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Dog tail docking banned

The regulations on docking dog tails

By Trade Me 5 February 2021

Don't dock tails!

It’s the year of the dog, and I don’t think we‘ve talked about dogs nearly enough at Trade Me this year 😉

New Animal Welfare regulations are now in effect and given they directly affect Trade Me members, we thought it would be a good idea to get the word out.

No more docking dog tails

With these new regulations, nobody is allowed to remove a dog or puppy tail for any reason.

The only exception is veterinarians, who may do so to treat an injury or disease.

Docking dog tails used to be common practice, but is now considered unnecessary by vets, the SPCA, and a large part of the NZ public.

Therapeutic exceptions will be able to be determined by your vet.

A dog’s tail is a natural thing with a real purpose, and docking them can cause significant pain and distress. Dogs use their tails to balance themselves when climbing, running, jumping and swimming, and for communication – you’ll notice they display a range of emotions with their tails!  

Restrictions on removing dog’s dew claws

Dew claws are extra digits some dogs are born with, that look a bit like a dog-thumb.

Some dew claws are ‘articulated’ (attached by bone) or ‘non-articulated’ (attached by flesh and tissue) 

At the moment, anyone can remove dew claws as long as the dog is under four days old and the person removing them “has knowledge, training and competence to undertake the procedure and care for the dog. 

From October 2018, anyone who isn’t a vet is be allowed to remove any:

  •   front leg dew claws (neither articulated nor non-articulated)
  •   articulated hind dew claws
  •       non-articulated hind dew claws belonging to dogs over four days old.

I.e. you may only remove a dew claw if it is a non-articulated dew claw from a hind leg, on a puppy that is younger than four days old.

Dew claws help dogs to balance, especially when they’re running fast.They can also use front dew claws to help grasp things and to dig food out from their teeth (the clever little critters).

Dew claws are often more loosely attached than their other digits, which means they can make them more susceptible to catching on things, especially if they’re partial to jumping over the fence. This can be painful and lead to infection which is usually the reason why people may want to remove the non-articulated hind dew claw.

Check out the MPI website if you’d like some further reading. There are quite a few new rules regarding livestock and stock transportation, and some topical decisions like regulations around leaving dogs in hot cars.

Obviously, you won't be able to list dogs if they have had the above procedures outside of the vet permitted actions. If we see something not quite right, we'll ask for evidence that the surgery has been done by a vet. 

I think we can all agree we’re pretty lucky if we get to have a dog (or any animal, for that matter) by our side, so it’s pretty cool we’re constantly making changes to ensure our pets and animals have great lives.

Image courtesy Jonas Lowgren by Creative Commons licence.


Trade Me
Trade Me

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