Cosmetic Alterations In Dogs: What You Should Know About Ear Cropping

Did you know that those small pointy ears you see on most boxers or doberman pinschers do not occur naturally? In fact, they are the result of a long-standing canine cosmetic procedure known as ear cropping. Cosmetic surgeries and alterations are not just a procedure used on humans, but also on their animal companions. While these procedures are commonplace, there is some controversy about the use of such procedures. So, when you get your new puppy, consider all of the facts before you decide if cosmetic ear cropping is right for your new pet.

Is Ear Cropping Necessary?

Cropping ears in dogs is most common among breeds such as boxers, pinschers, and schnauzers. The first thing you need to know about ear cropping is that the procedure has no medical necessity behind it. It is a purely cosmetic procedure. 

Dogs that normally have their ears cropped will look different if their ears are left natural. However, they will be just as healthy as their cropped counterparts. If you are planning to train your new puppy as a show dog, ear cropping is necessary. Dog show competitions have very strict standards about the cosmetic appearance of contestants. 

When Should You Crop Their Ears?

In order for the cropping procedure to be successful, it must be performed before your puppy is 12 weeks old. After 12 weeks, the cartilage in your dog’s ears is set and will likely not reform to accommodate the cropped ears.

Additionally, there is no guarantee that even if performed before the age of 12 weeks that ear cropping will be successful. The surgery alone will not get your puppy’s ears to stand erect the way you expect the ears of boxers, pinschers, and the like to appear. You will have to tape and post or splint your dog’s ears into position for weeks and months to get the cartilage to form and hold.

What Are The Risks?

Complications can arise with ear cropping procedures as well. Because your dog must be placed under general anesthesia for the procedure, they may have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia. This could result in coma or death. There is also a risk of uncontrollable bleeding during surgery if your dog has an undiagnosed clotting disorder.

While the likelihood of complications is low, you should keep them in mind when deciding whether or not to get your dog’s ears cropped. You should also be sure to research the veterinary surgeon you choose thoroughly. Ear cropping is not an exact science and it can turn out wrong if the surgeon is not experienced or properly skilled. 

As you can see, there are many factors you should consider when determining whether ear cropping, at places like Animal Clinic of Bensonhurst, is right for your new puppy. Consider your choice carefully, and you will make the right decision for you and your pet. 

Snakes Vs. Pets: Reducing The Chances Of A Bite And What To Do If It Happens

Venomous snakes make themselves at home across the United States. Because of the warm climate and ideal habitat, the southern areas have more than their fair share. Arizona leads the US in venomous snake population with a total of 19 species. Texas comes in a close second with 15. Pet owners should know how to reduce the chance of their pet being bitten, how to recognize the signs of a venomous bite, and what to do until emergency treatment is available.

Tips to Snake-proof Your Yard

Snakes are cold-blooded and cannot make or regulate their own body heat. As a result, they tend to stay hidden in extreme temperatures. Snake bites are most common in the late spring and early summer months.  During these milder months, your pet will want to be outdoors enjoying the weather. That can put the two creatures in the same area at the same time.

As a pet owner, you can do several things to make your property less attractive to snakes and reduce the chance of a bite:

  • Pristine Property: Keep your property clear of tall grass, brush, rock piles, and rubbish. When temperatures are not ideal, snakes look for a place to hide and conserve their body heat. Providing shelter encourages snakes to take up a permanent residence near your home.
  • Fight Food Sources: Snakes like quick and easy access to a food source. US snakes primarily have a diet of rodents, lizards, and birds. By making your home less attractive to these animals, you make it less attractive to snakes too. Since cats also hunt these animals, having a cat for a pet will keep the food sources under control. Keeping pet food and kitchen trash away from outdoor areas can help too.
  • Reconsider Repellants: While chemical snake repellants are available, they can be hazardous to humans and pets. If used, read manufacturer’s instructions and warnings carefully. Mothballs are not recommended as they have little effect and can be harmful to pet.
  • Favor Fencing: Snake-proof fencing is an option for home and garden. This is a proactive way to keep snakes out of the area where pets roam without using chemicals.

How to Recognize the Signs of Snakebite and What Steps to Take

Despite your best efforts to snake-proof your yard, snakes may get into your pet’s area anyway. When pets are bitten, they are usually struck on the paws, neck, or face as a result of confronting the snake. Depending on the type of snake and whether it’s venomous, you may see different reactions. Watch for warning signs such as:

  • puncture wounds
  • bleeding and/or bruising
  • neurological symptoms such as shaking, blinking, weakness, slowed breathing, and paralysis
  • loss of bodily functions such as urination and defecation

Keep your pet as calm as possible and bandage around (and above) the bite if feasible. Transport your pet to a clinic for emergency treatment immediately.