Tag Archives: dew claw

Dew claws: what claws?

2 Jun

Those of you who regularly follow me will know that Max had an issue where he needed to have his dew claw removed, which in turn cost a fortune and took weeks of bandage changes following an operation (including being neutered much earlier than most dogs in the uk).

So, first things first, what is a dew claw?

Well, basically the dew claw is just an extra claw (the equivalent of where the human thumb would be). They have no real use, although some people might suggest that they have seen their dog using them for example to aid in holding a bone. Many dogs are born with dew claws on both front legs (and these generally cause no problems providing they are looked after). It is the dew claws on the hind legs that often become a cause for concern. Some dogs have them, others don’t. usually if your dog has them, he will have a pair (on both hind legs for example), lucky for us, Max only had the one. These claws grow up higher on the foot and do not touch the ground when the dog stands (so if your dog has one and it is not removed, be sure to make sure that it does not become overgrown as it wont be filed down through normal wear and tear like the other claws).

Dew claw removal:

There is some debate whether removal is necessary, and often these claws are not removed.

However, in some breeds they are removed in order to achieve a sleeker and neater look, in these cases they are usually removed when the puppy is very young and the procedure is simple. Other breeders will also remove them early, simply to ensure that no problems ensue later in life (i.e. snagging, overgrowing etc).

In Max’s case, the dew claw was not removed by the breeder and by the time he came to live with us (10 weeks old) the dew claw had become ingrown and had to be surgically removed. In this case he was put under anesthetic (and we had him neutered at the same time). When surgically removed the healing can take a long time, requiring stitches, numerous bandage changes and of course, no walks.

Overall, unless there is any cause for concern, it is down to the owner to decide whether or not dew claw removal is something they want to go through with.

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Poor Max with his cone of shame and bright green bandage.