Is performing cosmetic surgery on dogs a form of animal abuse?

Cosmetic surgery is a huge and ever-growing industry in south Korea, with an estimated one in five women having had some procedure done. The trend isn’t just being embraced by celebrities and average men and women; some people are now paying for cosmetic procedure for their… dogs? Recently, there has been a rise in pet owners — primarily dog owners — in South Korea taking their furry little friends to have Botox and plastic surgery done.

The animal clinics where these cosmetic surgeries are performed were originally created for medical surgeries, but soon attracted a large customer base who were interested in more aesthetic procedures. Some dogs have their tails shortened, or their ears trimmed, and others receive similar treatments to humans — wrinkle straightening, fat removal, stretch marks removal, and double eyelid surgery, a surgery that involves creating a crease in one’s eyelid to make the eyes appear bigger (as if dogs’ eyes aren’t adorable enough already!).

Many people aren’t happy with these doggy makeovers, and they have taken to the comments sections of Korean articles on the topic to express their outrage. Actually, the majority of Koreans seem to disagree with the procedures. According to a survey conducted by Daily Vet, a Korean veterinarian magazine, 63 percent of respondents said they thought the surgeries should be banned as a a form of animal abuse.

Many others however, argue owners should have the right to decide what is done with their pets, and some veterinarians insist that it’s all medically safe. The question then becomes, just because it’s medically safe, does that mean that it isn’t a form of animal abuse? The pets still have to recover from their “improvements” and go through the trauma of surgery. If nothing else, it seems highly unnecessary. When was the last time you looked at a dog and thought, “He would look so much cuter if only his tail were a little shorter and those stretch marks were gone”?  The answer is probably “never” because dogs are already impossibly cute and most of us couldn’t even imagine ways to make them any cuter.

Unfortunately, we don’t hold the power to ask our canine companions what they think of the procedures (though how awesome would it be if we did?!), but let’s be honest here — dogs are already adorable, without any nips or tucks involved.

(Image via iStock.)