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Friday, March 2, 2012

Earrings And Tattoos....On Pets?

Fifteen years of practice and I still see new things.  Today I saw a dog come in with earrings.  Yes, I'm serious.  Real honest-to-goodness earrings in pierced ears.  It was a chihuahua puppy with a piercing and stud in each of its rather large ears.  I was a little taken aback but was professional enough to not show much reaction to the client.  Apparently this is something popular in Columbia, where the client is originally from, and she did the piercing herself.  The dog was healthy and didn't seem to notice the piercings, but I still have to wonder about the whole thing.

A few times over the years I've had clients ask about this as well as tattooing their pets.  And I'm not talking about ID tattoos, but artistic ones.  I've never understood wanting to do such body modifications on pets, though I don't have a problem with people doing such things.  People can choose whether or not they want their ear, tongue, or other body parts pierced, and what kind of image they want permanently etched on their body.  Pets aren't involved in the decision and can't understand why they have to go through the discomfort of these procedures, just because the owners want them to look this way.  And unless you have a very short-haired or hairless dog, the tattoo isn't going to be visible anyway.

Honestly, I'm against any purely cosmetic procedures on pets other than grooming.  Anything invasive that could cause pain or complications shouldn't be done unless there is a valid medical reason to do so.  Now, I don't get bent out of shape if someone has their cat declawed, or a dog's ears cropped, dewclaws removed, or tail docked.  I don't do any of these procedures myself and am overall against them, but I'm not going to come down hard on someone who does it.  If I did, I'd be getting mad at far too many people and maybe after this long as a vet I've realized that those battles aren't worth fighting and that I never win them.  I try to convince people not do to them if they ask my opinion, but once it's done, it's done.

So while I don't like the idea that this woman pierced her dog's ears, I can't do much about it now.  I just hope that it doesn't start a trend!