What are Dewclaws and Why are They Removed?
Dewclaws are the small, toe-like appendages on the inner side of a dog’s front legs and sometimes on the hind legs as well. Dewclaws are not essential to a dog’s health, but they can sometimes be a risk for injury or infection. Many breeders and veterinarians choose to remove them when the dog is a puppy to prevent any potential problems.
Dewclaws are often removed for cosmetic reasons or to prevent the dog from injuring themself. They can also be a hazard if the dog’s dewclaws get caught on something, causing them pain and discomfort. They can also get snagged on furniture or other objects and even break, which can cause pain and infection.
The procedure to remove dewclaws is relatively simple, and it is usually done when the dog is between three and five days old. Veterinarians can use local anesthesia to minimize any pain, and the procedure takes only a few minutes. Breeders argue that it is easier to remove them when the puppy is young as it is less painful and less risky compared to when the dog is older.
Breeds That Typically Have Dewclaws Removed
Many breeds of dogs have dewclaws removed when they are young. Some breeds, such as the Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherds, and Saint Bernards, often have double dewclaws on their hind legs, which are usually removed as well. Other breeds, such as Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, and Rottweilers, typically have their dewclaws removed.
Some breeders may also choose to remove dewclaws from mixed breed puppies, especially if they can identify a breed that typically has dewclaws removed. Removing dewclaws is not limited to specific breeds, and it is mostly dependent on the breeder and veterinarian’s preferences.
Dewclawless Dog Breeds: A List and Description
Some breeds of dogs are born without dewclaws, and these breeds are often referred to as dewclawless dog breeds. These breeds include the Australian Shepherd, Australian Cattle Dog, and Beauceron. Other breeds that do not have dewclaws include the Boxer, Newfoundland, Poodle, and Pomeranian.
Dewclawless breeds, such as the Australian Cattle Dog and Beauceron, have evolved over time, and their dewclaws have become a vestigial trait. These breeds’ ancestors were bred for herding and hunting, and their dewclaws were likely removed naturally through evolution.
Pros and Cons of Dewclaw Removal
Removing dewclaws has its advantages and disadvantages. The primary benefit of removing dewclaws is to prevent any potential injury or infection. Dewclaws can easily get caught on furniture, carpets, and other objects, causing pain and discomfort to the dog. Removing dewclaws can also prevent the dog from injuring themself while playing or running.
The downside to removing dewclaws is that it can be painful for the puppy. Although local anesthesia is used, the procedure can still cause discomfort and pain. Additionally, some people argue that removing dewclaws is unnecessary and can be seen as a cruel practice.
Another disadvantage of removing dewclaws is that it can alter the dog’s natural gait and balance. Dewclaws are not only useful for gripping and holding objects but also for helping the dog maintain balance when turning or running.
Caring for Dewclawless Paws: Tips and Tricks
If you have a dewclawless dog, it is important to take proper care of their paws. Although they do not have dewclaws, they still need to be trimmed regularly, just like any other dog. Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed can prevent them from getting too long and causing discomfort.
It is also essential to check your dog’s paws regularly for any signs of infection or injury. Look for any redness or swelling, and check for any cuts or abrasions. If you notice any signs of infection, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.
Finally, make sure your dog’s paws are clean and dry. After walks or outdoor play, wipe your dog’s paws with a damp towel to remove any dirt or debris. Keeping your dog’s paws clean and dry can prevent any potential infections.
Dewclaws and the Ethics of Dog Breeding
Dewclaw removal is a controversial topic in the dog breeding community, and there are varying opinions on whether it is ethical or not. Some breeders argue that removing dewclaws is necessary to prevent any potential injury or infection, while others believe that it is a cruel and unnecessary practice.
Some animal welfare organizations, such as the Humane Society and the American Kennel Club, have come out against dewclaw removal. They argue that removing dewclaws is a painful and unnecessary procedure that can cause long-term harm to the dog.
It is ultimately up to the breeder and veterinarian to decide whether to remove dewclaws, but it is essential to consider the ethical implications of the decision. If you are considering purchasing a puppy, it is important to research the breeder and their practices to ensure that they are ethical and follow animal welfare guidelines.
In conclusion, dewclaw removal is a common practice in many breeds of dogs, but it is essential to consider the advantages and disadvantages before making a decision. If you have a dewclawless dog, it is crucial to take proper care of their paws, and if you are considering purchasing a puppy, make sure to research the breeder and their practices.