Aug. 23, 2014. While vets frequently remove dew claws from puppies under local anesthetic or sedation when the pups are only a few days old, can a vet remove dew claws in older dogs; what does it involve; and is it wise to do this? It was also thought that hunting breeds may injure their dewclaws while working, leading to removal. Physical degradation: Removal of your dog’s dew claw can lead to the atrophy of some major muscle bundles, as the muscle won’t be utilized the same way anymore. Dewclaw removal is most easily performed when the dog is young, around 2–5 days of age. When removing dew claws from adult dogs, the procedure is carried out under general anesthetic. What is a dewclaw? Suggestions about The Removal of Dew Claw. Get your dog used to having their dewclaws trimmed. (This is a fairly common problem in some older cats as well.). Ensure that you follow any preparation guidelines your vet gives you, e.g. Just as with a puppy, the veterinarian will use surgical scissors to cut the bone or bone attachment and suture the skin area. I trim back the nail, treat the wound, and dispense pain meds and antibiotics if necessary until the area where the nail grew into the pad or skin is healed. Dew claws on the front paws are used for gripping items, such as bones, while they chew. Dew Claw Trimming Dew Claw: Psychology Today author Dr. Stanley Coren traces your dog’s dewclaw back 40 million years to “a tree-climbing cat-like animal known as miacis which was an early ancestor of our modern dogs,” he says…. Although dewclaws are nowhere near as helpful to a dog as a thumb is to a human, they still have a purpose. The surgery is fairly straightforward and may be done with local anesthetics if the digit is not well connected to the leg. My dog has been licking his back dew claw the past few days and we just realized he must have snagged it on something and ripped the nail. Especially with larger or older dogs, the best way is to lay the dog on its side. 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. Front dewclaws help dogs grasp things using their forelegs, such as a toy, ball or food. Rear dewclaws are considered an anomaly except in a few breeds where single or double well-developed rear dewclaws are part of the breed, such as the Briard or Great Pyrenees. For many vets, it has become an ethical issue: For example, Dr. Emma Goodman Milne, BVSc, MRCVS, has lamented that vets “may feel under pressure to perform procedures they feel uncomfortable with purely because a client says the law allows it.” She said she “will continue to exercise my right not to perform any unnecessary mutilations whether the law allows it or not.”. I don't like the idea of removing them but I need to think what is best and whats best for the long run. Evans, Howard E., PhD, and Alexander de Lahunta, DVM, PhD. They are situated higher up the paw than the rest of the claws, and don’t touch the ground. Although dogs can hold on to things without a dewclaw, the dewclaw is a helpful addition for grasping. Check Now: Blue Buffalo • Science Diet • Purina • Wellness • 4health • Canine Carry Outs • Friskies • Taste of the Wild • See 200+ more brands…. Dog dew claws are often removed for cosmetic reasons, but very often it is to avoid painful injury in the long run. The dew claw is actually a digit rather than just a claw, and the removal of dew claws is thus far more complex and painful than simply trimming the dog’s nails, which does not cause the dog any pain at all. For those vets who still agree to remove dewclaws, many use a local lidocaine injection to block pain. As the whole toe is removed, the procedure only has to be performed once, whereas trimming dog nails – including trimming of dew claws – should be done regularly as part of the dog’s general grooming routine. Recovery from dewclaw removal in an older dog can cause dogs and people more headaches than recovery from the spay or neuter. Dog has a ripped, injured or ingrown dewclaw. If you have questions or concerns, call your vet, who is best equipped to ensure the health and well-being of your pet. 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