A Dewclaw is a digit on the front or back legs of a Dog. Normally Dewclaws are present on the front legs and sometimes on the rear legs, although not as often. There is some debate about whether or not the rear Dewclaws should be removed if present.
Do All Dogs Have Dewclaws?
Normally all Dogs have them, at least on their front legs. The front Dewclaws are much sturdier than the back Dewclaws which quite often are very high up the leg and are basically attached by a flap of Skin.
What Are Dewclaws For?
Those on the front are often used to help grip or for better traction. They are a vestige of what we would call a thumb, but no longer play such a strong role for the Dog. They have a Bone and Nail just like their other Toes.
The rear Dewclaws really have little or no use whatsoever and are quite often very loose.
Should You Cut Your Dogs Dewclaws?
They should be treated the same as all their Nails and be cut if they get too long. They can become very long and sharp and more easily ripped off if they are never attended to. Many Dogs hate having their Nails trimmed but it is a necessary part of looking after Dogs
Should You Have Your Dogs Dewclaws removed?
Two of our Dogs have no rear Dewclaws but Faye does and they are quite large. As she has got older they seem to have grown at a very quick rate. They are attached by a fairly thin flap of Skin. She has never had a problem with them but I can see that they could catch on something quite easily.
Many people have the rear Dewclaws removed at a very early age, as young as three days old for Puppies with Dewclaws. It can also be performed in adult Dogs but will be more painful. Some Dogs even have double Dewclaws which can cause quite a problem for some but is a standard for others.
It is a serious operation where your Dog will be anaesthetized and you are having a Didgit removed. Many owners report it takes a considerable time for them to recover, especially because the stitches are in a place where the Dog can easily access them.
Does your Dog have loose Dewclaws? Did you get them removed, and why?
Do you think they are dangerous, or is it unfair to have them removed?
May the Doggie Force be with you all.