Should Dewclaws Be Removed?

Front dewclaws are a functional digit with a bony attachment. Hind dewclaws can be functional with a bony attachment too. This means their removal is essentially an amputation, which shouldn’t be performed without good reason. Examples of when a front dewclaw or functional back dewclaw may need to be removed include severe injury, or tumors affecting the digit. This would be a surgical procedure, under general anesthetic, recommended by your veterinarian.

Many veterinarians are now in agreement that dewclaws should not be removed purely for aesthetic purposes (i.e., to look good), such as for showing. In fact, in some breeds having their dewclaws removed can disqualify them from showing. Many breeders still choose to have their puppies’ dewclaws removed. This means your puppy may not have any back dewclaws by the time they join your family. – Dr. Joanna Woodnutt DVM

From PetMD: Because front dewclaws serve an important purpose, they should not be removed unless there is a very good reason to do so. In rare cases, a dog’s dewclaw may be severely injured or develop a disease (e.g., a cancerous tumor) and removal under those circumstances would certainly be in the dog’s best interests. These problems occur so infrequently, however, that removing healthy front dewclaws to prevent them makes little sense.

We have chosen not to remove dewclaws on our puppies. Because your dog has their dewclaws, you will want to make your groomer aware of this, so that they can maintain them properly. Similarly, you will want to trim the dewclaws regularly, just as you do all the other claws. Keeping them trimmed helps keep them safe from the potential for catching and tearing. While this is rare, it does occasionally happen.

Some additional links to information on dewclaw removal –

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