Can Dogs Get Their Ears Pierced? Is it Legal?

Last Updated on July, 2024

Yes, dogs can get their ears pierced. However, there are many things to consider before making such a decision, especially in terms of your dog’s well-being and health.

Piercing your dog’s ears may lead to unnecessary pain, infection, and even DEAFNESS. 

Thus, it includes many RISKS.

In this guide, you will learn the consequences of getting your puppy’s ears pierced, legal issues, behavioral concerns, and more! 

Quick Summary

Dogs can get their ears pierced, but there are many considerations to make before making this decision, including the potential risks and effects on the dog’s well-being and health.

Ear piercing is not recommended as it can cause pain, infection, skin and behavioral issues, and even permanent damage or deafness for the dog.

There are alternative solutions to add uniqueness and fashion to a dog, such as using pretty collars, clothing, haircuts, and collar tags, which are safer options than ear piercing.

Can Dogs Get Their Ears Pierced?

a dog getting examined before ear piercing

Yes, you can pierce your dog’s ears. But is it a recommended practice? No, dog ear piercing is not recommended as it negatively impacts the well-being of the dog. 

However, if you’re dead set on getting the ears of your dog pierced, below are all the information you’ll need. 

But, before we get to those info, see if you have a ‘’YES’’ to questions below, and then decide whether to get your dog’s ears pierced or not:

  • Is it legal in your state?
  • Will your dog feel comfortable with pierced ears?
  • Are you ready to watch your dog suffer pain?
  • There are certain risks in dog ear piercing. Are you ready to undergo it?

If ‘’YES’’, fine then, here are the reason why you should think twice before piercing the ears of your dog.

Is it Painful to Get Dogs Ears Pierced? Is it Safe?

Yes, it causes unnecessary pain for a dog during and after ear piercing. When you pierce your ear, it causes pain—dogs also feel the same. 

However, as dog owners, think twice and be thoughtful before deciding on dog ear piercing. 

Next, is dog ear piercing safe? No, it is not very safe, and could affect their mental and physical stability. 

Why? There are many consequences of piercing a dog’s ear (discussed below!)

A black and white french bulldog wearing a turquoise necklace and earrings seated on the floor

Consequences of Piercing Dogs Ears

Here are the consequences most dogs face from getting their ears pierced. 

Snagging and Tearing the Ear

Do earrings snag on items? Yes, they can snag on things around the house and garden and it tears down your dog’s ear and leads to unnecessary health problems.

Next, your dog’s ear may get snagged on the earrings themselves. Like humans, dogs can also experience snagging since they are unaware that there is something additional attached to their ears. 

Ear Infections

Ear piercing can lead to ear infections, or they can be prone to ear infections. How does this happen?

Ear piercings create open wounds and give more room for infection. 

Next, they can get ear infections if their ears are not kept clean.

When your dog is outdoors, its ears may become prone to germs, and subsequently result in infections. 

Also, when your dog scratches or paws at the ear-piercing site, it introduces new bacteria. 

In your role as a dog groomer, it’s essential to occasionally ensure your dog’s ears are clean. Indeed, it’s a challenging task. 

Ear infection in a dog's ear

Skin Infections

Your dog may get skin infections after ear piercings due to bacteria. What are the symptoms of skin infections? They are redness, discharge, swelling, and unusual warmth in the ear. 

It would help if you treated the skin condition immediately in order to control it from causing further health problems. 


When a dog experiences temporary ear pain or itchy sensation, it attempts to scratch with its paws or nails. Then, the ears may get pierced.

Additionally, if the dog finds the earrings uncomfortable, it may try to remove them. Therefore, it may lead to the pup’s ears getting pierced or trigger allergic reactions.

The symptoms of allergic reactions are turning red, swelling, breathing difficulty, and itching.

Experience Pain

a dog getting its ear cleaned after piercing

Since dogs have nerve endings, getting your dog’s ear pierced may cause it significant pain (as mentioned earlier). 

Furthermore, when your dog is new to wearing earrings, it may cause additional pain and discomfort. At the same time, ensure that you don’t wear long earrings for your pup to cause more pain. 

How does your dog show its pain? It may whine, bark, whimper, pull away, and avoid human touch. 

Deafness or Permanent Damage

What happens if your dog experiences a botched ear piercing? It could lead to permanent damage, including nerve damage and hearing loss.

If you do want to get your dog’s ears pierced, you must find a licensed veterinarian experienced in carrying out this kind of procedure.

Is it Legal to Pierce Your Dog’s Ears?

The legality of dog ear piercing depends on your state and country. 

Why is that? Because it depends on each state and country’s lawful interpretations, which may vary. 

For example, in 2014, New York banned all activities related to piercing animals.

It was considered legal only when performed by a vet, and for the purpose of dog identification.

Additionally, state laws, animal welfare organizations, and veterinary associations discourage piercing a dog’s ears.

A chihuahua dog with a pink collar and ear pierced laying on the floor

Is Piercing Dogs’ Ears Considered Animal Abuse?

The motive behind a dog’s ear piercing decides whether it is animal abuse or not.

Apart from that, based on where you live and the laws and regulations of your city or state, it would be considered whether or not it is animal abuse. 

But it is considered animal cruelty. Thus, if anyone makes a complaint against you, you may have to face legal ramifications for your actions.

Behavioral Concerns After Piercing Dog’s Ear

Here are the behavioral concerns after piercing a dog’s ears:

  • Behavioral problems: Dog’s ear piercing is painful. Therefore, it will cause behavioral problems for your pup. 
  • Increased aggressiveness: Your dog has sensitive ears. If the pierced ear is causing pain, your dog may bark, bite, or snap at whoever touches its ears.
  • Leads to depression: If your dog is unable to overcome the pain, it may lead to depression and anxiety issues.

What Are the Alternatives to Dog Ear Piercings?

Being a good dog owner, you can take steps to avoid piercing rather than making your dog’s life challenging. 

So, we have got the best alternatives as follows:

Pretty Collars, Harnesses

harnesses and pretty collars for dogs

You can purchase stylish collars and harnesses for aesthetic purposes. 

Pros of using pretty collars and harnesses:

  • You can find them in unlimited designs and materials. 
  • Your dog will look classy and fashionable.
  • Ability to style your pup based on every trend and occasion. 

Collar Tags

pictures of dogs wearing collar tags

A custom-designed dog collar is more than just a fashion accessory that adds the touch of beauty and ease to figure out your furry friend with ease. So, why not make use of it?

Here are the pros of using collar tags:

  • You can make a custom dog tag with your contact details.
  • Have GPS collar tags to easily locate your dog.
  • You can change the collar tags based on fashion trends.


A dachshund wearing a hat and clothes

Nowadays you can find beautiful clothing made just for dogs. Your dog may not find it irritating like dog piercings. 

Here are the pros of using clothing:

  • Use fashionable coats (it keeps them warm).
  • Use booties to protect their feet.


pictures of dogs getting different haircuts

You can give an outstanding and trendy haircut to your pup. 

Here are the pros of haircuts:

  • Have creative or breed-specific haircuts regularly.
  • Adds more style and uniqueness to your pup.
  • Does not hurt your dog like ear piercings.

What Are Magnetic Earrings and Are They Safe for Dogs?

Magnetic earrings are made using magnets and tend to attract the earlobes of the dogs through magnetic forces.

However, magnetic earrings are not safe for your dog. Why? Magnetic earrings can get loose or easily removed from the dog’s ear. Your dog may accidentally ingest it, which may lead to choking hazards, gastrointestinal blockage, and other health issues. 

Other Dog Practices to Avoid 

If you love dogs and consider your dog’s health a top priority, you should avoid the below practices. 

Ear Cropping

ear cropping of dogs

Ear cropping is reshaping the dog’s ears for cosmetic purposes. It is a surgical procedure to remove a dog’s ear cartilage. 

What is the purpose of ear cropping? It is to maintain a certain breed standard of appearance. 

Is it legal? It depends on your state or country, but many have banned this practice. 

Tail Docking

a brown docked tail boxer walking on a leash

Tail docking is removing the dog’s tail through a surgical procedure. 

What is the purpose of tail docking? The primary purpose is to maintain breed-specific standards and for cosmetic reasons. 

This procedure can cause severe pain and unnecessary complications on your pup, and has been known to make them increasingly aggressive. 

Is it legal? It depends on your location and legal regulations. 

Dog Ear Tattoo

A person is putting a tattoo on a dog's ear

Dog tattoos in the ear is the process of piercing the dog’s ear skin and injecting an indelible ink into the piercing area to create a certain design.

What is the purpose of an ear tattoo? It is performed for identification, medical treatments, cosmetic purposes, or grooming.

Is it legal? Many countries consider it illegal (depending on your country/state). Dog ear tattoos may cause severe pain on the pup’s ears. 

Other guides and tools you might need when training your dog:


Now, you are clear enough to decide whether to get your dog’s ears pierced or not. 

As a pet owner, it is a crucial decision, and you must remember to consider the health complications and animal cruelty involved with this activity. 

You can consider alternative solutions to add uniqueness and beauty to your dog instead of piercing a dog’s ears. 

Make sure to choose what’s best for your pup! 


Yes, it is possible to pierce a dog’s ears, but it is not recommended.

Yes, you can pierce a dog’s nose. However, it is not recommended as the dog’s nose is highly sensitive to pain.

Yes, if the dog’s ears are pierced, petting them could cause pain.

Yes, it is generally Good to touch your dog’s ears. However, if their ears are pierced, it is best to avoid touching them.

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Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

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