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Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM

Tail Docking In An Adult Dog

By November 28, 2006

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BOBCATSHOPPER asks: "I have Great Dane/Lab mix. He's a great dog, but he's got a tail that is like a whip. We do what we can to keep him calm, but it's impossible to keep a dog from wagging his tail. It hurts when his tail hits the guys in a sensitive place, and he's smacked the kids across the face a few times. We're considering getting his tail cropped/docked, but we don't know if there is an age limit. We would leave his tail alone if it wasn't hurting anyone, but it is. My daughter has already gotten one black eye from being whacked with his tail..." full forum post

Update March 2011:

This 2006 blog post has generated good discussion about tail docking in dogs. There is an important distinction between cosmetic/elective tail docking surgery and medical reasons (e.g. repeated or non-healing tail injuries) for tail docking.

You are invited to submit your stories and opinions about tail docking in dogs in our new Reader Responds section.

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November 28, 2006 at 6:00 pm
(1) Davina Walshe says:

Just imagine you are in the UK where it is illegal to dock & you’ll manage ok, we do! Otherwise rehome your dog to someone where his tail isn’t a problem & put a lot more research into your next dog.

December 3, 2006 at 6:08 pm
(2) B. Shartrand says:

At this age tail docking is an amputation. Would you cut off a leg? It is the same thing. Perhaps you should seperate your daughter & your dog.

December 27, 2006 at 11:05 am
(3) Roger says:

I have a great dane/boxer mix with the same issues I have contacted many vets and I have been told that if it was an issue of getting rid of the dog or putting the dog to sleep because of the tail they would dock it at any age to save the dogs life.I don’t know if that helps or not but you may want to start calling around I called in Michigan and that was the response I got. As far as the other comments you recieved I would ignore when a dog has a tail like that it can be dangerous not only to the owners and especially children also the dog. The type of tail these mixes have can break glass among many other things that could end up doing worst damage to the dog.Great dane tails are normally hanging down and don’t curl up accept at the very bottom but on a mix that the tail normally is higher they become a whip due to how thin they are. If you do decide to get rid of the dog most people would give it up again or worse put to sleep because damage these tails cause. With a mix breed you may never know which tail your going to get so all your research may not have paid off.

December 27, 2006 at 11:55 am
(4) Debbie says:

Cropping a tail is never like an amputation and does not stop the dog from functioning in adult dogs they receive Anesthesia. As for the Uk it is still allowed under certain conditions. It is also a well know fact that breeders, dog owners, vets are for docking a dogs tail in many cases it is the difference between the dog having a good home to being put down. There can be no doubt that any experienced vet or breeder is aware of the possible damage caused by a long whip-like tail-wagging or by gundogs working through thick cover. In such cases, the tail tip becomes chronically inflamed and bruised. Conservative treatment may provide temporary relief but amputation is the only practical cure and this is a much larger operation in the adult dog. Docking is carried out in the UK on new born (neonatal) pups of certain
Breeds, such as spaniels, poodles and terriers. These pups are docked ostensibly to
Prevent injury to the tail in later, usually adult, life, or to improve hygiene by
Preventing fecal fouling with subsequent risk of infection or fly-strike. As far as researching a mixed breed you may not know if the tail is going to get bushy or stay thin until the dog is older. If the dog would have ended up with the lab tail it would have been thicker and bushier, Great dane tails are very long and thin like a whip at the bottom. I have seen mixes like this that have left welts on children and people have sued for less. So for your dogs safety I would recommend calling around to find a vet that could help you with this issue and if necessary call out of state vets. The dogs life without a tail will still be more rewarding then if the dog has to be put down or given to a worse home because of the tail issue.

February 15, 2007 at 7:29 pm
(5) Angie says:

I breed Boxers, though admittedly not often now. I also used to do trials and obedience with them,and I firmly believe they would be at risk, if they were not docked. I will no longer breed them when the ban comes in, because I will not put my dogs through months and years of misery, because of a piece of biased and ill-conceived legislation. Working as I have done in the past, with vunerable breeds that aren’t docked, I was horrified at the amount and severity of tail-damage endured by many. I wish the uninformed do-gooder sentimentalists, such as one I spoke to today, who support this Law, could see the results of their labours. Better yet, they should have to help take care of the unfortunate dogs they helped cause to suffer. Animal Welfare Act? What a joke.

July 14, 2007 at 10:11 am
(6) paul bryant says:

First, let me say that comments one and two are completely inane and totally unhelpful. Docking a tail is NOT like amputating a leg. A dog doesn’t need a tail to walk or live normally. And a suggestion to give the dog away (presumably to a better home, with people who are qualified to own a dog) is preposterous. The bonehead suggestion to do better research next time should have been prefaced by a summary of their own research into adult tail docking.

It’s clear that adult tail docking is not a trivial operation. Neither is spaying or neutering, but we all agree that such procedures are necessary in some circumstances. So, if it has gotten to the point that you need some help with your dog, and docking will provide it, then consult with your DVM and proceed as advised. We are having the tail of a 3-year old cattle dog docked because of a serious defect that is now causing her intense pain. We don’t like that she’s going to be hurt by the procedure, but then it will be done and her tail won’t bother her all day every day.

Good luck.

August 13, 2007 at 2:14 pm
(7) Greg says:

I have the exact same mix dog, exact same situation. Not only is this tail painfull to the dog, he has split it open so many times (its bald, no hair will grow because of the scaring), blood goes everywhere, ruining all sorts clothing, drappery, and hurts like hell to both him and us. I clean blood from the walls almost daily, because it will never heal. Our vet said that it also may become infected and cause serious problems! We are getting him docked this month, and I think both our dog and us will be much happier!!

September 7, 2007 at 12:17 pm
(8) Mel says:

My German Shorthaired Pointer mix is have this procedure done today. He is 9 months old and his tail has been bleeding for the last three months. It became infected last time and the vet recommended that it be docked. Sometimes, you do what you have to do to save the life of a loved pet.

March 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm
(9) diana says:

I’ve got the same issue. My Boxer/Ridgeback X has a whip and she Is bothered by it. She whacks things and then continues to whack an=d I have blood sprays on the walls all over the house. It cannot be good for her. It’s constantly scabbed & opened up. I’ve been pondering the dock also.

May 24, 2008 at 7:26 am
(10) Tom says:

Our dog was rescued literally hours from being put down. One comment above suggested doing better research next time. Listen, we love our dog, and thank God I didn’t take the time to do more research. She is constantly hitting her tail on eveything and cutting it. As I write this, she is very agitated because the wound is itching her severely. I am taking her to the vet AGAIN. I will definitely discuss docking. This continues to happen, and with her agony and the blood all over the walls, we all need some relief. I assure you I was one of those that always thought docking seemed very cruel and unnecessary. Maybe in some cases it is, but I am now changing the way I feel about it after experiencing this….Tom

June 11, 2008 at 11:03 pm
(11) Amanda says:

I have to agree with most of the comments. I do believe that docking is a neccisary precaution to futher harm. It will not affect the dogs ability to do the daily activities we all enjoy seeing, and doing. My situation is a little different though, I have just adopted a Bostin Terrier, and he’s almost a year old. He was extreamly abused, and didn’t even look like a Boston when I picked him up. His tail was not docked, and I’ve been reading up on his breed, and I guess a lot of them have defective tails that go down like a normal tail for about an inch, then it literaly looks like it has been broken to one side. I though that’s what had happened, but my vet reassured me that this was normal. The problem with this breed’s tail, because it is short, and curved, he is alway hurting himself by sitting on it. I wasn’t sure about what the limits are to haveing an adut dog’s tail docked, but some vets won’t do it because it’s too advance, but a good one will. Especially when the dog, and/or owners are getting hurt from it. It’s like a bad tooth that needs to be pulled, it has to be done before it gets any worst.

June 15, 2008 at 1:45 pm
(12) Jamie says:

I have a lab and she has split her tail open and hits evertying, spaying blood over everything, I spoke with my vet and he suggested to dock about an inch off of it and sew the end up so will stop bleeding, bad idea….its now gashed open worse then it was before instead of wrapping the skin and hair up under the end he just streched the skin to the end and stitched it up.. well he obviously wasnt thinking i will now have to take her back in to be redone and hope the gapping gash on the end of her tail doesnt get infected…if you are going to do this please take them to some one who knows what they are doing….and talk with them about how they plan to do it…what suck is in our small town we dont have much option as where to go but I will be taking her out of town now….

August 6, 2008 at 4:05 pm
(13) aly says:

ARE YOU SERIOUS?! That’s like saying oh my kid is just always waving his arms around so I think i’m going to cut off his arms or hands. Why would you ever want to cut off a poor dogs tail. It’s not right. You need help and you make me sick

August 21, 2008 at 3:56 pm
(14) Karen says:

I woke up this morning to a blood soaked garage. My 17 year old lab/collie mix (yes, she is extremely old but in great shape other than some weak hind legs) had been chewing on her tail and it was rather raw Sunday night. We treated and dressed the wound every day. Last night she was able to remove the dressings and chewed away about 2 inces of her tail. I took her to the emergency clinic and they said they needed to amputate her tail rather than chanceing her having to have multiple surgeries by only taking part of the tail. I never really contemplated the docking/not docking until now. If you have a working dog, sure, absolutely dock the tail. Even if you don’t have a working dog, but a dog with a big tail, I recommend docking rather than having to go through what I went through this morning. Fortunately the doctor said the infection was likely caused by nerve damage and that she couldn’t feel most of her tail where she had chewed. Another reason to do this at a young age is because this kind of surgery is dangerous at her age and if left untreated, it would have led to a blood/bone infection. Poor ole girl. She just got out of surgery and is doing great!

August 27, 2008 at 6:31 pm
(15) katma says:

Thanks to reading this, I will no longer negatively judge the people who’ve had their dog’s tails docked.

I’ve met a few dogs equipped with the “destruct-o-tail” and tho’ it doesn’t bother me that much I can imagine it could hurt a toddler’s face quite a bit.

I’ve also heard of dogs and cats that had phantom itches and other weird things that made them chew their tails to the point of self-injury. And breaking open the skin of your tail has got to hurt! In some cases it seems research of breeds would be helpful; clearing the coffee table etc. would help; but when the dog hits the wall and splits open his/her tail just from enthusiastic wagging, it might be time for docking.

September 3, 2008 at 9:13 am
(16) Mike says:

I have a 3 months old Weimaraner. Her tail was just docked yesterday 9/01/08. When I picked her up it was like nothing happened to her, she was happy and cheerful as she’s been and she still is. Is been 24 hours since her procedure and I dont think she even misses her tail, for that matter she shows absolutely no pain. I dont know if it was because the procedure was done at a young age of 3 months, but everywhere I read it states that it should be done at 3-5 days old.

Go head and do it, it would hurt your dog more if you put him/her up for adoption or find her a new home.

September 7, 2008 at 11:03 am
(17) Holly says:

Hello I live in Newfoundland and it is currently not banned in Canada. I have a Boxer/Lab and he is 4 years old. As soon as I told my Vet we have a baby on the way she said we should have his tail done. We are getting the surgery tomorrow. It would be worth it for you. Not only good for the dog but good for the family.

September 9, 2008 at 12:11 pm
(18) Cindi says:

My boxer that I rescued at 5 weeks from a horrible breeder couldn’t have her tail docked until she was well from the terrible conditions she lived in. We had it done at about 4 months old. She did quit well after. She did try and pick out her stitches but with a little bit of help from us she recovered and I don’t regret it one bit.

September 19, 2008 at 11:57 am
(19) marty says:

My neighbor just rescued a puppy and it’s tail has been broken and healed. The puppy cannot feel the tip and my neighbors want to put a rubber band on it. I know that this was done in the past, does anyone know anything about this process? thanx

September 19, 2008 at 12:00 pm
(20) marty says:

My neighbor just rescued a puppy and it’s tail has been broken and healed. The puppy has no feeling in the tip. They want to put a rubber band on it till it falls off. I know this was a practice in the past. Does anyone know anything about this process?

October 11, 2008 at 8:22 pm
(21) Katie says:

DO NOT let them do this, it could cause serious problems for the dog if it does anything besides get infected and cost them a ton in vet bills!!!!

October 14, 2008 at 12:32 am
(22) Amanda says:

Banding of the tails as a way of docking should only be done during the 3-5 day old suggested docking period. It is used for castrating livestock as well, and is a clean safe way to dock a puppies tail. HOWEVER, I would never use banding in an adult dog. especially by someone with no clue about banding in the first place! I recently got a 7 year old Old English Sheepdog, she still has her tail, being born and raised in germany, and am also worried about her overly happy whip of a tail. Talk to your vet, and make sure this is a vet you feel comfortable with, and one that is confident in the surgery!

December 26, 2008 at 9:02 pm
(23) Maggie says:

This is for the self rightous jerk who thinks he/she is the end all to dog ownership! How about you just imagine you were a human male and your forskin was removed without anesthesia when you were a newborn infant. We treat out animals better than that.
I’m having my adult dog’s tail docked because I’m sick and tired of her chasing it. And she is sick and tired of biting it so hard she yelps.
I feel it will be better for her, just like removing the tonsils of a child after suffered repeat problems. It’s the right thing to do for your dog.

December 30, 2008 at 8:51 am
(24) Kristina says:

I have a great dane mix and her tail split open from whacking the concrete in the animal shelter we adopted her from. We have tried for the past 3 months to heal it, keeping it bandaged, etc. My vet even suggested amputating it but I declined at first because of the pain it would cause my dog. A few days ago, on Christmas Eve as I was leaving, she whacked it and it looked like a murder scene there was so much blood everywhere! It causes the dog more pain to repeatedly open up the cut on the tail and whack it, then it will for her to get it amputated to a shorter length so that it wont hit anything. I feel bad because my dog cries when we bandage it and when it hits a door, cabinet or person. A good vet will advise you to get the amputation and the proper after care so your dog will no longer live in pain. It hurts the dog just as much as the children/adults when it hits them.

January 10, 2009 at 2:47 pm
(25) Candie says:

We just adopted a pug/english bulldog mix and are thinking about having her tail docked. It is dry and cracked and she whines when we touch it or get anywhere near it she even got angry at one point. I know most pugs have thier tails but english bullgogs do not. Ant thoughts on having it done?

January 15, 2009 at 11:49 am
(26) Brittney says:

I have a Great Dane/Boxer, and when reading some of these comments, I swear your talking about my Zues. He just turned a year old and I wake up every morning to a murder scene. He sleeps in a kennel, and the second he hears footsteps in the hall, he’s wagging that tail in the kennel hitting each wall and busting open the scab that just healed over night. It’s the same thing EVERY DAY, and bandages will work while he’s inside under our supervision, but then when we put him outside, it’s gone! I know he’s in pain, and I feel so bad cause there is nothing we can do, so I’m looking at docking research now, which lead me to this page. I’m really hoping that all of your stories turned out for the best of the dog, because I just don’t want to take away his pride and joy, even though it bruises my grandmother’s legs. It’s such a difficult decision. Asking for Help in GA . . .

January 22, 2009 at 7:57 pm
(27) Brevin says:

Davina Walshe,

It is not illegal to crop a dogs tail in the UK. It is illegal to do it yourself, but not illegal for a Vet to perform.

January 28, 2009 at 7:40 pm
(28) Heidi says:

My 7 year old pit (Baby) is in having surgergy to amputate her tail right now. She has had 3 painfull weeks of bandages and “casts” to protect a case of “happy tail”. She hit it so hard that it was bleeding everywhere and would not heal. She has even has a professional cast put on by the vet. Unfortunately, this morning she ripped off the cast and chewed through her tail exposing the bone. We immediately took her to the vet and they said we had no choice but to amputate (unless we chose to let it fester and rot). Under the right cicumstances, docking a tail is a lifesaving device.

February 9, 2009 at 5:45 pm
(29) Dave & Cecilia says:

I am also guilty about judging those who had their dog’s tails docked. Not anymore. Our lab mix with a killer tail had two inches removed off of her tail about three weeks ago. Unfortunately even with the e-collar on she managed to get to her tail. She tore off the bandages and chewed off her tail until we could see bone. She’s asleep at my feet right now after having her surgery today. That is a scene I will never forget. We became awful affectionate with Mr Clean Magic Erasers. Maybe now we can all have our life back. She can have some peace and enjoy playing without pain and we can begin to go out of the house at the same time again (we have been arranging our schedules so someone is home with her at all times.) To those of you who think we are terrible people remember that you don’t know how it is until you walk a mile in our dogs paws. WOOF!

March 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm
(30) Tim says:

I just had this same thing happen with my boxer mix. He had a full tail, but ended up pulling off the last inch, he needed surgery, they took out an additional bone in the tail to have skin to close the injury. Needless to say, the dog pulled out his stitches through his oversized e-collar. Actually the dog did this two times. After the second time, the vet decided to dock his tail so it could properly heal. Still in recovery, day two!

March 13, 2009 at 5:15 pm
(31) Alyte says:

I have the same problem with our foster dog. We saved him from being euthanized, but he has bit off close to an inch of his tail off. He does it when we are not around and because he wags his tail all the time, the wound keeps opening and blood splashing all over the house. We are planning on getting his tail docked since it is the only way we are able to keep our sanity any longer.

March 14, 2009 at 9:50 pm
(32) star says:

Hi I got my 3 month old heelers tail docked almost a week ago and it has been a nightmare!! She has torn open the stitches and has been back to the vet twice since the surgery. She keeps trying to drag her butt on the ground. I have put puppy diapers on her and even childrens pull ups but she manages to escape those and drag her butt all over. If I could do it over I again I would NEVER have docked her tail at that age. My other heeler had her tail docked at 2 days old and she did great. If anyone has some advice about how I can prevent her from dragging her butt or what to use to cover her I would greatly appreciate the advice. Please email me at setsygurly@gmail.com. Thanks Oh if you have something rude or nasty to say to me please DON’T email me thanks again.

March 31, 2009 at 10:44 pm
(33) Amy says:

We have an almost 2 year old male lab who for about the past 6 months has been splitting the end of is tail constantly. He has always been a hard wagger, but it has gotten to the point of looking like a murder scene daily. We have gone through so many bandages, splints, bitter apple spray, none of it works for long. The apple spray on top of bandages works only for a short period. My husband DOES NOT want to dock any of it, but it is looking more like we may have no choice, I have gone through so much, clorox clean-up wipes and now I have discovered magic erasers work well, but really I have other things to do, I can not become a professional blood cleaner. The tip of tail I am afraid is going to have to go!!!!!

April 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm
(34) Oliver says:

My brother’s lab had ‘accidents’ also with his tail (blood all over the kitchen walls). The question I have, is that if certain breeds have more problems with injuries (like the lab) why does the AKC not include them in the ‘docked breeds’?Why? I suppose ‘looks’ rather than ‘practicality’ has driven their standards. Same with dewclaw removal… One breed I have had them removed…another breed I have has not (not in the standard), but had injured his on a number of occasions, but this was easily remedied by keeping that nail short.
Still, a tail has a function…balance, warmth (why does a dog sleep in a ball?), eases defecation, a source of communication (to other canines).
Sad to hear about all these tail injuries and the pain and suffering all of you owners (and your sweet canine companions) are going through. But I don’t believe any are a case for docking newborns. Yes, the procedure is more difficult at a later date, but not all dogs (or owners) have problems with ‘natural’ tails.

April 12, 2009 at 10:21 pm
(35) Dave and Cecilia says:

It was explained by the vet who did the first surgery that it’s harder to get the tail to heal from the “splitting open” or “happy tail” than to get the tail to heal after tail amputation. Having never been in this situation we were ready to and tried everything. We even got Manuka Honey which is great for healing BUT it didn’t work for us in this situation. We also tried bitter apple on the bandages, etc but to no avail. Bridget is two months post op and we haven’t had any problems even with her “missing” her tail. I guess perhaps it bothered her so much that having it gone is easier to live with. Even if we’d had her as a newborn I don’t know that I’d even considered tail docking but when it’s a medical necessity I’m all for it.

April 18, 2009 at 2:30 am
(36) elizabeth says:

to candie #25: you mentioned that bulldogs never had their tails docked..i just wanted to mention that i have a bulldog and his tail is docked and was that way when we bought him. i’m not sure where you live but here in the US that’s the norm for this breed and is done because of the laundry list of problems listed on this board. just didn’t want you were going to be something harmful to your dog :)

May 5, 2009 at 11:25 pm
(37) Tiffany says:

I have a Great Dane, she is about a year and a half. She has a whip for a tail and I do not mind it, it is part of a Dane. But, she to has “happy tail” and whacks it every day all day on everything, and it is bleeding on everything and my husband and I have to dip it in perioxide and cleanser daily to keep it from getting infected, we took her to the vet today and they suggested docking it a few inches. I really am not sure what to do, If it is better or to dock it a few inches or all together or not at all. Only doing it a few inches I think will still allow her to open it up whacking it on things. Is this a puppy thing that she might out grow? Docking it all together, maybe I am not sure. Any suggestions? Any pictures of totally docked or partially a few inches? Please email to me personally at tiffandkids@comcast.net. Thank you

May 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm
(38) S. Clark says:

We hate to do it but our yellow Lab mix is having his tail amputated next week. I would never consider docking a dog’s tail or cropping ears for looks, but his long, thick whip-like tail has already blinded one of our dogs in one of her eyes, and now has damaged the cornea of one of our other dogs.
She just had eye surgery today to help it heal, but we don’t want to risk it happening again. And I have no doubt that it will if we don’t do something. Our Lab is a very happy dog with a very strong tail. We’ve also had the “crime scene” thing happen here with blood all over the walls from him hitting his tail too hard, but it didn’t happen enough to consider amputation. Now, though, it’s his tail or their eyes. The vet said there is a small risk of a fibroma growing on the end of the tail which would cause a dog to have phantom pains, so he leaves enough incase that happens and he has to cut more. He said he’d take about half the tail off. To the person who commented it would be better to “rehome” him. I adore him and wouldn’t consider that. And as to researching the dog before we got him…he was a stray.

May 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm
(39) Jermae says:

I think it is alright to dock a tail when necessary. I have a vizla/lab mix and his tail is vicious. We have a 3 year old daughter and he has given her a black eye and given us numerous brusies on our legs just becuase he was excited and wanting to play. We got his tail docked last week and he was fine the next day. I think he also likes it shorter just for the fact that it doesn’t hit everything like it used to.

May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm
(40) Dave & Cec says:

I agree with Jermae. Bridget seems a lot happier with the shorter tail because she’s no longer in pain and hitting it on things that would cause her pain. She has changed SO much and is back to her usual happy go lucky goofy self.

July 5, 2009 at 12:29 pm
(41) Biscuit says:

I have a Boxer/Mastiff that chews his tail when I’m away. He then wags its and spatters blood all over my house. He is 1.5 years old and I am DEFINITELY having his tail docked. I adopted him as an older dog, thus it wasn’t done as a pup. The first couple of comments are utterly ridiculous. Whoever suggested separating the daughter and dog is a complete moron. It will cost a bit more to dock the tail of an older dog, but I have consulted 3 different vets about my dog. All of them have endured me that docking the tail is the only solution. 2 even said that it would be safer for the dog because dogs with large whip-like tails tend to eventually break or otherwise injure them causing severe pain. Good luck.

July 9, 2009 at 5:02 pm
(42) Paul M says:

Had 3 inches of my 10 year old terrier/poodle rescue dogs tail amputated one week ago due to constant bleeding issues from “happy dog syndrome”. The dog is still in a lot of pain and refuses to walk. How long does it take for the tail to heal and the dog to be comfortable enough that we can remove the cone off his head?

September 9, 2009 at 2:46 pm
(43) AC says:

OMG, Amputation sounds awful but after a week + of cleanig walls, cabinets, clothes…changing bnadages & keeping my poor lab sescluded so he doesn’t make the whole house look like a murder scene I am seriously consdireing docking. I am going to call the vet & get more research done. It seems like the happy helicopter tail will never stop hitting everything it comes close to.

September 22, 2009 at 10:37 am
(44) Paul M says:

The key to recovery was when our vet realized the dog needed special medication normally given to humans after amputations to stop the nerve endings from hurting. After this he left his nail alone and it healed.

October 1, 2009 at 7:15 pm
(45) Michelle says:

Comment #2…If my dog EVER gave my child a black eye it would be a serious problem, the dog would be gone, plain and simple. Yes I love my dog, but my CHILD is number one, always, no matter what. A dog is a canine and the daughter is a human, there is a difference.

October 4, 2009 at 12:27 pm
(46) Xena says:

I have a pit bull/boxer mix. She has the happy tail problem too. My issue isn’t with the tail whipping my legs because I know she can’t help it, but I hate to see her break open the skin on the tip of it and start bleeding. She is 18 months old and my vet suggested we go ahead and dock her tail. I’m still not sure I want to do this but I hate to think she will have progressively more injuries and issues with her tail. She is a wonderful dog and extremely loving and playful. It hurts me every time she hurts, so I know I need to do something for her.

October 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm
(47) Dave & Cecilia says:

If I had a child maybe I would feel different but it’s not like the dog punched the child in the eye. It was an accident. Those kinds of things happen with animals and kids. Not fair to punish the dog either by sending him away. My thought is….get a cat.

October 23, 2009 at 11:05 pm
(48) Jayne says:

We had our 6-year old lab/hound mix’s tail docked yesterday and so far, so good. We adopted her from the Humane Society when she was 8 months old. The first winter we had her, she cut open her tail and has continued to do so mostly in the winter with dry winter air. Until recently, it healed itself, but has now become inflamed, infected and painful for her. The bloody walls discussed in the other entries are very familiar for us. We went ahead with the surgery and she is FINE! We will all be better off now. This is not a functional part of the dog, so don’t worry…you’re sparing the dog a lot of pain in the long run. My only regret: why didn’t we do this 5 years ago!

October 28, 2009 at 10:33 pm
(49) Melissa says:

My adult boxer has the dreadful “whip tail” and has caused several injuries to himself and to our family members! Its so bad that I have to put a band aide over the tip of his tail in order to stop the bleeding! We desperately want to have his tail amputated, but we live in Nebraska and all the vets I have contacted are not willing to amputate his tail because it is not considered “injured”. What does the constant spiltting open, scabbing over, then splitting open again count as??? Anyways… Which states will amputate?? We are willing to travel!!!! Also roughly how much will this cost us! At this point we are willing to pay anything but just wondering!!! Thanks!

November 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm
(50) Rachel says:

I recently adopted a senior BN Pitt from deathrow….LOVELY DOGGIE!!! and yes I meant Doggie…she is so sweet. The only problem is that her tail keeps getting injured. It’s not a problem for me, my husband or the other little dog that wondered into our only 3 days after adopting the Pitt….we have all learned rather quickly how to deal….I am concerned for her safety because the amount of damage she is doing to her tail is extreme…I mean blood pours from her tail. In fact, right after I got her she went into heat so I couldn’t spay her right away…and there was so much blood from her tail that I thought it was her period….yeesh! I have tried the bandage thing…and she humours me by leaving it on…until we go to sleep…and then she pulls it off.

November 22, 2009 at 2:23 pm
(51) Curtis says:

I have a boxer/ lab mix. He was a rescue dog. Ever since we adopted him, we’ve found the blood trails down the hallway walls, but it was never an issue until recently. This last time, he began licking his wound obsesively. We took him to the vet who bandaged it and gave him antibiotics. He continued to pull every bandage off that I put on. He can get around the e-collar. We tried a Bite Not collar, but he just learned to bring his tail to his face. The licking turned into biting and tugging. I was left no choice but to have it amputated. Our vet believes that amputation under these circumstances is much better than as a puppy becuase she can control the pain as well as how much skin she leaves on to prevent discomfort later. During surgery, the vet found a tumor in another location that we have never noticed. Maybe things happen for a reason. He’s on day 4 or recovery and is very uncomfortable. If we can get through this healing process, I’m confident that he will be much better off. Now he has a boxer tail like my other boxer and will be able to go back to being the goofy dog he is. There’s a reason breeders started docking tails in certain breeds. Oh yeah, the vet bills from this tail injury are approaching $1,000.

December 23, 2009 at 4:54 am
(52) topanga says:

I have a yorkie whose tail was already docked(which pissed me off big time.) Yeah, I’m not big on the tail docking/ear cropping.

The only reason I would EVER dock or crop is if it’s a health condition to the dog. Unless,he/she actually NEEDS it. I wouldn’t do it.

Tail’s are like wisdom teeth I suppose. Some come in perfectly without any trouble. And some need to be removed. I would never remove the tail unless it was absolutely necessary FOR the DOG.

I’ve read a few things on here. I had a golden retriever and never had problems with her tail.So, it’s really odd to hear this stuff about lab’s but I believe you. Sounds horrific.(glad I had gotten a golden instead of a lab)…

What I’m trying to say is…maybe you should put your dog outside or in a different room. Because it’s probably cost more to have it done then for you to just change the environment a bit.

I mean if you have your wisdom teeth pulled out when they grew in perfectly. Sure,your not going to miss them but it’s gonna cost a lot to have it done.And it’s not even needed.(kinda like plastic surgery..more trouble then it’s worth if you ask me…)

January 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm
(53) dane foster mom says:

my first foster was a boxer (who i foster failed, and is now mine forever). he has natural ears, but i always judged people who dock tails because his tail was docked and i hated it for him. i have been fostering great danes for the last year. right now, i have a dane/boxer who looks like a huge Petey from the little rascals. WHAT A DOLL BABY!!!! but, like most of you above, my house looks like a murder scene. my past 6 foster danes has no problem whatsoever with their tails….so i was still in my judgemental phase. this new guy has bruised my legs, my daughter’s legs, clearly swatted my 4lb chihuahua across the room, and constantly beating up my boxer and lab with his tail. i’ve moved everything out of every room that he could break or hurt his tail on. still, it’s not enough – walls are still there….and they are his biggest enemy. i have blood all over everywhere and everything…all day, every day. and don’t even TRY to put a happy-tail dog in a crate – you will SOAK your walls with blood! i’m pretty sure that if you’ve commented on here….and willing to pay quite a few hundred to get your dogs docked, that you care so much for them that this is why you have to do it. i have yet to hear someone say it was just for appearance. everyone had a reason. to the person(s) above saying your child has gotten a black eye, it could have been worse (i’m sure you know this). what if the dog blinded him/her. it’s not the dogs fault for being happy (means you’re a good owner giving him something to be happy about!), but now your child is forever altered. sure, it was accidental – the dog knows no better – but your child is now blind. and then to the person replied to you (who has probably never owned a large dog…ever) being as judgemental as they are saying get rid of the dog. the human is the idiot for adopting the dog with a strong tail? you’re the reason I have to foster so many dogs that are “thrown away”. the rest of the people on this string care enough to do whatever to keep a dog….and to all you, your dog is forever, silently grateful to have you as their owner. sadly, i was as judgemental as the people on here with bad attitudes once. i’d like to say you should do your own research, but it doesn’t compare to when you’re actually IN this situation and see it first hand. i had done my research, yet i stayed as judgemental as you all these years. my new foster is 5 and has to be docked due to major issues of infections, splitting, etc. resulting from his rear weapon. I see why this is necessary now. thanks for everyone above being so open and honest. it’s like you were talking for me in some cases because our situations are so familiar. thanks!

January 11, 2010 at 11:09 am
(54) Janice says:

Well well, i am actually quiet shocked at what some people actually write on here regarding going against tail docking!, if the dog needs its tail removed due to health reasons, then it has to be done! Like my dog ..yes i dnt like the thought of him going in for a procedure to get its tail removed but for its own health it has too, now as for the comment on “oh how would you like it if i cut your childs arms off for waving them about” are you serious or what? i can only think that you havent even thought about what you actually wrote! all the above are explaining the dogs tails need removing due to injury or possibly harm may be caused! as for putting a dog down?? what??? who are you people!! sort it out!!!! Do you think my vet would have suggested docking the tail if it wasnt necessary?? i wasnt expecting the vet (yes thats the qualified man who treats all animals and mamals..to advise that, but lets just say vets are likley to be right!! dont you think!, so why dont those who wrote the absurd comments read back ..and yes i mean read back take it in what these people are actually saying! They do not want to do this for show and how this looks for the dog but its for the dogs health!..phew..some people just wreck me with ridiculous comments ..anyway ..thank you !! Goodluck to you all!

February 14, 2010 at 10:47 pm
(55) POPPA says:

Never ever dock a tail! Dogs will have phantom pain for the rest of their lives. Its a very cruel cruel and selfish practice. Shame on anyone who does this!

February 17, 2010 at 12:16 pm
(56) poor boy says:

I have an 8 year old Briard who suddenly got a wound on his tail about a year ago. For the past year we have worked with the vet to try to get it to heal. It would get better and then he would whack it or lick it too much and once again, blood everywhere from his open wound. It finally got to the point where it was resistant to the antibiotics and the infection got worse and the end of his tail started to die. He had about half of his tail amputated which left him with about 5 or 6 inches. It healed just fine and he couldn’t whack it on anything but then all of a sudden the end was open again and about 3 inches up his tail was just oozing blood. It was the craziest thing. The vet said that it was infected again and they would have to remove the rest of it. So now he looks a bit like a sheep but there really wasn’t any other choice, we tried everything, it just had to go. He’s still healing but I think he’s gonna be just fine. I loved his tail and I wouldn’t have removed it if it hadn’t have been so sick but sometimes these things just happen!

April 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm
(57) David says:

I own an Irish Wolfhound and for the past 2 years have been dealing with these exact same problems. In case anyone wants to bash people on here who have to deal with this problem let me describe the situation like others have done.

Like all the other stories, the poor lil pup will wag her tail so furiously that it breaks open/gets inflamed and infected and she won’t stop chewing at it. I’ve tried e-collars, no-bite muzzles, salves to prevent licking, nothing worked. I WILL TELL YOU THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T/WON’T HAVE THE CROPPING THE TAIL, BUT LOVE THEIR DOG ENOUGH TO TRY AND MAKE IT WORK:

I’m sure with the responses to the docking procedure everyone will shame me for the first step but there really aren’t any other options

Step 1: you’ll need a good basket muzzle (one that extends in front of the mouth, dogs can still lick and nibble through the no-bite ones most commonly sold in petstores. the one I use is made, I believe, by a company called Jaffco. that I purchased online. The muzzle has plenty of holes so it doesn’t affect breathing or drinking or anything like that. you can also slip her treats in quite easily and it doesn’t seem to really bother her. Of course she would prefer to have it off but if you don’t successfully crop her tail there is no other option

Step 2 (bandaging)
The type of material you use for bandaging is really important. My dog has trained me by constantly getting around anything I used in the past including bandages that were performed by vets and charged an arm and a leg for.

Items you’ll need: towel, hydrogen peroxide, scissors, aloe or other soothing medicating, johnson and johnson gaus roles, white hockey tape (purchased and most sports stores and 3M transpore medical tape (very important that it is this brand and type)

Option items: latex gloves, saran wrap

The process is somewhat lengthy so I will briefly describe it here and then add some tips after: first clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide, then thoroughly dry the hair above the wounded tail. cut a lengthy piece of gause and apply a small amount of aloe. wrap the gause around the wound and then a short ways up the tail. take the hockey tape and attach it to the gause where it ended on the high part of the tail. wrap it around the tail overlapping each time you go around making your way to the upper part of her tail. secure the bandage by wrapping the hockey tape around a hairy section of the tail. Some may think this part is cruel but I was instructed by the vet to wrap some of the hair into the tape to get it to stay. then reverse direction with the tape down to the tail. when you get to the end continue wrapping in circles and flattening the tape against itself. then simply fold it over the tail and wrap around this extra piece of tape, continue wrapping until you reach about half way back up the tail. hockey tape is very cheap in relation to medical tape and it is harmless aside from sticking to her hair (which needs to be done regardless). Once this is done you’ll have a good looking bandage. However if you’re dog is anything like mine this bandage would still provide problems. The dog can simply bite the bandage off (if you don’t have a basket muzzle) and go to town, or it can lick through the tape soaking your house in rotting flesh colored spots. An optional next step is to cut off a finger of a latex glove and stretch this over the bandage and/or wrap this bandage in a small piece of saran wrap. These optional steps will aid in reducing the moisture that will result from licking and consequently will allow the bandage to slip off or get rotting flesh and blood all over your house. The last step I would not recommend as being optional. Take a roll of 3M transpore medical tape (not the cheapest but what can you do), and wrap it starting from near the end of the tail over the hockey tape and in the same way begin wrapping it around. Make sure the tape wraps evenly on itself or moisture can easily seep through. go to the end, crimp, fold back over, wrap around all the way up to the exposed hair on the dog’s tail, then back down the bandage about an inch. You don’t want to leave any ends of tape sticking out for the dog to chew at. The dog should not be left alone unmuzzled because it can easily chew any bandage off you put on it. You will want to change the bandage every once and a while. generally you can smell when it needs to be changed, as the tail heals you will have to do this less and less, my record I believe is a couple months with no problems or rebandaging. If you have any questions you can e-mail me at warfielder4232@gmail.com I don’t check this often but I would be happy to help people out. If you feel the need to e-mail me with how “cruel” I am or all that crap that’s fine I’ll gladly take you down a peg or two being that you probably have no idea what you’re talking about. Or have no idea how much of an issue this can cause both dog and owner.

For the record I DO NOT want to crop my dog’s tail. My girlfriend does but only because we both feel IT COULD improve the dogs life. At the moment I am considering it because even with this method of bandaging/muzzling there are still slipups. If we forget to muzzle her when we leave or sleep it’s open season and there’s nothing you can do but get ready to wetvac blood the entire next day and then urine and feces for the next week or two when the dog becomes terribly ill from the infection and swallowing a bandage (yes my dog will swallow the entire bandage I’m not sure why). Then you’re back at square one with a tail that is chewed down to the bone. I am not against docking for extreme medical conditions like this or preventative measure for many breads but I came to this board because of a few concerns. namely: balance for a big dog after losing its tail, If she wills imply chew at whatevers left, and her general quality of life afterwards. I hate even thinking of her losing her prized tail. She looks beautiful with it even with a bandage on it. But her health and our sanity outweigh aesthetics, and even with this tested method there doesn’t seem to be a guaranteed method to deal with happy tail. Hope this helps. If anyone has some input with how their dogs have fared well after the surgery that would be helpful for me.

May 3, 2010 at 9:45 am
(58) Melanie says:

I have a German Shepherd who had surgery because he had a slipped disk in his back causing pain and he couldn’t lift his tail. This was several years ago, his back is better and he can lift his tail to go to the bathroom now. However, he chews and licks the end of his tail constantly, blood all over the carpet and walls all the time. I have tried everything except docking his tail. The tail obviously bothers him, he is in pain and I am checking into docking his tail. My question is, since this could possibly be due to nerve damage from his surgery, will he continue to chew what is left of his tail if I have it docked? If it is phantom nerves bothering him will he just chew on what he can reach?

May 10, 2010 at 11:29 pm
(59) Jenn says:

Well Guys, I have a pure blood pitt bull, he is the most sweetest dog there is, he loves to play and lick me and my 3 boys to death. But he swings that tail so hard, it feels just like a whip. He’s caught me in my legs, guests in their legs, and yes my boys in their faces. I got him last valentines day, within a week he broke open his tail and I had blood everywhere. My whole house looked like someone came in and stabbed someone to death. I did manage to get it healed, took an extremely long time, it is scabbed and of course hair will not grow. His tail is very long and again feels like a whip. I have been considering getting it “cut off”. He has knocked things over from tables, full cups, in a lick of a minute, I am not fast enough to catch him or whats falling. People tell me they dont want to come over because they dont want to get a whoopin… LOL. I feel yall pain, I really do. My issue isnt whether or not i should do it, I know its necessary to keep my children safe, keep my friends and family who visit safe and also myself. Truthfully, Im tired of my legs being bruised up. I dont want to go thru him breaking it open again, which sounds like i may have to, based on ur comments. That was a bad time. I still have clothes and parts of my wall I cannot get clean. I am lucky that its stayed healed, but like i said it took along time and alot of effort in getting it healed. Wish I had the money for this….

June 14, 2010 at 12:15 am
(60) Michele says:

Hi, we have a crazy golden also going after her tail… same story, blood every where, constant biting… very curious however, about how much a tail amputation costs in the US? We’re in AZ if anyone knows a good vet in Tucson.

June 30, 2010 at 11:07 am
(61) Susanne says:

I have a lab who is 5 1/2. He cut his tail about 3 years ago and it bled everywhere. I was just about to have it amputated when it stopped bleeding. It seemed to be doing great until about 2months ago when he cut it again. This time is worse and I think I’m going to have to have it amputated. I feel SOOO bad for him. This is the first time he seems to be in pain. I’m so worried about how he’ll be afterwards. This dogs whole body shakes when he wags his tail. I feel like he’ll be heartbroken if I cut it off and I’m so worried about infection. he also LOVES to swim and now that it’s summertime he goes in the pool every chance he can. It’s going to be almost impossible to keep him out of the pool.

September 2, 2010 at 11:15 pm
(62) RJorge0524 says:

Comment 13 is totally wrong, one can argue that why do boys get circumcised to, wouldnt it be cruel to a boy to go through the procedure……

September 7, 2010 at 10:58 am
(63) Donna says:

We have an 11 year old Bichon Frise who has a massive growth on his tail. We have been advised by our vet that if the tail isnt amputated the growth will spread. We have no choice and are devastated at the thought. For all of you who rant on about cruelty of tail amputation please give a thought to every person who has written about their dogs having to undergo amputation of their tails because of health issues and not for aesthetic reasons. It really beggars belief at the ignorance of some people. Your comments are very hurtful.

September 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm
(64) Hayley says:

I totally disagree with comment number 13, your so wrong a dog wags its TAIL NOT IT’S ARM, a dogs tail doesn’t act like an arm. I have 2 boxers and 1 has a docked tail which I have never had a problem with and I have one with a tail, that bleeds all the time,
Some people annoy me! Bet you don’t even own a dog.

November 4, 2010 at 7:03 am
(65) mindy says:

Geez, I live in a country where tail docking is illegal. Most dogs are happy wagging their tails with no problems and the owners have come to accept the new look.

But what is wrong with some people? Cutting dog’s tails just because they may be an inconvenience (ie, hitting men in their private parts, hitting the faces of children, making stuff fall) that is ridiculous. If tails bother so much, set your records straight and do not get a dog in the first place.

I can feel for those who were unfortunate about their dogs injuring their tails. But those tired of their dog chasing and biting their own tails must realize that this is a behavioral problem and by cutting the tail, they are not going to the root of the problem. Tail chasing and tail biting may be caused by frustration, boredom or anxiety (and in some cases even allergies) By cutting the tail you will not solve the problem, and your dog may go to licking and biting its paws and legs next if you do not solve the underlying issue.

November 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm
(66) Trisha says:

I have a problem far worse than my pit just hitting people with her tail, on a daily basis she hits her tail against something and busts her tail open to where she slings blood everywhere and therefore when I have the money I plan on getting her tail cut. I do not think she deserves to go through having a hurt tail everyday and me cleaning blood off of everything.

November 17, 2010 at 10:22 am
(67) Anne says:

I read these comments because we’re getting our American Bulldog’s (Think Petey) tail docked this weekend. He’s just over two years old, and we’ve been debating whether it’s cruel or not to cut it off. He has a weirdly extra long tail and he’s beyond happy and wags his tail like there’s no tomorrow. He’s 100lbs of muscle, and we’ve experienced why breeders dock tails when they are babies, and I wish the person we got him from would have docked his tail when he was a pup so we wouldn’t be dealing with it now. I wish we would have been more experienced to know why tails are docked (we now do!). Prior to our experience with this dog, I thought it was cruel. It’s not! It’s good for the dog, and good for the people – especially kids. I think it’s ridiculous to think we’d give up our dog instead of just getting his tail docked.

When I called our Vet to find out if it’s even possible to dock when they are older, she rambled off the procedure. They do it all the time. Our Vet actually thanked us for spending the money to dock his tail rather than giving him up. It’s going to cost us just under $1000 to do it because it’s condsidered an amputation. I feel bad doing it, but it needs to be done. I thought the Vet would judge me harshly for even asking the question, like it was cruel, but they actually said an owner who’s willing to pay that much money to fix their pet, is a better owner than someone who would just give them away.

For those who say to give him up for adoption – no way. He’s part of the family. AND, it would just turn into someone else’s problem if we did. You can’t stop him from being overly happy. It’s not a behavioral matter…he’s just happy. And we want him to be happy without slapping himself in the face with his own tail!

So, to those breeders who don’t dock the tail when they are pups, get yourself educated! It’s more cruel to NOT dock the tail than it is to do it.

January 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm
(68) ladyface says:

DIY docking is illegal but not illegal if done by a vet.The norm for docking is for tradition of the breed or as a precaution for working & hunting dogs. It is usually done when the dog is a young pup the before the vertebrae & the spinal cord have grown into the tail. Fair enough if it’s not necessary then why bother & some people get it done for shows which to me doesn’t make sense cos if the dog was born with a tail its puppies are gonna have tails too regardless of how many blue ribbons it gets for the stump of a tail on its backside. If its done as a precaution for working dogs then its a good thing to save the dog from suffering the pain of its tail being injuried in an accident while herding/ hunting etc. they would feel every bit of pain if this was to happen whereas in an op the dog would be asleep so they won’t feel a thing & would be completely unaware it was gone. they’l still wag their ass. as for ‘phantom pain’ now that is just hilarious. the nerves would be sealed off surgically it’d be like the tip of a finger. YOU can’t feel pain beyond your body & neither do dogs. That would be like saying it physically hurts when some one invades your personal space without touching you. Sugesstions of giving away or destroying the dog a& that tail docking is ‘sick’ are ridiculous. Why get rid of a beloved pet whether rehoming or putting to sleep when its only a matter of 1 op to dock the tail. The dog will live a happy life with the people he loves without having to seperate him from anyone .Ignorance is not always bliss. Tails are not essential to the dogs livelihood they’re like your tonsils if they’re giving trouble we wud get rid of them. they don’t climb trees like cats or monkeys who need tails for balance and they can’t use their tails to grab things like they do in cartoons so tail or no tail the dog is not affected. Sometimes its necessary for one to be cruel to be kind.

January 8, 2011 at 12:41 am
(69) Rhonda says:

I have a rescued “mutt” who might be part bull terrier. he is now 7 months old and his tail chasing has become a concern. He stays after it for a very long time and gets more and more aggitated. My sister in law had a bull terrier that their vet believes drove itself mad due to chasing its own tail. It actually become very paranoid and went from being a very passive sweet dog, to then showing aggression. He had to be put down eventually.

My concern is that our dog may be on the same path. I’m going to get him fixed soon and will inquire about having it docked during this procedure.

We had a pit bull who had his tail accidentally shut in the back screen door and he lost about 3 or 4 inches of his tail (after the vet’s office finished surgically fixing it) He has never had any “phantom” pain, this has never been a problem for him.

I would never consider docking a tail for cosmetic purposes, nor cropping ears on a dog, but if you have a real concern (as we do) with the tail issue, then it should be done.

January 24, 2011 at 9:22 pm
(70) Meg says:

Tomorrow our 2 year old rescued Vizsla Trigger will have to have nearly 1/2 of his tail removed. Vizsla’s usually have 1/3 of their tails docked as puppies. The vizsla’s tail is strong for the first 2/3, but the last 1/3 is weak and whip like and constantly in motion, coming in contact with scrub and brush in the field when he hunts as well as walls, doorways, and especially people’s shins, ouch! Because Trigger was rescued at 3 month’s old his was still in tact. After 18 months of bruised shins and blood streaked walls, (from him knocking off the end of his tail repeatedly) we are having it partially amputated to keep him from developing an infection that could potentially be fatal. There is a time and a place for everything, if Trigger’s tail had been docked when he was born, he would not have to undergo major surgery, pain, and anxiety, and he would have never known the difference. Not to mention the cost; as a puppy it would have been under $50, now that he has to be put under anesthetic and given pain pills for recovery, the best price I found was $300, with some vets charging up to $1000. If you still think it is cruel to dock, for some breeds it is cruel not to.

To answer your question, the cost of the procedure, after calling 6 vets this is the best price I got:

$110 for the surgery
$150 for general anesthetic
$75 for pain pills and follow up appointments

Banfield wanted about $950.

January 27, 2011 at 7:19 am
(71) kelly says:

Boxer/doberman x: To all who have wrote comments in relation amputating a adult dogs tail & it being wrong. I agree, it is wrong but when your dog is in pain the best way forward is NOT putting her up for adoption or re homing and passing the problem onto someone else!
Our dog Charlie who is 4 yrs old has had problems with her tail for many years on & off but the past 4 months have been awful.
She cant help being a very happy/waggy dog, no matter how much you try & keep her calm it is impossible.
Her tail hurts guest when they come to our home and has hit my mums boxer dog in her eye a few times causing pain etc.. which has been hard but we have put up with as she has been ok & it hasnt seemed to bother her. All she wants to do it make a fuss
Weve tried dressing it several times a day but she pulls it of when we are not looking, we spend most of our time after arriving home wiping blood off walls/doors etc..it gets everywhere….which we dont mind but it cant be nice for her. Recently she has started to notice it more & has started to chase & lick her tail making it sore.
We took her to the vets over a month ago to be told the only way forward is to amputate her tail, at the time i couldnt believe he would even suggest something so drastic & said no. A few weeks have past & it has just got worse so we have had to reluctantly make the decision to have half of her tail amputated.
She had her the operation yesterday & is feeling very sore & sad, we are so upset that we have had to do this, if only docking was still legal at an early age she wouldnt have had to go through such a major operation. What ever clever dick thought it would be a good idea to ban docking when they are a puppy you couldnt be more wrong.
She had a very restless last night & was crying for the first 4 hours, she seems to have picked up a bit this morning so fingers crossed she will be ok.

March 1, 2011 at 11:20 pm
(72) Samantha says:

Hi I live in Newfoundland and tail docking is illegal here now unless it is done by a vet for medical reasons. I have a one year old american bulldog/rottweiler cross and a few months ago she busted her tail open by hitting it off several walls when she was excited. This has continued to happen since then and everyday my house looks like a bloody massacre! There is no hair on the end of her tail now and there is a hole in the end of it with a scab over it that keeps breaking open. My vet has advised me to have it amputated and I am bringing her to get it done next week. I have tried creams and bandages but nothing has worked so this is my last option. I don’t think docking should be penalized when it’s for a medical reason. Bottom line is my dog is in more pain now than she will be after the surgery. I will always do whats best for my dog, no matter what the cost.

April 1, 2011 at 5:17 am
(73) aileen uk says:

some of the comments above absolutely sicken me ! 8 weeks ago i was searching for a dog…a small one as i have kids….to complete the family. i was called and offered a “puppy” that someone had found wandering 6 months ago , put up posters and noone had claimed. when i went to pick him up i found a gigantic emaciated yellow labrador, unspayed and clearly badly abused so me being me i couldnt leave him and took him home.at this point he weighed 18 kg. i absolutely love my dog to pieces and as of yesterday i have spent nearly 2000 on his treatment and recovery to become a happy healthy dog. it all started with his initial check up 3 days after i got him where he had already gained 10kg !!! he had chewed off the end of his tail due to OCD which apparently is common in labradors and was given antibiotics, a week later he chewed the end off again….more antibiotics….3 days later he did it again and i noticed a smell….i picked him up and ran to the vet with my 33KG dog in my arms and he had gangrene. vet removed all of his tail to save his life. i sat all night holding my poor crying baby in my arms willing him to live as he was in so much pain.

now tell me what i did what not in the best interests of my beautiful 5 year old labrador ???? i could lose him now purely because i didnt agree with tail docking….for goodness sake open your eyes, im all for being against animal cruely but come on ??!!!!

April 28, 2011 at 9:14 pm
(74) lindsey says:

My family has two rescue pups… Star a 6 year old Border collie mix (rescued about 3 years ago) … and Macy a 1 1/2 year Great Dane (Rescued 3 months ago) … Star has cost me around $1100 for a cancer loaded toe that we had the cancer removed once and then it grew back and last spring had the hole toe amputated. Because it was a cancerous toe and she was only 4 I didnt think twice about having the toe removed and I know she has appreciated it because shes isnt in any more pain… now my reason for writing on this blog is because Macy has had “happy tail” since I got her (prob becuase she lived in a small kennel and was nevertaken out!)… and seriously there is blood everywhere in my house… my ceiling, rugs,walls, my truck you name it… and washing blood off walls and doors it is a daily chore for my 6 year old! LOL! I have dont everything in my power to stop it with No Luck! And now the worst has happened .. its infected and hurting her… i am going to my vet at 930 am and I am praying she will consider a full amputation! What i was hoping to find was an approximate cost? Can anyone here that has had this done give me an approximate cost it cost them? Wish me (& Macy) luck tomorrow! and for those crazy, stupid people who think its cruel… plase dont bother responding becuase I dont care about your opinion!
My family has two rescue pups… Star a 6 year old Border collie mix (rescued about 3 years ago) … and Macy a 1 1/2 year Great Dane (Rescued 3 months ago) … Star has cost me around $1100 for a cancer loaded toe that we had the cancer removed once and then it grew back and last spring had the hole toe amputated. Because it was a cancerous toe and she was only 4 I didnt think twice about having the toe removed and I know she has appreciated it because shes isnt in any more pain…

April 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm
(75) lindsey says:

now my reason for writing on this blog is because Macy has had “happy tail” since I got her (prob because she lived in a small kennel and was never taken out!)… and seriously there is blood everywhere in my house… my ceiling, rugs,walls, my truck you name it… and washing blood off walls and doors it is a daily chore for my 6 year old! LOL! I have dont everything in my power to stop it with No Luck! And now the worst has happened .. its infected and hurting her… i am going to my vet at 930 am and I am praying she will consider a full amputation! What i was hoping to find was an approximate cost? Can anyone here that has had this done give me an approximate cost it cost them? Wish me (& Macy) luck tomorrow! and for those crazy, stupid people who think its cruel… please dont bother responding because I dont care about your opinion!

July 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm
(76) mike says:

Our Labrador has twice injured his tail to the point where it sprays blood everywhere. Dressings won’t stay in place for obvious reasons and each time I have been afraid that it will get infected.

What has fixed the problem both times has bee applying “LiquidSkin” – It has to be repeated several times but does do the trick in a few days.

I tried the spray-on variety and then the brush but the best results come from just pouring the liquid on and then waiting a few moments holding the tail to give it a chance to start drying. I do this outside so that when I release the dog there is less chance that he will hit his tail on something hard in the first few minutes.

August 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm
(77) Kristi says:

If you feel it’s what you need to do, then go for it! We have an 18month old pit bull mix, who 6 months ago, we had to have her tail amputated due to the same problem. It’s called ‘happy tail’ it’s an actual neurological disorder in dogs that makes them wag their tail like crazy. We finally had to take our dog to the vet because she was splitting her tail open and bleeding all over the house. Her tail started to swell a little and to avoid further damage and infection the vet gave us options. Tail amputation was one of them. It was pretty traumatic for all of us because our little girl was in so much pain. But in 3 days, she was back to her normal self, and she seems happier now. She even seems to run faster and play harder :) For our dog and family it was the right decision

September 11, 2011 at 7:23 pm
(78) Michelle says:

My 4 1/2 yr old Boxer / Pit mix had her tail amputated this past Thur because it became necrotic. We did not do it for cosmetics or the problems of happy tail. We did it because she was getting necrotic and infected, thus eventually risking becoming gangrene. It was beginning to have an odor and cause her pain. She did not have much pain and the vet treated her well, we had to go back the next day and get staples because she pulled 3 sutures out because she got out of her E Collar. She is happy though and wagging her tail. The staples pull and pinch a little but she feels so much better she is jumping and wagging her nubbin and playing with our 6 yr old male Pit. I just can’t wait to get the remaining sutures and staples out because she is so preoccupied with them. Pain wise she is fine. She was given tylenol 3, and fentanyl patch, ultram, antibiotics, and an anti inflamitory. Total expense was $859, but she is worth it. Docked to prevent death not for cosmetic reasons. We are great pet owners and treat our animals as valued family members.

September 20, 2011 at 12:11 am
(79) dave crawford says:

I have an appointment to have Busters (male 5 1/2 yrs, American Bulldog) tail docked. I am training him and will use him as a service dog, we rescued him 5 tears ago when he was just 6 mo. old. He is a wonderful dog who is impossible in the home due to the most powerful tail I have ever encountered. As a service dog he would also cause much grief in stores restaurants etc.
My question is, is there any length i should have it docked to? Someone said he would lose balance as an adult dog if i did not leave 6 inches of tail? I do not believe this or am i wrong?
Thanks for any input.

September 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm
(80) Angela says:

Hi, my opinion is not much. But, #79, I believe you are right about the balance. There should be no problem with that. I have seen dogs with long docked tails, but I think only two or three inches is fine. I have even seen dogs with practically no tail stub at all. Every dog I have seen, they walked and ran just fine. If possible leave a little something for him to wag.

November 27, 2011 at 5:09 am
(81) cory says:

hi, rescued my abandoned german shepherd pup 2yrs ago, he was approx 4-6mos old, after a couple months he began to spin in circles and chase his tail… eventually it got worse, and he was biting his tail, the bone was showing thru at the tip, thankfully no infection, the vet put him on clomiprazine to treat OCD (also used for humans), i increased his activity level and took him off the med after 6mos b/c i didn’t notice a huge diff except w/ his personality. he still chased his tail but actual BITING it was better, his hair was finally even starting to grow back! a solid year went by, then 6mos ago a dog bit tip of his tail opening up old scar tissue… he then started chasing his tail and biting it.more than half the tail is completely hairless. the tip would bleed off/on- more of an ooze- it was raw but not profuse bleeding. 3wks ago a horse kicked him in the eye/side of head there, and he suffered concussion and seizures immed after, that seems improved- but the tail chasing/biting is the worst it has ever been. there is blood all over my house. all over. it flies out as he spins. the last 4-6″ is a bloody tissue mess. it is all open flesh. no skin. i want the vet to amputate. he doesn’t seem willing.

November 27, 2011 at 5:10 am
(82) cory says:

i want the vet to amputate. he told me i had to take him to a vet neurologist first- b/c amputating will not cure his ocd. what i want “cured” is my dog’s constant pain/whimper d/t the pain he is in d/t raw nerve endings!i want my dog to enjoy life a bit more. i want to be able to go save what is left of my carpet and furniture! the walls must be repainted from constant washing. if my dog must spin? fine. at least he won’t have a tail to mutilate. i am also worried now that it is finally infected as the flesh at tip is a very grey white color and the odar is horrible. he guards it and whimpers.
*has ANYONE amputated tail for this OCD reason? what were the results? did the dogs overall wellbeing improve?? did he then start eating other body parts?
the alternative, is to put the dog to sleep….
i can’t believe he survived a horse kick to the brain only to be put down d/t tail biting….
i would like to keep my dog, but can no longer tolerate this. my dogs quality of life is very low right now. i feel he is sufferring… any help?

December 4, 2011 at 8:49 pm
(83) Katee says:

I feel so fortunate after reading all the posts. I have a nine year old Jack Russell whose tail was docked to about 4″ at birth. We live in the country and she spends loads of time hunting critters and exploring the bush. After hearing the horror stories I feel terrible for all of you who have had to go through the trauma, worry and cost. Me and my dog are lucky and I believe it is far more humane to dock at birth especially in those breeds who are susceptible to future problems than what you all have gone through. If I ever get another JRT (or other breed with tail issues) I will make sure they are docked at birth.

November 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm
(84) carl owen says:

i have a 14 month old springer spaniel with a full tail she is back and forth to the vet every other week she has split her tail again and is causing great pain the vet said that the tail has to come off i aggree it should have been dunn at 3 days and she would not be going in and out of the vets for treat meant how can people say that its cruel to dock when mine is in so much pain

December 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm
(85) JoAnn says:

My daughter moved home for health and financial reasons. She has a 5 year old great Dane/Lab cross. He’s a sweet dog, lots of personality. He was a rescue dog. He has only been here a few weeks but he has become a very happy and wildly energetic dog! He loves the country with acres to roam and he loves running and playing with our 3 hunting dogs, though he is the house dog. He was abused as a pup and still is very timid when scared.Hhe is so happy that he beats his long thin tail on every wall, stairwell, doorway and piece of furniture he gets close to. He has scar tissue forming on the end of his tail. He breaks it open and there is blood spraying everywhere. The dog is vary attached to my husband, but he said this is enough. The dog has to go, or we have to do something different. The dog means a lot to our daughter who has recently lost so much in her life. He is a great dog and does not deserve to have to leave a home he loves with a yard that any dog would be estatic to have! We have looked for options. The local humane society suggested taping a plasic water bottle on the end of his tail, but I dont know how we would keep it on, and our yellow lab LOVES plastic bottles and he would distroy it in seconds! We are currently wrapping with gauze, vet wrap and black electrical tape, which seems to hold the best for a day or so. It seems to stick to the hair enough to hold, but we worry that it is getting put on too tight. Long term, trying to keep it wrapped and protected is not a viable solution. The risk of infection is extremely high.

December 10, 2012 at 8:33 pm
(86) JoAnn says:

So, we are going to the vet tommorow to have his tail docked. They are offering either regular cutting or use of a laser cutter. We also are debating what is the best length. This vet we are going to has not seen the dog yet, others have. they recommend only cutting back to a healthy section, but the vet we are going to use is recommending a full cut back to a boxer length dock. What have you chosen? Why? FYI: Our estimate is $389 with the laser and all after care including the anestesia and the antibiotics and pain meds. We will have to pay more if we want a collar for the dog… Without the laser saves about $50.

January 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm
(87) Paul says:

So nice to hear practical people who understand the diference betweem humans and dogs, and do not prefer an animal above a child etc. some of these people would drain a humans blood to save their pooch. (sick)

January 23, 2013 at 9:04 pm
(88) Brandeenie says:

Hey Bobcat,

I think ppl are being a bit harsh. I too have a dog who’s tail is becoming a problem. He’s a Weimaraner and his tail has whacked our family and young children in the face and it hurts! The vet will do it if it’s absolutely necessary!

February 15, 2013 at 11:12 pm
(89) DaVida says:

#49 I am in Nebraska, my pit has happy tail and Dr
Pretzer at NAMC will amputate or dock. I have not decided to do it though.

May 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm
(90) STEPHANIE says:

Your comment: “Banding of the tails as a way of docking should only be done during the 3-5 day old suggested docking period. It is used for castrating livestock as well, and is a clean safe way to dock a puppies tail.”


July 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm
(91) Travis says:

All these animal activast take crap way to far and are just plain ignorant. I have a great dane and she hits her tail on walls and furniture and always breaks it open. The last two inches of her tail is comply raw and bleeds all the time and very painful for her. So your saying i shouldnt have her tail docked cuz it is cruel. So what would you call leaving it undocked and she is always bleeding and in pain. Get a life people. If your kid has a cavity do you take them to the dentist to get it fixed? Them mean cruel dentist make your kids mouths hurt dont they. It is a part of life sometimes you have pain to deal with to make things better.

August 13, 2013 at 8:47 am
(92) boxerluver says:

My 3 month old boxer got his tail docked yesterday and he is good as new. He is taking pain medication and acts just like he did before the surgery. To all you people who want to say its cruel, thats your ignorant and uneducated opinion. As for me and my dog, it was the right choice.

October 1, 2013 at 1:35 am
(93) Pross says:

Comment #90, “Stephanie” do a little research. That’s EXACTLY how it’s done, both with the docking of dog’s (newborn puppie’s) tails AND with the castration of livestock. It’s amazing how many people willfully comment on topics about which they are so painfully unaware and end up themselves being the “height of stupidity”. Tail docking or amputation for medical reasons is not only necessary, it’s morally and ethically the correct thing to do in order to maintain the health of the dog.

Those who have commented about having dogs with tails never having this problem, it’s because you either have dogs with long tail hair, or dogs with weak-natured hind-quarters. This is not a slight to your breed, but breeds like Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds don’t typically see this issue. Other breeds like Mastiffs and Danes have much stronger hind-quarters and longer, heavier, and stronger tails with short hair. This allows the tail tip to be exposed to the sometimes very violent wagging from these large breeds. The tail acts literally like a whip and once it connects to a hard surface, it can and will split the skin of the tail tip and expose bone. This produces profuse bleeding and in some cases exorbitant pain for the dog. Even with proper bandaging and care, the tails can still become infected and can be fatal in the most serious cases. In these situations, the only “cure” is docking, or more properly termed, amputation.

January 19, 2014 at 12:02 am
(94) Natalie says:

Hello. I am reading all of the these comments on tail docking. My 1 year old American Bulldog had happy tail (horrible, for her and me). This dog is my baby so I am willing to do what is good for her. I went ahead and had her tail “trimmed”. Its been 2 months and has not healed so the doctor suggested we completely dock her tail. I am a NERVOUS wreck! I do not want to get this done at all but I do not have much of an option. Is this a safe surgery? I know this is the right thing to do because she is in so much pain but I am very nervous! Anyone ever have this problem?

March 4, 2014 at 12:34 am
(95) Maggy's Mom says:

As comment number 95 I’d like to add my two cents to the list. My dog Maggy an OES had a litter of puppies which all had tails so at three days old we brought them to the vet to have docked. Maggy lived a long happy life wiggling her nubby tail to the enjoyment of many children and patients She worked as a therapy dog in Hospitals where a tail would cause problems to the human patients. I recently bought a Aussiedoodle to work with me as a therapy dog she has a tail and is three weeks old I am considering docking her tail when I bring her home. I think the breeder should have done this prior. I think all of you who want to dock a tail for medical or practical working reasons should feel supported by all of us dog lovers. Phantom tail does not exist. But as with all surgeries ( older dogs) there are risks so consider the benefits to make sure this is the route you want to take.. I have seen some dogs behave sensitively to the surgical areas but once the pain is gone they are just as happy as they were before.

April 10, 2014 at 12:34 am
(96) Lynda says:

I have had Great Danes for years. Tail wagging (whipping) comes with the breed, i have one right now that will give bruises she is so happy. Would i consider chopping it off, of course not. I don’t like muddy foot prints does that mean i can cut a foot or two off… silly answer for a silly question. I have a friend that had Great Danes while her kids were young and they figured out it was safer to walk near the danes with their arms bent at the elbow and hands near their face (to keep tail from smacking them in the face). I understand there are some breeds that do tail docking but this is done 3-5 days old before circulation and nervous systems are fully functional.

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