Can Dogs Get Piercings or Tattoos? [Vets Say Hold On!]

A dog with earrings and tattoo

Many people love getting their bodies modified in the form of tattoos and piercings, but what about people who want to do the same to their pets? Yes, some people give their dogs some ink or even piercings in some rare instances. Although getting your dog these things is physically possible, there is understandably much controversy surrounding this dog accessorizing fad.

The procedure of giving tattoos or piercings to dogs is reported to be very similar to providing these alterations to humans. However, many people view giving tattoos or piercings to dogs as cruel, and it is even illegal to give your dog one of these in some places.

In this article, we will be explaining everything that dog owners need to know about giving dogs piercings and tattoos. We will also present some of the controversies behind these practices and whether it is considered inhumane or even illegal. Let’s get right into it!

Can You Pierce a Dog’s Ears? Nose?

Physically yes, you could pierce a dog’s ears and nose. You could technically give a dog a piercing anywhere on their body. However, this does not necessarily mean that you should give your dog any piercing. Piercing any part of a dog’s body is widely considered inhumane because it is painful and can cause long-term health problems.

Not to mention, dogs do not understand that they should leave a piercing alone. This can easily lead to injuries if the dog scratched their piercing or rubbed it on a surface.

Is Piercing a Dog’s Ear Legal? Humane? Safe? Painful?

After hearing that some people have gone to get their dog’s ears pierced, you likely have many questions. Some of these questions probably being: is doing this legal, humane, safe, and painful? Here we will be explaining where it is illegal to give your dog an ear piercing and what risks are potentially involved with piercing your dog’s ears.

In addition, we will be explaining why this process is painful for dogs and why many people consider the act of piercing a dog’s ears to be inhumane. Here are the answers to these questions in greater detail.

Is Piercing a Dog’s Ear Legal?

It is illegal in many US states and other western countries to get your dog’s ears pierced, especially if a veterinarian is not involved. This often includes different types of piercings and tattoos as well. Piercing a dog’s ears is illegal in these areas because it usually only serves an aesthetic purpose, and the process can cause the dog a lot of pain and even long-term health problems in some instances.

There are currently laws against altering your pet by giving them a piercing in the following US states:

  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Maryland
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Washington

Of course, every state has different laws regarding animal welfare. However, it is safe to say that if you live in one of the above states mentioned, then there are laws against giving your dog any piercing, especially if a veterinarian did not do it. As a result, you should always look into your local animal welfare laws before making any physical alteration to your dog, no matter where you live.

This is especially true if you are planning on getting a dog that commonly has docked tails such as Morkies and Cockapoos.

Is Piercing a Dog’s Ear Safe

Although the procedure itself may not necessarily cause any severe health problems right away, it can cause serious medical problems later on. As a result, this is not necessarily the safest procedure to have done on your dog. The following medical conditions have been known to occur in dogs due to getting their ears pierced.

  • Infections at the piercing site
  • Injury or disfigurement of the ear due to scratching, rubbing or ripping out the piercing
  • Nerve damage
  • Deafness

Is Piercing a Dog’s Ear Painful

Yes, piercing a dog’s ears is painful. It is hardly ever done under anesthesia, so getting the piercing itself is extremely painful to dogs, especially when you consider that ears are one of the most sensitive places on a dog’s body. In addition to initially getting the piercing, swelling and irritation can cause pain and itchiness as the pierced area heals. This is very uncomfortable for dogs, and they are likely to mess with the piercing as a result.

Unfortunately, scratching and rubbing the area can lead to more pain, and it can even cause serious injuries that require stitches to heal.

Is Piercing a Dog’s Ear Humane

No, it is not humane to pierce your dog’s ears, and many people will go as far as to say that doing so for cosmetic purposes alone is animal abuse. You should never pierce your dog’s ears. It is a painful alteration that can lead to severe medical conditions after the piercing is put in, and in some places, you may even get into some legal trouble.

Still, even if there are no laws against piercing your dog’s ears in your area, that doesn’t mean you should put your dog through this inhumane practice.

Can dogs get tattoos?

Like piercings, dogs can physically get tattoos. However, there is controversy around getting your dog a tattoo as well. The process of getting your dog a tattoo is done in pretty much the same way that the process is for people to get tattoos.

The only difference is that sometimes dogs will need to be sedated to draw the tattoo on them, and they may also need to be shaved before putting the tattoo on. Although there are fewer medical concerns involved with getting your dog a tattoo than there are for doggy piercings, there are still some risks that dog owners should be aware of. Dogs can have a bad reaction to getting the tattoo, which will usually lead to skin irritation or pain.

Of course, this is never a good thing for a dog, especially when it is just for an unnecessary alteration.

Why Do Some People Give Their Dogs Tattoos and Piercings?

Most of the time, people give their dogs tattoos and piercings purely for aesthetic reasons. They want their pets to look cool, just like them. Most people firmly believe that getting a dog a tattoo or piercing is wrong because it is usually done solely for aesthetic purposes.

However, there is a small subgroup of dog owners that get their dogs a tattoo to protect them against being stolen. Their argument, in this case, is that people are less likely to steal easily identifiable property, and a dog with a tattoo is much more identifiable than a dog without one.

In addition to protecting their dog from being stolen, many people argue that giving your dog a tattoo will make it easier to identify them if they were ever to get lost. Sometimes dogs can slip out of collars, so giving them a more permanent form of identification can make a dog theoretically easier to find if this were to occur. This is especially true if the dog owner has opted out of getting their dog microchipped.

Why Getting Your Dog Tattooed is Controversial

Although there are some practical arguments for getting a dog a tattoo, most people still find the topic controversial. This is because it is often only done for the aesthetic appeal of the owner, and the process of getting a tattoo is painful for the dog.

Furthermore, in the rare instances where a dog’s tattoo does have a practical purpose, many people argue that there are better ways to achieve that goal. For example, giving a dog a microchip or a sturdy dog collar makes a dog easy to identify for places like vet clinics and animal shelters. In addition, a microchip or dog collar does not put your dog in any pain or discomfort like a tattoo would.

In addition, making an animal more traceable is not very likely to make them less “stealable.” This is because criminals steal traceable goods such as smartphones and computers all of the time. The best thing that you can do to avoid your dog from being stolen is to keep them in safe places when you are not around.

This includes leaving them in your home and locking your doors when you are away. If you are going to leave your dog outside, then make sure that it is in a secure, fenced-in yard with a locked gate. Keeping your dog in a safe place is more likely to deter people from stealing a dog than the dog just having a tattoo would.

Should You Give Your Dog a Tattoo or Piercing?

No, you should never give your dog a tattoo or piercing. The process is painful for the dog, and both piercings and tattoos can cause some long-lasting medical conditions. A poorly done ear piercing can cause dogs to go deaf in severe cases. Piercings often cause injuries in dogs after they are put in as well. This is because the piercing can become ripped out from a dog scratching the area. Overall, giving a dog a piercing or tattoo is not only harmful to the dog but is also unnecessary.

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