetic abnormality is usually not found 'in the wild' and is caused by intensive inbreeding on the part of the breeders. The AVA has throughly investigated this topic over many years and can find no evidence whatever that could justify cosmetic tail docking. Do many breeds suffer cosmetic docking? Yes, most people in the community would be astonished at the sheer numbers of dogs that are subjected to this procedure. Precise figures are impossible to collate but a reliable - and very conservative - estimate would be that tens of thousands of puppies are docked in Australia each year. The AVA has compiled a list of 76 breeds whose puppies are needlessly subjected to this practice merely in the name of fashion - ie a breed 'Standard" imposed on the animals by humans. The fact is that, with very rare exceptions, most breeds of dogs are born with long tails. Almost every dog you have ever seen with a very short tail has been 'docked' - and it has usually undergone this painful procedure at the whim of breeders. Those who seek to perpetuate tail docking rely very heavily on the fact that most people come to believe that short-tailed dogs are born that way. It would be much more difficult for them to continue with cosmetic docking if the community at large was fully aware of the facts. What do docking advocates say? Those who continue to promote tail docking rely on an ever-diminishing list of 'explanations' for what they do. The primary 'excuse' is that docking prevents damage to the tail - this is akin to suggesting that humans should have their toes amputated to prevent them being stubbed occasionally! Another is that tails need to be short to comply with certain breed 'Standards' - but they usually omit the crucial fact that those so-called 'Standards' are manmade and based upon what some group of humans has decided that the specific breed should look like. Yet another supposed justification for docking is "this is a hunting breed and needs to have a short tail for that purpose". The fact that most 'hunting' breeds are NEVER used for hunting in today's world seems to have escaped their attention. The list of alleged justifications for cosmetic tail docking is getting shorter as people recognise that the practice is unnecessary and inexcusable in our modern society. Docking advocates recently suggested that the proposed anti-docking legislation in the ACT should not proceed - because "it would damage the dog export industry in the National Capital!" More information: AVA President, Dr Garth McGilvray (Mobile) 0411 563 370, Former AVA President, Dr Roger Clarke (Mobile) 0414 372 739, President, Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association, Dr Jill Maddison (Mobile) 0412 012 811, AVA Communications Manager, Mr Dennis Ringrose (w) 02 9411 2733
I have had to have quite a few adult dogs tails amputated out of necessity - long story short, because of their jobs they had to stay in a kennel with block walls (at tail height) much of the time - Some dogs would injure and continually reinjure their tails by wacking them against the walls so hard when they wagged that even after extensive treatment/bandaging etc, a point would be reached where they had to be cropped :-( Sad, because I loved to see their tails wag, but they were much happier and healthier afterwards, and didn't seem to take much notice (actually it bothered them more to have their tails weighted down with bandages). And as scout said - they cut between the bone - so its not any more traumatic than any other surgery, and in certain cases it is the only solution. The worst is when people tie rubber bands and such around dogs tails in order to amputate them - I had a Shepherd mix (prob. x Rott) that came from a pound, and a year or so after having him we found pieces of rubber band coming out of his skin at the end of his nub. :-(
willow we call what happened to your dogs HAPPY TAIL. that makes up a large majority of the amputations is from dogs wagging their tails so hard in their kennels. alot of greyhounds this happens to. they have such long skinny tails.
Kelly - The kennels these dogs were in were actually quite large... indoor/outdoor - and putting them in even larger ones did not help (+10' wide). Working dogs - detection dogs - in this case. Although they were out of the kennels most of the days - they would stay there at night. I promise they were very well cared for -
ellasmom the tails are not docked so the dogs can fit into the kennels. the dogs wag their tails so much and so hard sometimes that they bang their tails against the side of the kennels/runs they are kept in and keep injuring their tails. we call this problem happy tail. when they do this most of the time you cannot just bandage the tail because when it heals they just injure it again. so then the dogs tails have to be amputated.
if you wait until having pet spayed or neutered, it is an amputation and then there could be more complications, and the fee would be much higher. usually a clinic will not do it past the 3-5 day old puppy. we have greyhounds that board with us and know the ones with happy tail, so the doctor usually tapes it, so he won't smack it on the walls and cause it to bleed or break. i do love those greyhounds.