AVMA: removing, reducing teeth as treatment for canine aggression inappropriate

Published on January 01, 2005
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

The AVMA has adopted a position against removing or reducing healthy canine teeth as a means of treating aggression in dogs. The new policy, recommended by the Animal Welfare Committee and approved by the Executive Board, states:

The AVMA is opposed to removal or reduction of healthy teeth of dogs as a treatment for canine aggression. This approach to managing aggression does not address the cause of the behavior. The welfare of the patient may be adversely affected because the animal is subjected to dental procedures that are painful, invasive, and do not address the problem. Removal or reduction of teeth for nonmedical reasons may also create oral pathologic conditions.
In addition, dogs may still cause severe injury with any remaining teeth, and removal or reduction of teeth may provide owners with a false sense of security. Injury prevention and the welfare of the dog are best addressed through behavioral assessment and modification by a qualified behaviorist.

Members of the AWC were advised that the removal or reduction of canine teeth has recently become popular for treating aggressive dogs. Recognizing the inappropriateness of these approaches, committee members developed the policy.