Dog Ear Cropping Procedures

Ear cropping is a surgical procedure of removing a part of the ear. Dog ear cropping is used for cosmetic purposes only, as some dog breeds are considered to require ear cropping and tail docking to have a standard look. There is a debate whether this procedure is necessary, being considered cruel and having no medical benefits.

Ear Cropping Pros

There are no medical benefits to having the dog’s ear cropped. Some say that cropped ears will prevent the occurrence of ear infections by keeping the ears ventilated, but this hasn’t been proven.

Some dog breeds such as the Doberman get their ears cropped to look more fashionable and to have the features of a show dog. Some dogs may also have ears that are too heavy, oversized or crooked ears, which can be surgically corrected.

However, the surgery is not necessary and it is not a norm; only show dogs need to have their ears cropped.

The surgery may not hurt if it is performed as early as possible.

How the Ear Cropping Is Performed

Ear cropping is performed under general anesthesia as the ear contains nerve endings and the procedure may be very painful. Preferably, the dog should be between the ages of 6 to 12 weeks. This period is suitable for ear cropping, as the body is able to regenerate faster and there are low chances of surgery complications. 

About 2/3 of the ear flap will be removed using a sharp scalpel.

There will be some stitches, which will be removed in 10 to 14 days. The dog may be in pain after the surgery, so pain medication will be prescribed.

Ear Cropping Cons

The ear cropping surgery may be painful if performed when the dog is older and presents typical risks of a surgery and anesthesia: excessive bleeding or infection.

Some dogs may develop complications after the surgery; some complications may be short term such as infections, while others may affect the dog for life. The dog may develop seizures or sensitivity to touch; this is due to the fact that there are nerve endings in the ear that have been affected by the surgery and the procedure hasn’t been properly performed.

Some dogs may suffer from phantom pain, which is an nonexistent pain dogs feel in their amputated parts. The dog may feel that his ears hurt, even after these are removed.

If the surgery is not properly performed, a second ear cropping will be needed.

Ear cropping may also interfere with the way your dog interacts with other dogs, as the position of the ears may communicate certain things and without ears, dogs may feel they lack a communication tool. However, dogs can adapt to using other means of communication: voice, tail, body and eyes.

While some strongly oppose to this practice, it is up to you to decide whether your dog should get his ears cropped. If you don’t want a show dog, your dog can be perfect without cropped ears.