Dew Claws???
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Thread: Dew Claws???

  1. #1
    Junior Member DLloydBoy's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Petoskey, MI

    Question Dew Claws???

    I was having a conversation with my vet about removing the dew claws on my new litter. My vet is a dog owner (E Setters) and hunter, and told me "if it was him, he wouldn't worry about removing them." I have also seen other articles saying the "latest research" is linking dew claw removal to front leg problem later in life...

    So my question is: Should I remove the dew claws or don't worry about???

    Please give me your theories on why I should or shouldn't...

    I have till Monday 11/20 to deside...

    Thank you for your input...
    David Lloyd
    Greenwing Kennel
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  3. #2
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    Sep 2010


    Dew claws are nothing but trouble save ur puppy buyers some problems & remove them. I have one with dew claw if I ever knock her out they will be removed, never again. They get tangled up, in ice they rip, they r the fastest growing and hardest too cut nail. Most breeders cut them if you leave it sort've screams first time or Byb breeder, they are just problems waiting to happen. Maybe for the vets breed it doesn't matter but working dogs should have them cut.
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 01-18-2014 at 04:53 PM.
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  4. #3
    Senior Member thelast2's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
    Wasilla, AK


    I would have the removed, my YLM didn't have them removed by the breeder and at a 1.5 yrs old ripped one almost completely off. Was obvious the dog was in horrific pain, and had them surgically removed for a far greater cost than if it had been done as a puppy. Not worth the risk of leaving them intact IMO, especially with hunting dogs. As far as front leg problems I have never heard or seen a case of this. I had a similar conversation with my vet about having them removed and I got the response of "I have been a vet for 25 yrs and have never seen a dog with a torn dewclaw". Well just so happened the night my dog tore his loose, that same vet was on duty and got to see her first one.


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  6. #4


    No more time or effort than it takes to have them removed, just easier to do it and never have to worry about it again.

  7. #5
    Senior Member Erin Lynes's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Quesnel, B.C.


    I leave them on.

    After having removed them as per the gospel retriever tradition for many years, I was convinced by some breeders of non-Labs to really look at how they are used when a dog actually has them. I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT HOLDING TOYS (I hate that argument, dogs without dewclaws can still hold toys and bones, who cares). I'm talking about when they are actually moving, running, jumping and turning. If they have them, they use them in those scenarios. Of my personal dogs, the ones with dewclaws can turn and stop sooner, slip and fall less on wet grass and ice, and have not had any front end injuries. Of my dogs without dewclaws, I've had two with shoulder strains from turning/falling at speed. Nothing life threatening but if it happens somewhat regularly then I should be expecting them to have side-effects as seniors.

    As to the risk of tears... of course they are a risk, how much of a risk depends on the conditions and how diligent you are about trimming their nails. I currently have 9 with dewclaws and we hunt (grouse) in some pretty dense brush. We have yet to have a dewclaw injury. I have however had dogs rip off other toenails.... A conversation with a sports vet a couple years ago indicated that she felt all of the dewclaw injuries she had seen were on dogs whose nails were not properly trimmed. She said the only time that she personally would advise removing dewclaws was in long distance sled dogs because a) they were not travelling at a speed where dewclaws were likely to be of great benefit and b) dewclaws interfere with bootie usage which they do regularly need to wear. Most of her clientelle is gundogs, agility dogs, and sled dogs.

    Personally, I think anyone who removes dewclaws because they are 'too hard to trim' is being lazy. <-- pot stirring comment!!!!

    Honestly though, go watch some dogs who have dewclaws work at the speed/conditions that you expect your own dogs will work in and make a personal decision that you are comfortable with based on that. Most of my puppies go as gun dogs and agility dogs; the gun dog buyers understand why I leave them on and are taught to keep all nails trimmed short, and the agility buyers are not interested in puppies who have dewclaws removed. The broad statement that anyone who leaves dewclaws on is a BYB or newbie discounts a growing population of breeders who look at the pros and cons and make an educated decision. Just like hopefully those who are still removing them are making educated reasons to do so, vs just blindly following tradition or trying to get out of 2/16ths of a nail trim each week.
    Erin Lynes
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  8. #6
    Senior Member Cass's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
    ON, Canada


    Remove em!

  9. #7
    Senior Member Bridget Bodine's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Lake Winola, Pa


    leave em...
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  10. #8
    Senior Member EdA's Avatar
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    May 2003


    Doesn't matter one way or the other but there is no research to demonstrate a relationship to carpal injuries only the opinion of a veterinarian who is a virologist who has a great interest in and writes about canine sports medicine topics.

  11. #9
    Senior Member Don Lietzau's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Chugiak, Alaska


    There is some interesting conversation and a video in the General Discussion forum on right now. Might check that out.

  12. #10


    I have always removed them. I recently purchased a pup from another breeder that didn't remove them and I am going to have them removed at the first opportunity. I have had several dogs get them torn off while hunting and training.

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