Debarking: Cruel and Unusual Punishment for Dogs

http://www.everydayhealth.com/pet-health/pet-health-articles.aspx             By Everyday Health Guest Expert ,Krista Magnifico, DVM,

                                                                                                             Special to  Everyday Health

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As I prepared to write my first column for Everyday Health I paused long enough to get myself a bit psyched out: what topic to discuss, and most specifically what voice to use?

You see, I write blogs in diary form, in my own voice — a little tale I tell myself and post for others to read. So when I was asked to write about debarking dogs, I thought, how fitting that my first article should be about dogs using their own voice.

In case you’ve never heard of it, debarking used to be considered a permissible and reasonable practice for vets. If a client complained of an incessantly disruptive pet, the vet would surgically remove or damage the dog’s vocal chords. A muffled, throaty whisper of a woof would result, like a lifelong case of laryngitis.

Although debarking (also called devocalization) is still legal in most places in this country, it has long been frowned upon by veterinarians. The procedure is still mentioned in vet school, but it is widely regarded as archaic and barbaric. If there are any vets out there still performing it, they wouldn’t admit to it publicly.

Why am I so opposed to debarking dogs? If it is important for us to remember that we each have our own voice and must be true to it, why isn’t the same true for the rest of our family members?

My pups are my guardians, my watch dogs, and I rely on them to tell me when they hear a car coming up the driveway or a knock on the door. Our dogs are programmed to be our first call to attention, and I would never scold them for doing their job.

Dogs bark for many reasons, and they only bark for reasons they believe are completely justified. It’s not like singing in the shower, humming a little tune to make ourselves happy, or whistling on a sunny day. Dogs only talk with purpose and intent.

There are no stupid dogs, there are only dogs trying to tell us something. Like “beware,” “intruder,” “far-off dog barking,” “I hear a storm coming,” or “I’m bored/lonely.” Dogs talk when they need to tell us something. Muffling that voice is denying them their purpose, their protection, and their voice.

Krista Magnifico, DVM, is the founder and chief creative officer of Pawbly.com, overseeing creative vision and user experience. She earned her veterinary degree from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005, and has had her own practice in Northern Maryland since. She has a strong interest in animal welfare and educating and inspiring people to take better care of their companions. Follow her on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.

Last Updated: 11/18/2014

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NOTE FROM LOVIN MY PUP ADMINISTRATON:

In my opinion NO Pet should be mutilated in this manner. It is inhumane , against the species way, and cruel punishment. In fact until I ran across this article, I had no idea that this was an option, There needs to be a law against this procedure. Training your dog appropriately can accomplish the same end without having to put your pet at risk. I hope that this article and my words can effect the outcome of anyone who is considering this barbaric procedure.  I certainly agree with Dr. Magnifio when she says that this muffling that voice is denying them (the dogs) ” their purpose, their protection, and their voice.”    If you know anyone who is considering this barbaric procedure, please have them read this article.  Hopefully, it will change their minds.

                                                                      AND DONT FORGET TO “SMOOCH YOUR POOCH” TONIGHT!

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