Why Puppy Plastic Surgery Is On The Rise

When you hear "puppy plastic surgery," you probably gasp in horror and imagine people trying to tweak the look of their adorable furry friends for purely cosmetic reasons. But, just like with humans, there are some legitimate health reasons that dogs might need plastic surgery.

Puppy Plastic Surgery Is On the Rise—And It's Actually Good for the Dogs
credit: YouTube

The closest comparison is probably someone who has to get a "nose job" to correct a deviated septum that's causing breathing issues. For some dogs, especially breeds with flat faces or lots of wrinkles, plastic surgery can correct issues that are causing unnecessary pain for the pup.

Puppy Plastic Surgery Is On The Rise
Rhinoplasty on a Shar Pei
credit: Pet Health Network

As Today reports, the most common plastic surgery procedures for dogs include tummy tucks, eyelid lifts and laser nostril procedures — so basically nose jobs. These surgeries serve important functions though. The tummy tucks help prevent bacterial infections, the eyelid lifts avoid scratched corneas, and the nostril procedures help dogs breathe easier.

"When it comes to animals, the plastic surgery we do is not necessarily for cosmetics,'' Dr. Jeff Werber of Los Angeles-based Century Veterinary Group told Today. "It's more for what we call function. These are animals that are coming in for problems that are persistent — infection, inability to breathe, eye problems."

These surgeries can cost as little as $150 to $200 for something simple, like an eyelid lift to several thousand dollars for more complicated surgeries, Dr. Werber told Today.

In some cases, plastic surgery can permanently correct issues that pet parents have spent thousands treating. That was what happened with Christy and Trevor Gale from Venice Beach, California. The couple had spent $15,000-$20,000 on medical bills, to treat a respiratory blockage their French Bulldog, Tonka's, snout. The "cosmetic" surgery Tonka underwent fixed the issue and cost $1,500 — a fraction of what treating it other ways had already cost.

The lesson here is not to project human issues onto pets (which we already know, but it still really tough to do). Plastic surgery in humans has a certain reputation, but in pets, the motivation behind it tends to be very different.

[H/T: Today]