Purpose, Treatment, Advantages & Disadvantages of Dog’s Dewclaws

Dog's Dewclaws

Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, once stated that evolution happens by natural selection.

It occurs for all the species irrespective of size. From the smallest organism to the largest organism, everything goes through the process of evolution.

So, what about a humans’ best friend and companion, the dog?

Well, dogs too can have a by-product of evolution, known as dewclaws or wolf claw. If you have a pet dog, you can count each of the nails on the front foot and rearfoot; there would be five and four nails, respectively.

If you discover more than those then your dog has dewclaws. At times there may be more than one of them. This is nothing to be concerned about, however, it is good to be informed about dewclaws in case your dog experiences any health issues related to it.

Let’s dive deeper into understanding the purpose, treatment, advantages & disadvantages of Dog’s Dewclaws and how British people can trust the best procedures.

What is the Purpose of Dogs’ Dewclaws?

What is the Purpose of Dogs’ DewclawsThe big question is what are dog dewclaws for?

Dewclaws can be thought of as one of the essential and important nails needed in a dog’s world! Why? This is because it takes the position of the thumb or big toe. While comparing our skeletal structure with theirs, our thumb and their dewclaw would be in the same position. The same goes for our big toe and the dewclaw in their hindfoot.

Rear and double dewclaws are the only ones that are attached to the skin and are found to be more mobile. The front one would mostly be attached to the bone.

As stated above, this dewclaw plays an important role in a dog’s life. For instance, when in motion, the front feet bend to a point where these claws touch the ground, thus helping the dog to get a firmer grip. This is very useful when they are running on slippery surfaces or taking turns, as it helps them gain the perfect friction and stabilizes their joint’s bones.

The other purpose would be to climb on steep surfaces, for gripping different objects for chewing or to climb out from watery, slippery surfaces. These apply to the dewclaws that are attached to the bone, as the use of the one that is attached to the skin is still being studied.

Is it necessary to remove Dogs’ Dewclaw?

Is it necessary to remove Dogs’ DewclawSince the front dewclaws are useful in many ways, they should not be removed until and unless they cause discomfort or turn out to be infected or contain a cancerous tumor. Thus, only in such situations, the removal of these front dewclaws is suggested.

Other than this, most veterinarians would remove loosely attached double or rear dewclaws to not cause any injuries. But the fact that such injuries happen very rarely questions the value of such surgeries, and whether the risk undertaken is really justified. The surgery is done only when dogs are anesthetized.

The breeds of dogs that perform in circuses or shows have their dewclaws removed, and only for aesthetic purposes, under the observation of a veterinarian. This is only done when a puppy is younger than 5 days.

How to treat Dewclaw Injuries?

How to treat Dewclaw InjuriesEven though such injuries rarely occur, there are chances of them happening. All the nail injuries are always prone to infection and are painful. Considering all the places dogs go, it is recommended to remove those nails that are partially pulled off, broken, split, infected, or ingrown.

It is always better to get advice from your trusted veterinarian. In case things get quite complicated and painful for your dog, the vet might suggest antibiotics and pain relievers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Removing the Dewclaw

Advantages and Disadvantages of Removing the DewclawThere are many who would suggest that you should remove dewclaws as it reduces pain and will prevent injuries. In a way, this is correct, because if the dewclaw catches onto things and gets torn, this could lead to injuries that can cause pain and infection to the dog.

The fact that most people don’t tend to trim these nails may cause more problems for both the owner and dog.

With this fact in mind, these dewclaws grow close to the skin, thus the chances of them getting infected are also increased. They cannot be easily noticed like other injuries, as they are not so prominent. Consequently, such infections won’t be noticed until they get worse or start spreading.

Therefore, most breeders feel it is safer to remove the dewclaws.

But the fact that dewclaws are proven to be useful is something that should be in the mind of all dog owners. The dewclaws are attached to the tendons, so once you remove the dewclaw, there will be muscles that won’t be used by your dog. This would cause an overall imbalance, hence causing the dog to become less active and possibly obese.

Final Thoughts

Dog’s dewclaws are a natural phenomenon that is not problematic until an incident with them involved occurs. They are therefore no real reason for concern to dog owners and should not be treated unless a veterinarian recommends an intervention, that should be discussed in detail beforehand to find the best solution for the dog.

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Manuela WillboldLondon Blogger
Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Business Blogs in the United Kingdom | Fascinated to Write Blogs in News & Education | I have completed a journalism summer course at the London School of Journalism and manage various blogs.