Bad Tail Docking

Bad Tail Docking – Avoiding Tail Docking Complications

A surgical procedure known to be standard in certain breeds like Doberman, Australian Shepherd, Viszla, and Rottweiler, tail docking has recently drawn a lot of controversy and rejection from experts and organizations looking at the complications and risks involved. Learning about bad tail docking and its implications is important for a dog owner to avoid complications and ensure the pet’s health and safety.

In this guide, let us discuss some tail docking complications and everything you should know about bad tail docking in dogs.

Bad Tail Docking in Dogs – A Complete Guide

Tail docking refers to cutting off the tip of a dog’s tail to shorten its length. When necessary, it is performed by a vet at any age but is often undertaken by breeders on newborn pups for specific breeds. Historically, tail docking was practiced for different benefits but today, it is done for one of the two reasons – injury prevention and appearance.

Tail docking is done in some breeds to achieve a specific appearance. Other breeds get their tails docked at their young age to prevent tail injuries in the future. Hunting dogs and others with long tails are likely to injure their tails while running through the woods. More than 60 breeds of dogs around the world get their tails docked as newborns including poodles, German pointers, Irish terriers, and more.

While tail docking in puppies is less difficult than done on an adult dog, it is not entirely painless. Even when done by a veterinarian, tail docking has possible complications. No matter how young or old the dog is, there is always a risk of unmanaged pain, excessive bleeding, and complications associated with anesthesia when this surgery is performed. Several other issues can arise if the dog gets a bad tail docking. This is why a large number of experts and organizations are against this procedure and some countries have banned such surgical procedures for cosmetic reasons.

Tail Banding Gone Wrong? Here’s What To Do

No pet owner would want to see their pup in pain or discomfort for any reason. Sometimes, tail docking procedure can involve complications and result in pain, irritation, or difficulties you may notice from the dog’s behavior. When tail banding goes wrong, the first thing you want to do is to ease the pain and stress from the docked tail.

You can try to comfort the pup by giving it a safe place to rest and taking measures to prevent biting and chewing on the tail. You can also wrap the pup gently in a blanket to ease the tail pain. There are corrective measures and medications available for bad tail docking, so consulting your vet is the best option in such a case.

Tail Docking Complications

Tail docking in puppies involves cutting through the muscle, nerves, and skin and is painful when done without sedation by breeders at home. Adult tail docking is more painful and complicated and should never be undertaken at home and without anesthesia. It is advisable to numb the area before the procedure if there is a risk from anesthesia but not all breeders do this.

Apart from the pain involved, tail docking has so many other complications including excessive bleeding, infections, re-injury, or even death. There is always a possibility that the docked tail develops complications and does not heal because it is difficult to bandage the part, keep it clean and prevent the dog from sitting on it. Tail docking can also have some legal concerns as it is prohibited in some countries.

How To Fix Bad Tail Docking?

Tail docking, when necessary for a dog, can be performed by a vet under anesthesia. However, most breeders undertake this procedure on newborn pups for cosmetic reasons, increasing the risks and complications. A bad tail docking can cause unmanaged pain, infection, difficulty healing, and other problems, affecting the health and wellness of the pet.

Docked tails can also develop a nerve tumor at times, causing pain and making the dog snappy upon touching the tail. Sometimes, a bad tail docking can leave the dog in constant pain and discomfort of the tail nerve which gets difficult to manage and cure. Any signs or symptoms or a change in behavior in a docked dog should be reported to your vet at the earliest to prevent any further complications.

Corrective surgery is an option to fix bad tail docking. Moreover, there are medications and supplements that help relieve the dog of the pain and implications from the tail docking. Your vet can also prescribe medications to help reduce the anxiety associated with the event and its consequences.

Effects of Tail Docking in Dogs

Tail docking is a surgical procedure that involves pain and complications, particularly when not performed under a vet’s guidance. While the procedure promises to offer benefits like reduced risks of injuries and inconveniences with a lack of tail, they are pointless for a dog kept as a pet and not exposed to dangerous environment and elements. Considering the pain and risks, these benefits from tail docking are certainly not worth anything.

Apart from the physical concerns associated with this surgery, there are some social effects on the dog as well. Studies show that tails are useful for communication. Dogs without tails may face problems communicating their play, fear, or aggression when around other dogs. It could also lead to miscommunication and fights at times. Dogs approach dogs without tails with caution because it is difficult to interpret their mood.

Docking also affects the dog’s ability to swim and balance. The absence of a tail means the dog lacks balancing function which plays an important part in activities like swimming. If tail docking is performed on an adult dog without sedation, the surgery and pain can create anxiety and trauma in its mind, affecting its behavior and temperament to a great extent.


If you are looking to adopt a pup from a breed known to get the tail docked, you should ask yourself whether the pain and risks the pet will experience are worth it. Tail docking is a choice and you can avoid it altogether if you don’t find it necessary for your pup. When advised by a vet, tail docking should be performed under proper medical supervision and followed up by the doctor to avoid any complications.