News broke that a dog owner in China is suing a clinic after his Tibetan mastiff died during a facelift.
The man, identified in a Daily Mail article as Mr. Yu, took his dog to a Beijing animal hospital in November to have the procedure done. Just 20 minutes into the surgery the Tibetan mastiff died of a heart attack after complications having to do with the anesthetic. Now he is suing the animal hospital for 880,000 yuan, just over $140,000 CAN, which he claims was the cost of his pet.
I figured this was just some one-off situation that made the press because it’s so bizarre, but after looking into it, I was disturbed to find out that pets all over the world undergo plastic surgery because their owners want them to look a certain way for breeding or showing purposes.
According to the American Pet Products Association, the pet plastic surgery industry in the United States was worth $50.84 billion in 2011.
The co-founder of UK pet insurance provider PetPlan, Chris Ashton, says he knows why there has been an increase.
“People are having human children later in life and pets earlier, so they’re a substitute,” he said to Business Week. “Or empty nesters have the most disposable income and lavish the attention they used to on their kids on their pets instead.”
Lavishing your pet with attention and providing proper medical care is one thing, but Yu, the owner of the Tibetan mastiff, had other intentions.
“If my dog looks better, female dog owners will pay a higher price when they want to mate their dog with mine,” the breeding centre manager told the Global Times.
The incredibly selfish nature of the situation sickens me. Even if I were attempting to breed my cat, I would never force her to undergo medically unnecessary surgery. Why? Because I love her, and because I am just generally not a cruel person.
But Dr. Edgard Brito, a well-known plastic surgeon for dogs who practices in São Paulo, Brazil, makes his living performing surgeries for people like Yu. Business Week writer Mark Ellwood went to the clinic and saw firsthand what pet owners sign their dogs up for.
“One of [a dog’s] ears was in a peculiar place, and wrong, so that was the first time I used Botox to put less tension in the muscle of that ear,” said Brito about the first dog he performed cosmetic work on. “I use both Botox and Restylane to fix some broken cartilage. It’s a very good technique, you don’t need to cut the animal, only injections.”
He also performs eyebrow correction, wrinkle reduction, and face-lifts. For dogs…
But it’s not just the breeding world that forces animals under the knife. According to neuticals.com over 500,000 pets worldwide have gone under the knife to get Neuticals. Yes, they are what you think they are. Dog owners, including Kim Kardashian, who feel sorry for their pups after they neuter them can make their dog look whole again by getting FDA medically-approved, and totally unnecessary, solid silicone testicle replacements.
“Many caring pet owners hesitate or even to refuse to neuter their pets because of [testical removal]. Neuticles eliminates ‘neuter-hesitant’ concerns – as a ‘Neuticled’ pet looks exactly the same after surgery. With Neuticles it’s like nothing ever changed!” says the Neutical website.
I did not know some pet owners were so concerned about this. But the ridiculous stuff these owners do doesn’t end there – there are also “pawdicures” available and yes, you can choose whatever colour you want for your dog’s nails. You can even get matching pedicures.
Better yet, stop forcing your own insecurities on your pet, and focus on loving them and providing them with a healthy and happy life. That’s all they ask from us and it’s our responsibility as pet owners to provide it for them.