Journal of
Veterinary Medicine and Animal Health

  • Abbreviation: J. Vet. Med. Anim. Health
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2529
  • DOI: 10.5897/JVMAH
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 386

Full Length Research Paper

Tail docking in dogs: Evaluation of current practices and ethical aspects in southwest Nigeria

Akinrinmade Joseph Fadeyemi
  • Akinrinmade Joseph Fadeyemi
  • Department of Veterinary Surgery and Reproduction, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Accepted: 14 October 2013
  •  Published: 31 January 2014


This study evaluated the current practices of tail docking in dogs routinely performed in southwest Nigeria, as well as their ethical issues. The data were collected by means of a structured questionnaire provided to breeders/owners besides an audit of retrospective case records. The results indicated that tail docking was performed and embraced by all practices and breeders/owners surveyed, with higher frequency of Rottweiler (76.7%) in comparison to PitBull (56.0%) and Boerboel (51.2%) breeds. Seventy four percent of breeders docked for customary/traditional reason while others did so for reasons which included improved appearance (53.6%), convenience and pleasure (46.4%), better hygiene (28.0%), ease of mating (14.2%), enhanced aggressiveness (7.1%) and prevention of injuries (7.1%). Most practices (97.4%) docked for non-therapeutic purposes. Sixty five percent of respondents docked at 2 to 3 weeks of age while others did at less than 2 weeks (11.6%) and above 3 weeks (23.3%), respectively. Infection/necrosis (37.2%) and self-mutilation (20.9%) were the most observed post-operative complications by respondents. Most practices (72.0%) performed tail docking without anaesthesia while 60.5% of practices never gave post-operative analgesic. Majority of respondents (72.0%) oppose abrogation of docking for non-therapeutic reasons. Primary legislation prohibiting docking of dogs’ tails except for medical or surgical reasons is recommended.

Key words: Tail docking, dogs, southwest Nigeria.