When Should Tail Docking Be Performed on a Puppy?


Quick Answer

The tails of puppies are ideally docked within the first week of their birth in a simple procedure that does not require any anesthesia. If the puppy is older than a week, docking will have to wait until the puppy is old enough to be safely anesthetized.

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Full Answer

Tail docking in canines means that part of the animal's tail is removed. The practice can be traced back to Georgian-era England. It was believed to prevent rabies, improve speed and prevent injuries. More modern premises for tail docking in dogs include injury prevention and therapeutic and cosmetic purposes.

There are two basic procedures used in tail docking. One makes use of a rubber ligature that is wrapped very tightly around the tail to restrict blood flow. The tail will then fall off after 24 hours or so. Another common procedure uses a pair of scissors or a scalpel. Using these tools, the tail is severed at the dock, hence the term "docking."

Some dog breeds, especially show types, have a breed standard that requires for their tails to be docked. Among these breeds are the Rottweiler, Doberman, boxer, schnauzer, toy fox terrier, poodle, corgi and others. The practice, however, is controversial as it is regarded by some sectors as cruel. Among these sectors are the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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