Learn How to Safely Remove Dew Claws from Your Pet

Have you ever heard of dew claws? They are the extra thumbs that certain dog breeds have on their paws. While some owners choose to keep them for aesthetic or functional purposes, others opt to have them removed. If you are considering removing your dog’s dew claws, there are important things you need to know. In this article, we will guide you through this process, including the reasons why some owners remove them and the methods used to do so.

What Are Dew Claws?

Dew claws are the fifth toes on the inside of a dog’s front paws and, in some breeds, they are also located on their back paws. While some breeds only have dew claws on their front paws, others have them on all four. Dew claws are usually short and don’t touch the ground as the dog walks. They can be beneficial for some dogs since they can use them to increase their grip during activities like running, climbing, or digging.

  • Breeds that commonly have dew claws:
    • Great Pyrenees
    • Briards
    • Australian Cattle Dogs
    • Newfoundlands
    • Bernese Mountain Dogs

Reasons for Removing Dew Claws

There are several reasons why some dog owners choose to have their pet’s dew claws removed. It is essential to note that not all breeders or owners agree with this practice. If a dog’s dew claws are functional and well-attached to the foot, some owners will leave them in place. Some of the reasons why some owners opt to have their dog’s dew claws removed include:

  • Prevent Injuries: Dew claws can get caught on various things, leading to injuries to the dog’s leg or paw. If your dog is active and participates in activities like hiking, running, or agility, you may want them removed to prevent injuries.
  • Minimal Functionality: When dew claws grow too long, they can inhibit a dog’s ability to walk properly. In some cases, they are also not well attached to the foot, and this can lead to infections or ingrown nails. In these cases, removal may be necessary for the dog’s well-being.
  • Aesthetic Purposes: Some breeders or owners remove dew claws purely for cosmetic reasons. In some breed standards, dew claws are considered a fault and can disqualify the dog from show events.

How Are Dew Claws Removed?

Dog dew claw removal is not a complex procedure, but it should only be done by a veterinarian. The process can vary depending on the dog’s age, size, and temperament. Typically, dew claw removal is done on pups under five days old due to their underdeveloped nervous system, making the process less invasive and less painful.

The procedure is carried out under general anesthesia to minimize discomfort. The vet will gently remove the dew claw with surgical scissors or a scalpel, and then the area is cauterized to prevent bleeding.

If the dog is older and the dew claws are well-attached, the procedure can be more complicated. It may require sedation or general anesthesia, and sutures may be necessary. The recovery time can take up to a few weeks.

Post-Surgery Care

After dew claw removal surgery, it is essential to take special care of your dog’s paw during the healing process. The vet will provide instructions regarding medication, cleaning the wound, and limiting the dog’s activity to prevent infections and other complications.

A typical recovery process involves keeping the stitches clean and dry, limiting the dog’s activity for a few days or weeks, and controlling your dog’s pain and discomfort with medication. The vet may ask you to bring your dog back for a follow-up to check on the wound’s healing progress.


The decision to remove a dog’s dew claws should be made with careful thought and consideration. While some owners choose to remove them for valid reasons like preventing injuries and promoting the dog’s well-being, others prefer to keep them as they believe they serve a functional purpose or for aesthetic reasons. It is essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine whether removal is necessary or not and to provide the best care for your dog during the process.

We hope this article has provided you with the necessary information about dew claw removal and the reasons behind it. Remember, it is crucial always to prioritize your dog’s well-being and comfort, and that includes their paws.

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