Dog Dewclaws. Should You Have Your Dogs Dewclaws Removed?

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.

17 Responses to “Dog Dewclaws. Should You Have Your Dogs Dewclaws Removed?”

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  1. jan says:

    Our Poodles have no dewclaws which is great. They are usually removed at 3 days old when the tail is docked.

    Our dogs have dewclaws which is not so great. One of them tore a dewclaw and it had to be removed under anesthetic Quite expensive too.

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  2. Jenny A says:

    One of my dogs has back dew claws, and she HATES to have them touched. I have to have my husband hold her down while I trim them. We just recently got a new puppy, and she has two on each back foot, something I have never seen before. I don’t plan on having them taken off. I don’t like to put my dogs through surgery if it’s not needed. I don’t agree with ear or tail docking either. Seems a little cruel, even when people say that they are young and don’t remember it. I say, if an animal was born with a body part, you should let it be unless it’s a real problem.

  3. Dog Guy says:

    If the dewclaws are “hangy” it is likely to present an issue sometime in the dog’s life – when they run through that field and the digit gets caught on something, or even getting tangled in carpet fibers. However, if it’s not flappy (I have seen dogs with rather small Dewclaws), then I wouldn’t say surgery is needed. Ideally if you are going to have them removed the best time to do it is when your dog is being spayed or neutered at the same time!

  4. Our dog has double dewclaws on his hind legs, and when we adopted him we were told he’d been to see a vet, and it was not recommended that they be removed. I presume that’s because they figured he’d mess with the stitches, or maybe because of his age (four months). Anyway, he doesn’t love having them trimmed, but he tolerates it, and we think he has very little feeling in the extra toe. We are pretty fond of his “magic” toes…they make him a little special!

    velocibadgergirl’s last blog post..

  5. Jennifer says:

    We are of the philosophy that once a dog comes under our care, all body parts stay on the dog unless it becomes medically necessary to remove them (with the exception of spay/neuter, which we always do).

    Having said that, we had to remove Dozer’s rear dewclaws after he tore them badly. He was an adult dog, and the surgery was definitely more painful and difficult at that time than if he had been a tiny puppy.

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Healthy competition

  6. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Jan, it does sem like you need to be careful, especially if they hang rather loose.

    Jenny A, it seems quite a few Dogs can have double Declaws and it is even a requirement for some Pedigrees to have them.

    Veloocibadgergirl, cool name! Soem Dogs are like that whenever they have their Nails trimmed. If it isn’t a bother to him in general then there are no worries, right?

    Jennifer, glad you do Spay and Neuter, I think that is an important one.
    I am getting all worried about Fayes now. They are so loose, but I don’t want to do anything unless I have to.

  7. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Dog Guy, the more I think about it, the more concerned I am now about Faye. Her rear Dewclaws really are quite “flappy”, at least we have no Carpets here in Spain which is something!

  8. Mercedes says:

    Our dogs have dewclaws which is not so great. One of them tore a dewclaw and it had to be removed under anesthetic Quite expensive too.

  9. Dickey45 says:

    I just got my 7 year old JRT’s front dew claws removed a week ago. About every 2 years he would get his dew claw ripped, sheered, or badly bruised. Granted, I think I left them too long. It’s almost healed and I think the cost was well worth it. I had his teeth cleaned and for an extra $90 both front dew claws were removed (he didn’t have back ones). The first 5 days it looked sore but now he lets me touch his legs. Although he wears an ecollar, he only has a few more days until I remove the stitches.

  10. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Mercedes, sorry to hear about that. Dogs dewclaws are certainly a worry.

    Dickey45, that sounds like a reasonable price. I am just hoping that Faye never gets any problems with her dewclaws. I don’t want to put her under just to have them removed but it sounds like you went about it the right way. Thanks for letting everyone know.

  11. Asia says:

    My Jack Russell is 6 yrs old and I had to have his removed. He loves chasing balls and running fast regardless of the terrain. Then I started noticing him licking his dewclaw. He was a rescue 4 yrs ago. He was having dental surgery b/c his 2 little front teeth were wiggly so since he was going to be under anesthia I agreed to remove the claw….he only had one. I wish I would have done it sooner 🙁 Hopefully he will recover fast. He’s been home from the vet for about 3 hours now and is so sleepy. I will update his condition in a few days. He did however muster the strength to eat 🙂

  12. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Hi Asia,

    sounds like it was sensible to get it done while he was having the dental work. I really wish I had done the same when Faye was spayed. Her dewclaws are really big. I hope he is feeling much better now.

  13. Asia says:

    Well today is the “day after” surgery. At first he was still very groggy and I had to hand feed him soft food. He only ate a little bit. By 3pm he ventured out his doggie door and went to look for his tennis ball. His mouth still hurt so he picked it up and dropped it quickly and came back in to lay down. By 5pm – he heard the kids out front — he took off through his doggie door – barking and running like he never had surgery. He found his ball and wanted me to throw it. Needless to say he is feeling fine. He is still a little tired but he is recovering super fast. Thanks for your kind words 3 dog blogger 🙂

  14. Three Dog Blogger says:


    He is one tough boy. That’s great that he recovered so quickly. Glad it all worked out so well. All my best to you both.

  15. Hannah says:

    One of my close friend been on dew claw surgery too after the back left paw bleeds and it takes a week for him to recover and become playful again, poor lad she’s still limping and will be on the vet by Tuesday.

  16. carole says:

    My first dalmatian domino had her dew claws removed when i got her My second dalmatian amber had hers removed when she was spayed I have now got a staffy who has just been spayed and yes her dew claws have just been removed only yesterday and they are healing up fine ruby pulled one bandage off and vet was pleased with healing so took the other on off Think its better to have them removed then to wait for them to catch the claws painfully pouch

  17. Barb says:

    I’m for having the dew claws removed, especially with in 3-4 days of being borned , My daughter had a dog that had dew claws, they had gotten ripped, its very painful for them ,and if not near the house, could really have problems. if done when little it won’t bother them that much except for putting them to sleep,personally I also like the front ones off .I think it makes the foot look better,and you don’t have the worry of it catching on something.