a) Defanging:Defanging is the veterinary procedure which consists of removing an animal's lower and upper fangs, mostly done to prevent them of biting you. While it can be useful for the sole and only reason of not risking to be bitten by an animal, it is not very useful for other things, and is even a handicap for the animal itself, which is why it is not recommended to do this procedure, illegal and considered to be mutilation in several places. The fox will be deprived of his fangs, will have considerably more difficulty to eat, especially right after the surgery, and won't be able to playfully bite dogs, cats or other foxes anymore, which is the usual way foxes play with each other or other animals. Pet foxes are not aggressive animals that will constantly and viciously attack humans; therefore defanging isn't a necessary surgery. An exotic animal owner should establish a trust-based relationship with its exotic animal companion, in this case, with foxes. If the animal is treated well and trusts you, it will feel no need to attack you and/or bite you hard enough to cause any major injuries whatsoever. When they play, foxes do nip on fingers and try to play-bite, which may pierce through the skin at times since their fangs are sharp enough to do so. However, there are ways to dissuade that type of behaviour which is not aggressive, just a demonstration of an interest to play with you. Defanging should never be a first option, in any case.
To recapitulate: - Defanging is painful, even weeks after the surgery, if not months. - Defanging: removing lower and upper fangs. - Animal will have difficulty eating solid food, since fangs are used to grab it and tore it apart. - Animal won't be able to playfully bite other animals. - Exotics are not vicious if they are raised with love and respect. No exotic will bite if it is understood and well-threated. Therefore, defanging is not necessary. - Foxes do nip and play-bite while playing, but there are ways to discourage that type of non-aggressive behaviour in a pacific way. - Defanging is not and should never be a first option, regardless of the situation.
If one decides to adopt an exotic animal, he or she should be aware that these are no domestic animals, and that they have different reactions. They require a lot more patience, discipline and understanding of their general behaviour than dogs or cats, and need to be raised by a trustworthy, loving and respectful person.
b) Declawing:Declawing is the veterinary procedure which, unlike most think, consists of removing an animal's third phalanx, usually done to prevent an animal from scratching you. It is a digital amputation, a mutilation, basically. While it can be useful for the sole and only reason of not risking to be scratched by an animal, it is not very useful for other things, and is even a handicap for the animal itself, which is why it is not recommended to do this procedure, illegal and considered to be mutilation in several places. The fox will be deprived of a part of his fingers, will have considerably more difficulty to walk in the weeks following the surgery, run around in general, jump and won't be able to climb anymore, nor dig, which is a natural habit of foxes. Depriving a fox of its habit to dig by removing its claws is one of the cruelest things that can be done to an animal. Pet foxes are not aggressive animals that will constantly and viciously attack humans; therefore declawing isn't a necessary surgery, as the fox will never try to scratch you. Unlike cats, foxes never use their claws for self-defense. An exotic animal owner should establish a trust-based relationship with its exotic animal companion, in this case, with foxes. If the animal is treated well and trusts you, it will feel no need to attack you and/or scratch you hard enough to cause any major injuries whatsoever. When being held, foxes try to find a better grip and in most cases, do, not on purpose though, scratch the one who's holding them. However, declawing isn't the option: soft caps for nails or nail trimming is the option.
To recapitulate: - Declawing: removing the third phalanx of an animal's paws. - Animal will have difficulty walking, jumping and even standing up for a few weeks, but the pain will last for months. - Exotics like foxes don't use their nails to scratch in self-defense or for aggression. They will only scratch when climbing on you or while being held. - Foxes are born diggers. Declawing a fox means the fox won't ever be able to express its natural behavior of digging ever again, which is cruelty. - If accidental scratches are the problem, use soft paws (nail caps) or trim the fox's nails more often.
c) Descenting:Descenting, also called deglanding, is the veterinary procedure which consists of removing the scent gland in foxes, known as the ''violet gland''. This procedure is commonly done with pet skunks and pet ferrets, to prevent them from spreading the particularly noticeable strong musky smell. This procedure is not commonly done in foxes; however, it has been done previously in a small population of fur farmed foxes. The violet gland is located at the base of the fox's tail, and can be noticed sometimes by a yellow or transparent swelling. There is no real necessity of removing the gland; foxes only emit their typical musky smell when they are scared, extremely stressed or too excited. As an average, a fox would release the smell about 4-5 times per year. The smell is nowhere near as strong as a skunk's smell, but it is still strong. Other than that, foxes don't smell. Their urine does smell bad, but for that, nothing can be done, it's just natural. Descenting a fox should only be done by a certified veterinarian who has experience with foxes in general, and descenting skunks or/and ferrets. It is a simple but complex surgery at the same time. The fox would experience a few weeks of pain afterwards, but not more than 2-3 weeks. It is said that descenting affects a fox's health and destroys the hormonal balance in the fox's organism. Those sayings have not been proved whatsoever; they are unjustified. Foxes have been descented on a fur farm, and they have lived normal lives, and continued being healthy afterwards. However, deglanding a fox is still unnecessary: if you provide a stress-free, comforting and respectful environment to your fox, and don't try to purposely scare it, chances are you will never experience the musky fox smell.
To recapitulate: - Descenting ''deglanding'': removing the scent gland from an animal's rear end. - Commonly done with skunks and ferrets; uncommon with foxes as it is a harder procedure. - A small population has been descented on a fur farm, as a result of an experiment. - Violet gland (scent gland) is located at the tail's base. - Can be, sometimes, noticed by a yellow or transparent swelling (but not often!) - Fox only produce musky smell if very stressed, very excited or very scared. - Removing a fox's gland is said to affect their health and hormonal balance. Those ''facts'' have never been backed up with proof. - The population of foxes that have been descented remained healthy afterwards. - Healing and loss of pain takes 2-3 weeks on average. - Can be done, but it's unnecessary: if an owner provides a stress-free, caring and respectful environment, the fox shouldn't have a reason to release the smell.