Dog Dew Claw Removal

The removal of a dog’s dew claw is controversial, illegal in some countries and generally an elective procedure.

The procedure is performed by a veterinarian in puppies up to five days old, during an emergency when injury occurs, or when the canine is undergoing a spay and/or neuter procedure and going under general anesthesia.

The Dew Claw in Dogs

The dew claw is located on the front limb of most dogs, on the inner side and in most canines doesn’t touch the ground. Some canines are born with dew claws on the hind legs, or with two sets of dew claws, known as double dew claws.

A dew claw is comparable to a thumb on a human and classified as a vestigial digit, but it’s not a dead appendage. After birth, owners should monitor the dew claw closely for approximately six months to ensure the claw is growing normal and not hindering the puppies’ normal activity.

Dew Claw Pros And Cons

In some breeds, when the dew claw touches the ground, having the dew claw gives the dog an advantage when running and performing agility exercises. However, removal of the dew claws has the potential of causing a negative impact and cause instability, especially when running.

Canine’s use dew claws on a daily basis. The extra digit aids them with climbing, or grasping and holding items, such as a bone or toy. Having the extra digit could also cause injury to the dog when the claw snags on the carpet or becomes caught in an object, such as a toy.

Electively removing the dew claws has the potential to cause stress, pain or infection after to procedure and/or during recovery. Some breeders choose to electively have the dew claws removed during the first five days of the puppy’s life for aesthetic appearances, especially in full breed animals.

Dog Dew Claw Removal

The removal of dew claws is an elective procedure, generally performed by a licensed veterinarian. However, some breeders perform the procedure at home.

On a puppy, less than five days, general anesthesia is not required and the veterinarian may use a local anesthetic and/or sedative while performing the procedure.

Since the bone area of the dew claw that connects to the leg is not fully developed, the veterinarian will remove the dew claw using surgical scissors, and then apply sutures or surgical adhesive to the skin.

In the case of older animals, where the dew claws attached to the leg with possibly muscle and bone, the dog will undergo general anesthesia for the removal procedure. Just as with a puppy, the veterinarian will use surgical scissors to cut the bone or bone attachment and suture the skin area. After the procedure, the canine will undergo monitoring for an additional two to three hours to ensure no negative reactions occur from the anesthesia.

A bandage is applied to area, monitored for the next few weeks, with suture removal occurring within five to seven days if necessary. An older canine may have to wear a collar to prevent licking and removing the bandage from the surgical area.