Can Dogs Get Their Ears Pierced? Is It Safe?

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Published: April 15, 2023
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Humans often have their ears pierced because we enjoy how it looks! However, you should never pierce your dog’s ears. It hurts them needlessly, increases their risk of ear infections and injuries, and can damage the ear if done improperly.

In this article, we’ll discuss whether dogs can get their ears pierced and why it is inhumane.

Do Dogs Feel Pain When Their Ears Are Pierced?

Yes. Just like a person, dogs feel pain when their ears are pierced! In fact, their ears are even more sensitive than ours.

Unlike people, dogs don’t care how they look. This means they get no benefit from having their ears pierced. It’s a selfish decision made by some humans who want their dogs to look “cute.”

Dog’s ears are even more sensitive than ours!


Is It Safe to Pierce a Dog’s Ears?

While the initial pain from an ear piercing will fade, piercing your dog’s ears would risk their long-term health and safety.

The following are the risks associated with ear piercings for dogs:

Snagging on Items

Earrings can snag on items. Hoops and long earrings are most susceptible to this, but even small ones can easily get caught on things and tear your dog’s ear open.


In addition, ear piercings can become infected and increase your dog’s risk of developing ear infections.

Dogs can’t keep their ears clean like humans, and they tend to spend more time outdoors and get into messes. This can make keeping their piercings clean very difficult and increases their risk of infection.

Itching and Tearing the Ear

Dogs itch their ears with their paws. So if your dog has an itchy ear and their nail snags on the earring, they can rip their ear open.

Dogs with itchy ears also shake their heads, which can hurt when an earring is attached–especially bigger earrings.

Lastly, earrings may be uncomfortable and make your dog mess with their ears more. This increases their risk of tearing their ears open.


On top of the temporary pain from having their ears pierced, your dog may experience pain as the piercing heals. In addition, earrings themselves may also cause pain or discomfort when being taken out or put into the ear.

Heavy earrings can also be painful. Even if they don’t seem heavy to you, they might be large enough to upset or hurt your dog.

Deafness or Permanent Damage

If an ear piercing is botched, your dog can suffer permanent damage to their ears or even hearing loss. Since you’re very unlikely to find a veterinarian who pierces ears, this is a huge risk.

Depending on where you live, it may indeed be illegal to pierce your dog’s ears. But, most likely, it will fall under animal cruelty laws rather than being a law on its own.

This means that if you are reported, you may face legal consequences. Your dog might also be taken from your possession and given to someone who won’t mistreat them.

Do They Make Earrings for Dogs?

No, there aren’t earrings made for dogs. There isn’t really a market because most people agree that piercing a dog’s ears is abusive.

Alternatives to Ear Piercings for Dogs

Instead of piercing your dog’s ears, let’s look at other humane ways to accessorize them. They include:

  • Pretty collars, harnesses, and leashes: These are already necessary, so why not make them pretty? 
  • Collar tags: While you don’t want tags rattling together, as this can annoy your dog (and they have to live with it constantly!), one nice tag can be a beautiful touch. Make sure it has your phone number so that someone can contact you if your dog is ever lost.
  • Leash accessories: Many people have poop bags attached to the handle of their leash. But why not add other things, like a keychain? Just make sure it doesn’t get in the way of your grip!
  • Clothing: Only use clothing if it’s necessary or your dog enjoys it. Some examples of clothing for dogs include coats to keep them warm in the winter or booties to protect their feet from hot pavement in the summer.

Instead of piercing your dog’s ears, there are better ways to accessorize them. Try rain coats or heat booties!


Are Magnetic Earrings for Dogs Okay?

I would personally avoid magnetic earrings for dogs as they’re a choking hazard if they fall off. They might also hurt your dog by pinching their ears, though I don’t have personal experience to confirm this.

It’s also likely that your dog will knock the earrings off because they’ll find them uncomfortable, which would make them pretty useless even if they were also harmless.

What About Ear Cropping?

Ear cropping tends to be even more painful than ear piercing, comes with similar risks, and is just as inhumane. Ear cropping is when a dog’s ears are cut for aesthetic purposes. Afterward, they’re typically banded or taped so that they stand upright.

Proponents of ear cropping claim that it reduces their chances of developing ear infections, but there is no evidence of this. The real reason some breeds’ ears are commonly cropped is for looks. People may crop their dogs’ ears to adhere to breed standards for dog shows, or to make their guard dogs appear fierce.

While there isn’t anything to snag, like with a piercing, ear cropping has even more lifelong, harmful impacts, such as trouble communicating with other dogs, an increased risk of being attacked by another dog, and sometimes, emotional trauma or lifelong physical pain.

It also comes with short-term risks like pain during recovery, infection, and repeat surgeries if it doesn’t heal the first time correctly.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s important to accept our dogs for who they are naturally. There’s nothing wrong with “plain” or floppy ears!

Always put your dog’s health andwell-beingg first, not your personal preferences when it comes to their appearance.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Reddogs/

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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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