Should I Remove Dewclaws From My Dog?

September 30, 2019

Dog's Dewclaw

Dewclaws are kind of similar to thumbs on humans. The main difference is that, unlike our thumbs, they lost their purpose over time and are now plain useless. If your pup hasn’t had his removed yet, or is even born with extra dewclaws, you are probably wondering if you should have them removed.

The dewclaw was quite helpful for the ancient dog. It helped canines climb or hold objects such as the dead animals they were snacking on, but for a modern dog, this purpose is no longer crucial.


Of course, they might come in handy while your pooch is chewing on bones or playing with some toys, however, today they are more of a hazard than a helpful tool.

Dewclaws are attached to your dog’s leg by some loose skin.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons describes it as “a nail, skin and connective tissue with no skeletal articulation.”

The problem can appear if the dewclaw catches on something. In these cases, it can easily rip away and become a painful, bloody mess which will most likely require a visit to your vet, and hours, if not days, of calming your poor buddy down.

Removing The Dewclaws

Not all dewclaws are dangerous. It can depend on the breed. If your ball of fur still has these, talk to your vet about whether it is necessary for your dog to have them removed.

However, you might have missed the window of opportunity. If they weren’t removed when your puppy was a newborn, you can have it done at the same time as spaying or neutering, but later it can become a problem, so contact your vet immediately if you have any doubts.

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Either Way
7 years ago

I tend to leave it up to the breeder. Two of my dogs have their dewclaws and one does not. WITH dewclaws, you run the risk of them catching on something and that can be costly to fix for the owner and an extremely painful injury for the dog. On the other hand, if you ever watch a dog really moving fast or climbing agility obstacles, if you look carefully, you CAN see them using those dewclaws. I believe that recent studies have been finding that dewclaw removal can raise the risk of orthopedic issues later in life. There are… Read more »