Dewclaw Removal Surgery For Dogs

Facts About Dog Dew Claw You Should Know

Canine Dewclaw Removal Surgery, Dew Claw Removal Age, Dewclaw Surgical Procedure, Dewclaw Removal Cost, Dewclaw Removal Complications, Dewclaw Healing Time and Dewclaw Removal Home Aftercare have been discussed in this article.


If you closely look at your dog's feet, you would notice that most dogs have five nails on each front feet and four on their rear feet. Have you ever noticed that extra nail on the upper inner side of a dog's foot? I mean that extra thumb like paw? That is actually the Dewclaw.

Dog Dewclaw Removal Surgery
Dog Dewclaw Pictured

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Some dogs have single or double dewclaws and even on their rear feet. For most dogs, the dewclaw (appendage) serves no purpose, based on this reason most vet would advise owners to get it removed shortly after birth.

Most breeders are as fast as getting the dewclaw removal surgery done in the first days of a dog's life. So if your dog doesn't have dewclaws, they might have been removed via surgery, before you adopted your pet.

So, in a more casual definition canine dewclaws could be referred to as big toes or the thumbs, similar to that of the humans.

Purpose Of Dog Dewclaws Includes

  • Gripping and bracing things: Paws alone aren't that great for gripping items, especially round or uneven objects. So if your pet is trying to control a bone or toy, or other objects, he uses the dewclaw spreading it out from the foot get it on to the object, dig in and hold it.
  • Climbing: The dewclaws help the dog's ability to climb a tree or fence freely without falling off.
  • Dewclaws Acts As Stabilizers: Dogs can easily make a sharp turn with the help of dewclaws. High speed will always come with torque or twisting. When your pet runs fast, his dewclaws helps him to reduce the amount of twisting action that is associated with speed.
  • The dewclaw will act as a stabilizer, reducing the workload on the other ligaments in the dog's wrist, this is useful for dogs who do agility training.

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Dog Dewclaw Removal Surgery (Discussed)

Dewclaw Removal Surgery is a procedure performed by Vets to amputate or remove the claw situated high on the dog's front or back leg surgically using an anesthetic medium in older dogs.

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Breeders frequently removed dewclaws when dogs are very much younger, between two to five days of age in line with breed standards. At this early age, there is no need for anesthetic, but for adult dogs, it is advisable to avoid grief and pains during the procedure.

Reasons For Removal Of Dewclaws In Dogs

Dewclaw removal is often done to avoid painful injury in the long run as the pup grows. The risk of dewclaw disorder or injury may lead to dewclaw removal.

It is also done for cosmetic reasons, the removal is performed to improve the appearance of the pup's feet, it gives the leg a smoother look.

Infected or diseased dewclaws may be treated with surgical removal or amputation. If your dog's dewclaw is cancerous the solution your vet would recommend is definitely removal.

Dewclaws mostly get in the way of things— they get caught on objects, snag on carpets, toys or furniture, and so sometimes leading to serious injuries. Having the dewclaws removed could prevent future accidents, like having your dog pet accidentally rip a dewclaw off, causing severe pain, injuries, and possible secondary infection.

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Cost Of Dog Dewclaw Removal Surgery

The Price for Dog Nail Removal Surgery, such as Dewclaw removal depends on so many factors and also the veterinarian who will be performing the procedure.

Most vets may charge clinical examination and the dewclaw removal fee together. Depending on the location and practice the cost for the procedure may go around $30,$40 and up to $70 or even more, considering the following factors.

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_Dog Age (Is your dog a day older, puppy or an adult dog?)
_Number of Dewclaws To Be Removed (Is your dog having multiple dewclaws)
_Muscular/Bonny Attachment (How much muscle/bone is attached to the claw, this determines the complexity of the procedure) can the removal be done while your pup is undergoing other surgery.

The most expensive aspect of the dewclaw surgical removal procedure is the general anesthetic used, this is why the procedure is combined with other surgery after proper examination on your pup.

Meaning you will spend more if you are dealing with an adult dog compared to puppies because you have to pay for the anesthetic to make the procedure smooth and painless.

However, it will save you the cost if you have the procedure done while the dog is just a few days old and under general anesthesia for adult dogs who are undergoing other surgery.

The cost of dewclaw removal surgery can be affected by the number of dewclaws on your dog you intend to remove. Another thing that affects the cost is the complexity of the surgery, which is more complex in adult dogs than puppies because the bones of a puppy are softer and muscle tissues have not developed.

Steps In Dog Dewclaw Removal Surgery

The following are the steps involved in the surgical removal of dog dewclaws.

Apply Dewclaw Removal Anesthesia

A general anesthetic is applied for all adult dogs undergoing surgical dewclaw removal procedure. The vet carrying the procedure will give an initial dose of pre-anesthetic sedative which should keep the pup calm and then followed by an IV (intravenous) anesthetic, while he places a breathing tube down your pet's throat.

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Dog Dewclaw Removal Surgery
Anesthetic Administration
Vets Inserting A Breathing Tube Down The Dog's Throat.
To help the dog inhale oxygen and anesthetic in gas form keeping it unconscious throughout the surgery.

Enabling the pup through the breathing tube to inhale oxygen and anesthetic in gas form keeping it unconscious throughout the surgery.

A general anesthetic is not administered for puppies under the age of five years, however, sedation or local anesthesia is applied, this will act until the procedure is concluded.

Disinfect The Dewclaw Skin

Wash and disinfect the surrounding skin of the dewclaw using surgical soap (chlorhexidine) to prevent any form of infection.

Chlorhexidine Disinfectant Use For Surgical Skin Preparation
Chlorhexidine Disinfectant, Excellent For Surgical Skin Preparation

Doing so you are reducing the number of germs on dog's dewclaw skin and decreasing the risks of a surgical site infection generally associated with surgery.

Start Dewclaw Surgical Cutting

Dewclaw Surgical Cutting
Vet Surgically Cutting Off The Dewclaw

After disinfecting the dewclaw area, the surgeon will use surgical scissors, to quickly cut the skin, muscle, and bone, leading to the removal of the entire claw (toe).

Dewclaw Stitching

Immediately the dewclaw is cut off, the vet stitches the wound using dissolving or non-dissolving sutures. For young puppies, a surgical adhesive may be preferable.

Dewclaw stitches after surgery
Dewclaw stitches after surgery


The wound should be bandaged until healing is noted. Remember to keep a close watch on your pup's claw for possible signs of secondary infection and report to the vet. Prevent your dog from licking and chewing on the wounded spot, and if such is noticed, getting your dog a collar may be helpful.

How Long Should Dewclaw Removal Surgery Last?

Uncomplicated Dog dewclaw removal surgery should last just between 15-30 minutes. You are sure to have your return home within 2-3 hours after the surgical amputation, which is after the anesthetic has expired.

Dewclaw Removal Aftercare At Home?

The wound must be examined daily for possible signs of secondary infection. Look out for puffiness, discharges, redness, smelly odor or obvious distress and tenderness to the dog and then report back to your vet for a solution.

The vet would inform you to come back within 5 to 7 days to remove non-dissolving sutures. But if he used dissolving to stitch the cut, they should be absorbed and need not be removed.

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