When it comes to dog ear piercing, is that something legal and safe? For people, piercing our ears is a common practice for accessories and fashion trends. But in no way does everything we do translate well to animals, specifically dogs. Ear piercing dogs is a cruel and rare trend that some people seem to think is completely okay when it is, in fact, not okay.
Since this does happen, is dog ear piercing safe and legal? Having a dog with pierced ears is not a safe or humane practice, and in fact, it is illegal and considered animal abuse in some states and jurisdictions. A dog’s ears are not designed to be pierced, and a dog’s mental acuity cannot understand what is happening, unlike people who decided to pierce their ears.
Are you wondering if dog ear piercing is a common and safe practice? Do you need more information on whether this practice can harm dogs? This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the safety and legality of dog ear piercings. Read on to learn about this unsafe practice and why it is considered animal abuse.
Before scrolling down further to an in-depth answer to this question, “Dog Ear Piercing: Is it Safe and Legal,” you can check out these other dogs’ ear-related content from our team at We Love Doodles: Best Dog Ear Cleaners and How to Put Ear Drops in an Aggressive Dog.
Can You Pierce a Dog’s Ears?
Technically speaking, yes, you can pierce a dog’s ears. But it is important to think long and hard about what it does to a dog and why this should not be done. Firstly, dog ear piercing may be a form of animal abuse that can be prosecuted depending on where you reside.
But most importantly, it’s not something that dogs are meant to experience and serves no purpose whatsoever in their lives and well-being. Dogs are not people; in fact, no animal on Earth possesses the mental prowess and intelligence of the human species.
What we decide to do to our bodies regarding accessories and clothing corresponds to our vast intelligence and socialization skills. An animal like a dog does not fall into this category, and stuff like piercings is completely unknown to them.
This isn’t to say that wrapping your dog in a doggy coat during the winter is cruel or even having a groomer paint your dog’s toenails (not ideal). But something like a piercing onto their body is beyond what they can comprehend. The process is painful and confusing to them. They are confused about why their owner or a stranger is piercing a hole into their ears.
Dogs get scared when they have to take shots at the vet, but this is a form of healthcare they come to get used to. Ear piercing is unnecessary and even further confusing to a dog when earrings or other accessories are dangled from the painful hole in their skin. Additionally, a range of health concerns can creep up on a dog with pierced ears (more below).
Related: Zymox Ear Solutions For Dogs.
Why Do People Pierce Their Dog’s Ears?
It is not an ironclad fact that those who pierce their dog’s ears know they are being cruel. Some people may not understand that this is an act of cruelty. People likely have their dog’s ears pierced because they want to apply earrings to their dogs or as a fashion accessory.
But people really should know better, especially since ear piercing can even come with dangers for people. It becomes an act of cruelty when people know their dog is in pain from the process and continue to do it anyway.
It is also horribly cruel when private groomers or breeders pierce puppies’ ears to harness a niche market that positions certain dogs as nothing more than fashion accessories—not living, breathing, thinking animals. Whatever the reason why people pierce a dog’s ears, it is not a safe or humane practice by any means. Numerous health risks can arise from the process.
What Are The Risks of Piercing a Dog’s Ears?
There are numerous physical risks to ear piercing dogs but also psychological implications. As mentioned, dogs cannot understand why their ears are pierced. Since it only happens once—unlike their first shot at the vet, for example—dogs will always remember their owner or someone else inflicting pain upon them for practically no reason whatsoever.
The accessories placed in the piercing will also agitate and confuse a dog. Dogs will likely work to shake the earrings or accessories loose since this is not something normal to them. The pain inflicted will cause dogs to fear their owners if they do the piercing themselves.
But more importantly, there are some physical risks to be aware of:
1. Your Dog will Experience Pain, Discomfort, and Agitation
Ear piercing is painful for people, which amplifies to an even higher degree for dogs. A dog’s ears are much thinner and different from a person’s ear lobe, which has thicker cartilage and fatty tissue layers. Furthermore, some dogs may have sensitive ears, just as other dogs may not like having their paws touched or along their necks.
The pain from the piercing is certainly enough to cause a dog to wail in pain and possibly physically resist the process altogether. Just imagine the process and imagine a dog resisting and crying out in pain, all so accessories can be dangled from their ears.
The hole will likely cause severe itching and discomfort for the dog. The weight of the accessories will cause further agitation for the dog and unnecessarily weigh down their heads and throw off their equilibrium.
Related: Why Does My Dog Suddenly Scream?
2. Your Dog Could Suffer From Uneccessary Ear Infections
A dog’s ears are perhaps one of the most sensitive areas of its external body. Ear infections are quite common in dogs, especially during the puppy and young adult phases. When you pierce a dog’s ears, the hole left behind will attract even more bacteria or external pathogens in the air or ground. This will double their chances of getting ear infections as opposed to if the pierced holes were not present.
3. Your Dog Coul Deal with Possible Hearing Loss
As mentioned, a dog’s ears are much different from a person’s ears. Adding two holes to a dog’s ears will throw off its natural equilibrium in the area corresponding to its hearing. The piercings can lead to rampant and constant ear infections to the point where a dog’s ears become permanently damaged from the neverending infections.
4. Your Dog Could Deal with Skin Infections
The area of skin on a dog’s ears is very thin. Although a layer of fur protects the ears, a hole permanently stuck into a dog’s ears can easily become infected by a range of bacteria. When your dog goes outside to play, germs laying dormant in dirt and sand can latch onto the sensitive and exposed layer of skin from the piercing. Infections can grow rapidly and spread all across the skin on your dog’s face and neck area. This risk will likely never go away.
5. Your Dog Could Suffer From Possible Nerve Damage
Like a person’s ears, dogs also have numerous strains of nerve endings located within their ears. Once a piercing tool punctures through the skin, it is also puncturing through and possibly severing important nerve endings within the dog’s ears.
Once these nerve endings are damaged or destroyed, not only will this cause consistent dog pain, but it could also lead to hearing loss. A dog’s hearing is crucial to their overall quality of life, and damaged nerve endings in the ear can destroy their hearing altogether. Nerve damage from piercings on the ears could also lead to other internal problems such as heart health.
Is Ear Piercing Dogs Considered Animal Cruelty?
Even if the owner is unaware of how the process can affect a dog, this is an act of animal cruelty since it serves no purpose to their quality of life. As mentioned earlier, dogs cannot discern the necessity or need for having their ears pierced.
The numerous health risks from the practice are prolonged animal cruelty because the issues are all related to ear piercing. Ear piercing dogs cause severe pain, and the pain will likely follow them for days, if not years afterward. This is what makes the process a form of animal cruelty.
Dog With Pierced Ears Behavioral Concerns
Since ear piercing is not a natural expectation for a dog, the process and the pain associated with it could lead to possible behavioral problems in the dog. After this process, a dog’s ears will become incredibly sensitive to the touch, which could lead dogs to bite or snap at people, including their owners, who touch their ears.
A dog could also become depressed after the procedure, and possible infections from the piercing could exacerbate depression and anxiety even further in the long term. Behavioral problems from ear piercing would certainly not be out of the ordinary.
Is Dog Ear Piercing Illegal?
As far as dog ear piercing is an illegal practice, this is ultimately based on the jurisdiction in which the dog falls within. Even in areas where the practice is not illegal, someone like a veterinarian (likely not happening) or a dog groomer may be required to carry out the rare but not completely uncommon practice.
It is a painful and cruel procedure, and we would be quite shocked to find a groomer or professional setting that would carry out this procedure. Furthermore, what constitutes animal cruelty in practically any location is not easily defined, and the jurisdiction’s animal cruelty law is likely to be open to interpretation. Therefore, the act could become illegal if it is rightfully reported.
Who Should I Notify to Report Owners Giving Their Dogs Ear Piercings?
If you have noticed a dog in pain and discomfort from this practice, you could notify law enforcement and tell them about it. If you do not want to notify law enforcement directly, many cities and states have numbers or websites you can call or use to report the incident and provide details of the situation.
You could also look into possible local humane societies and organizations to pass the information along to. If all else fails, you can report the ear piercing to the ASPCA, who will look into the matter and direct it to the proper organization or law enforcement.
Conclusion For “Dog Ear Piercing: Is it Safe and Legal?”
So, can you pierce a dog’s ears? The answer is yes, this is possible, but more importantly, this is an act of animal cruelty. Dogs are not designed to have their ears pierced, both psychologically and due to numerous health risks, physically as well. The practice is unsafe, and depending on where you are located, it may not be legal either. A dog’s ears are sensitive and fragile.
If you find this dog ear piercing guide helpful and informative, you can check out these other dog-related articles from our team at We Love Doodles:
You can learn more about piercings and dogs by watching “Customers Asks If We Can Pierce His Dog” down below:
Andy is a full-time animal rescuer and owner of a toy doodle. When he’s not saving dogs, Andy is one of our core writers and editors. He has been writing about dogs for over a decade. Andy joined our team because he believes that words are powerful tools that can change a dog’s life for the better.
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