Quick and Painless Dew Claw Removal for Puppies: A Comprehensive Guide

As a puppy owner, you may have heard about dew claws before, and you may wonder whether your puppy should have them removed. Dew claws are the small claws found on the inner side of a dog’s front paws. Not all dogs have them, but those that do might need to have them removed for various reasons. In this article, we’ll discuss how to remove dew claws from puppies, what the process involves, and whether it’s necessary or not.

What are dew claws?

Dew claws are essentially the thumb of a dog’s paw. They are located higher up on the leg and are not used for walking or bearing weight like the other toes. Dew claws can be found on both the front and the hind legs, but not all dogs have them. Some breeds, like the Great Pyrenees, have double dew claws, meaning they have two on each leg.

While dew claws may serve as an evolutionary remnant of a dog’s ancestors, they can also cause problems for the dog. If left untrimmed, dew claws can grow too long and curl into the paw pad, causing pain and discomfort. They can also get snagged on things like blankets or carpet, which could lead to injury or infection.

When to Remove Dew Claws from Puppies?

The decision to remove dew claws from puppies depends on several factors. For some breeds, like Great Pyrenees or Briards, dew claws should be removed to prevent them from getting caught on obstacles when dogs are working in the fields or hiking. This is because dew claws can get caught on brush or tall grass, which could cause significant pain and injury to the dog.

Another reason to remove dew claws is to prevent injury to humans and other animals. If dew claws grow too long, they can become sharp and pointy, and may scratch or scrape someone or another animal. In some cases, dogs can accidentally scratch their own faces with their dew claws while scratching, which could result in an eye injury.

How to Remove Dew Claws from Puppies?

The process of removing dew claws from puppies should be done by a licensed veterinarian. This is because the procedure can be quite painful and can be dangerous if performed incorrectly. The veterinarian will typically sedate the puppy before commencing the procedure, and antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent infection.

The actual process of removing dew claws from puppies involves cutting off the digit of the dew claw, including the nail, bone, and tendons. This will prevent the claw from growing back. Puppies that are younger than five days old may have their dew claws removed without the use of sedatives, but the procedure is still painful for them, and generally not recommended unless absolutely necessary.

Is it Necessary to Remove Dew Claws from Puppies?

While the removal of dew claws may be necessary for some breeds, it is not necessary for all. For example, if you have a toy breed or a lap dog, they may not be at risk of injury or infections from their dew claws, and it may be better to leave them intact.

However, if you have a larger breed that is highly active, or if you plan to take them hunting, dew claw removal may be necessary. The decision to remove dew claws from puppies should be made on an individual basis, and taking into account the breed, the dog’s environment, and the puppy’s overall health.

Alternatives to Removing Dew Claws from Puppies?

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of removing your puppy’s dew claws, you can opt for the following alternatives:

  • Keep them trimmed: Just like nails, dew claws need to be trimmed regularly to prevent overgrowth. You can do this yourself or have a groomer do it for you.
  • Protect them: You can also protect your dog’s dew claws by using dog booties or wearing a protective paw wax.


Dew claws are a small but vital part of a dog’s paw. Whether or not to remove them depends on the breed, the dog’s environment, and the puppy’s overall health. If you’re unsure whether your puppy’s dew claws should be removed, consult with your veterinarian. They can help you make an informed decision that is in the best interest of your furry friend. Remember, the health and happiness of your puppy should always come first.

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