Dogs have four main toes on their front legs as well as a vestigial one called the dewclaw. Many breeders remove this part from puppies, so the question is this: do dewclaws grow back?
For this post, I will discuss what dewclaws are, their purpose on your dog’s body and whether it’s necessary to have them removed from your pet.
What are dewclaws?
Declaws are the canines’ version of thumbs. But unlike its four main toes, dogs don’t have much dexterity on this extra part.
Take note that a dog’s leg can bend further, allowing the dewclaw to have contact with the ground. This is why dewclaws help stabilize a dog’s footing on slippery surfaces.
Aside from that, dewclaws also help canines climb on trees and elevated surfaces in the wild. It also helps dogs rip and shred the meat of their catch.
Will a removed dewclaw grow back?
Many dog breeders and veterinarians remove the puppies’ appendages long before they are sold to new owners. However, it can still grow back, depending on how it was removed.
To prevent regrowth, removal must include the first joint below the dog’s skin. If not, there would be a small piece that will grow back as your puppy grows bigger.
Many dog breeders handle dewclaw removal on their own. With this, many don’t go beyond skin level, which allows the claw to regrow after some time.
If your dog’s dewclaw grows back, it’s best to just leave it alone. As long as it’s not causing irritations, it shouldn’t warrant additional veterinary attention.
Is it necessary to remove a dog’s dewclaw?
Since dewclaws still serve a purpose, it’s not necessary to remove them. Animal rights groups strongly discourage dewclaw removal since it causes unnecessary pain among puppies.
Nevertheless, dewclaw problems are rare and it’s often the veterinarians’ prerogative to remove it or not.
Another reason to remove dewclaws is if it’s loosely attached to the dog’s leg. Dewclaws are supposed to be attached to the bone, but if it’s only connected to the skin, you can ask the vet to remove it.
Aside from that, dewclaws are removed in some dog breeds to meet show standards. However, there are some breeds like Great Pyrenees whose dewclaws must be retained to qualify for a show ring.
When are dewclaws often removed?
Dewclaws are often removed early once the puppy is 3 to 5 days old while others wait. At this point, the dewclaw is still soft and small, which makes the procedure non-invasive.
However, if the puppy is more than 5 days old, you’d have to wait for it to turn 12 weeks to remove the dewclaw.
However, dewclaw removal remains painful for the puppy. But with proper removal, the pain shouldn’t last for long.
If the dewclaw has to be removed, it must be done at a very young age. This is to prevent any long-term problems with the dog’s walking.
However, in the event that the dewclaw has to be removed due to an injury, the adult canine will be put under anesthesia. Antibiotics and pain medication will also be prescribed to speed up the canine’s recovery.
How to deal with dewclaw injuries
Active dogs tend to be more prone to dewclaw injuries. It can cause serious bleeding, a lot of pain, and a risk of infection if not addressed right away.
Take note that dewclaws can also become overgrown just like the rest of your dog’s toes. It’s important to clip it, so the nail won’t curl and dig into the canine’s leg.
Keeping your dog’s dewclaw short is the key to avoiding injuries. You should also inspect it as it tends to get hidden under the fur, especially for double-coated canines.
Do all dogs have dewclaws?
Most dogs have dewclaws, though some puppies might be born with a defect that will cause the absence of the vestigial part.
Another fun fact about dewclaws is that they only grow on the front legs. Nevertheless, rear dewclaws are pretty common among Briard and Great Pyrenees breeds.
However, if your puppy doesn’t seem to have dewclaws, the breeder probably removed it days after the dogs were born. Legitimate breeders will tell you about this part and even provide a veterinary record of the procedure.
Can older dogs have their dewclaws removed?
Technically, it’s not advisable to remove the dewclaw of an old dog. Still, the exemption is if the dewclaw got injured or severely infected.
But if your dog’s dewclaw is perfectly healthy, there’s no reason to have it removed. Besides, removing the dewclaw of a healthy canine will just cause unnecessary pain and vet fees.
Take note that dewclaw removal should only be done by a licensed professional. This is to prevent the risk of infections and complications.
Is dewclaw removal cruel?
There are divided opinions about dewclaw removal, just like ear cropping in dogs. Many are against it as they deem dewclaw removal as an unnecessary and painful procedure.
However, if your dog needs it for health reasons, dewclaw removal is totally humane. Just make sure that a licensed veterinarian will handle the removal.
Why is my dog licking its dewclaw?
Your dog will lick its dewclaw incessantly if it hurts or has been infected. Take note that licking may progress into biting and chewing, which can injure the canine’s dewclaws.
Take note that licking is your dog’s way of easing the discomfort it has on its dewclaws. So if your pet is fixated on its claw, you should check it for signs of irritation.
Most of the time, you’ll discover that the dewclaw is due for a trim. Abrasions and minor injuries are also possible.
Do dewclaws grow back? If not removed beyond skin level, dewclaws can grow back as your puppy gets older.
Overall, the growth wouldn’t be a problem as long as it’s not causing any infection or irritation to your pet. You can also get your dog checked by the vet if you’re worried about its declaws.