Here is a puppy recovering minutes after having her dew claws removed. You can see how it upset her. The puppies disliked being held still and all exercised their lungs!
Dewclaw removal is the surgical removal of the first digit, sometimes referred to as the thumb. This toe is located on the inside of the paws.
Why Dewclaw Removal?
At one time the presence or absence of dew claws was an indication of a poor breeder and a quality breeder. That is no longer the case. Many breeders are now opting to leave them on, and in some performance circles it is felt that dogs benefit from them. However, these puppies have all had their's removed. Why?
One of my very first Dals, Cheeca, had her dew claw ripped off while playing in the yard. It was extremely painful for poor Cheeca, with cartilage exposed and raw. At first the vet wanted it just keep if wrapped and let it heal on its own. That was a poor choice and did not work. She then had to have surgery for its removal and had a very difficult time recovering. Since then I have always elected for removal. It is very much a personal breeder choice and the luckily the only cosmetic surgery our breed has to have done.
Dewclaw removal is most often performed in puppies around 2-5 days of age to prevent the loosely attached dewclaws from catching on furniture, carpet, etc. resulting in damage to the toe.
Some pets have dewclaws only on the front feet and some have dewclaws on all four feet. Some have multiple dewclaws. Dewclaw removal may also be performed in older dogs if the toe becomes injured or damaged.