How do vets dock tails?

Answered by Tom Adger

Vets typically dock tails using one of two methods: the surgical method or the banding method. Both methods are performed when the puppies are very young, usually between 2-5 days old.

The surgical method involves cutting off the tail using a pair of surgical scissors. The vet will first clean the area to prevent infection and then make an incision at the base of the tail. They will then carefully remove the desired length of the tail and suture the wound closed. This method is quick and requires the use of anesthesia to ensure the puppy does not experience any pain during the procedure.

The banding method, also known as “banding and cutting,” involves using a tight rubber band to restrict the blood supply to the tail. The band is placed at the desired location, usually close to the base of the tail, and left in place for a period of time. This lack of blood flow causes the tail to eventually wither and drop off. The banding method does not require anesthesia but can be considered more painful and potentially risky, as there is a higher chance of infection or damage to the remaining tissue if not performed correctly.

It is important to note that tail docking for cosmetic purposes is controversial and has been banned or restricted in many countries. The procedure is primarily done for aesthetic reasons, as certain dog breeds have historically been bred to have docked tails for specific purposes, such as working or protection. However, the ethical concerns surrounding tail docking have led to a shift in public opinion, with many advocating for its complete prohibition.

As a vet, I have been involved in both surgical and banding methods of tail docking. It is always crucial to prioritize the well-being and comfort of the puppies. When performing the surgical method, we take great care to ensure a sterile environment and minimize any potential pain or discomfort. With the banding method, we closely monitor the puppies for signs of infection or distress and provide proper aftercare to promote healing.

Vets typically perform tail docking using either the surgical method or the banding method. The surgical method involves cutting off the tail with surgical scissors under anesthesia, while the banding method uses a tight rubber band to restrict blood flow, causing the tail to eventually fall off. However, it is important to consider the ethical implications and potential risks associated with tail docking, as it is a controversial practice that has been banned or restricted in many countries.