Dew claws, would you keep or remove?
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    Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    I personally do not like dew claws on dogs at all. They snag on clothes and branches when we're outside. The nails of the dew claws are hard to clip and Pop chews on his dew claws all the time.

    My personal preference is to always have them removed. Nia doesn't have any because her front ones were removed and most Paps don't grow back ones.

    Truffles has front dew claws, Pop has both front and back dew claws. They just irritate me.

    I never thought about removing dew claws as a big deal because they are not even attached to the bone and just kind of flop there.

    A breeder I've been chatting with recently does not believe in removing dew claws ever. She says the risk of it getting snagged on something is less than the risk of arthritis that comes from removing dew claws. She said her dogs work and a lot of the ones she's sold do dog sports as well and it's not a problem.

    I'm not sure what to do. I really highly highly prefer dew claws removed. The breeder disagrees with me. Of course, I wouldn't pass up a dog just because of dew claws but I wanted your opinions.

    What do you guys like? Do dew claws bother you guys?

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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    I agree that they are unattractive, difficult to clip and prone to tearing. If the dews are done when the dog is a few days old, it is relatively pain free, however if they are done when the pup is a few months old, it is very painful for the dog. I know of a Border Collie which had this done at about 4 months - the pup was miserable. I do like the way the legs look w/o dews though, nice and streamlined.

    d

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    Senior Member Nargle's Avatar
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    It might depend on the individual dew claws. I've heard of some dogs having very useful dew claws that they use to hold and grasp things (especially with working breeds of dog), and I've heard of dogs having dew claws that just flop around and get in the way. Perhaps Pop's dew claws are of the latter type? And the breeder's dogs have better dew claws? Basil only has front dew claws, but I've never seen him have a problem with them or have them get in the way. You would think that a dog with SA such severe that he struggles to the point of breaking several of his teeth would manage to harm his dew claws if they're so prone to getting in the way, right? However, he's never had a problem. He even had REALLY long claws when I first adopted him, and he's never snagged them or anything.

    I have no opinion on the actual surgery for removing dew claws, except that I don't think anyone should have the freedom to get them removed taken from them.


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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    I like dew claws. My dogs (Penny and Toby anyway, Moose's were removed) use theirs a lot, and have never injured them. I suppose dogs don't really get much use out of their back dews, but front dews can be useful. A lot of working and sport breeders say that dogs need them for running/turning/etc. Plus I just like how they look , as long as they're nice and tight to the leg and not just flopping there.

    ETA: some dewclaws ARE attached to the bone. But not all, obviously.

    I wonder what the breeder means by a risk of arthritis if they're removed? That seems odd.
    Last edited by Willowy; 11-22-2010 at 02:40 PM.
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    Quote Originally Posted by cavaliermom View Post
    I agree that they are unattractive, difficult to clip and prone to tearing. If the dews are done when the dog is a few days old, it is relatively pain free, however if they are done when the pup is a few months old, it is very painful for the dog. I know of a Border Collie which had this done at about 4 months - the pup was miserable. I do like the way the legs look w/o dews though, nice and streamlined.

    d
    I definitely will not go against the breeder's wishes and do it secretly when the pup is in my hands! I was hoping we could agree on something and get them done for the pups between 3-7 days old. She doesn't agree.

    She believes the risk of arthritis is very high and especially for her sports dogs and herding dogs she doesn't want them done.

    The breed I'm talking about is BCs by the way. I don't think they grow rear dew claws that often.

    Are there dogs born without front and rear dew claws?

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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    Arthritis because of dew claw removal? Never ehard of that. I know plenty of breeders who remove dews who have never had that problem.

    But yes, if you do it when the pups are only a couple days old, no problem. But any older, and it is painful. We had Naples' done a couple years ago, because she broke one rather severely (dislocated, the whole bit. Thank GOD we muzzled her when I bandaged it, because she tried to bite me - VERY unlike her!). I could tell she was painful after the surgery, but she did not let it stop her! But it is a true amputation in many cases, so yes, it is painful!
    Sarah, the human, Manero, Henley, and Armani, the Borzoi boys, and Brubeck the Deerhound..
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    Senior Member Laurelin's Avatar
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    I like my dogs to keep their dewclaws. Of ours, 4 have front dews left and one had them removed. I know this is silly but I always feel bad for Nard because he doesn't have them and they use them a LOT. Papillon dewclaws should be very tight, not flopping around anyways. They use them like thumbs to hold onto things and grab things with. Beau's ripped one dewclaw once and it really wasn't that big a deal. Other than him, we've had no injuries to their dewclaws at all. Overall, I think their use far outweighs the risk. If I bred papillons or pretty much any breed with tight dewclaws, I'd leave them.

    Now, floppy rear dewclaws are a different story. Those scare me at how they just dangle there and I would remove those.

    What breeder are you looking at? (PM?) Just curious, I still haven't settled on breeder or rescue. When are you looking at getting a pup?
    Mia CGC - (5 year old papillon)
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    This was the article given to me.

    With A Flick of the Wrist by Chris Zink, DVM, PhD (as seen in Dogs In Canada – September 2003)
    In the hundreds of agility trials I have attended over the years, only rarely have I seen a dog suffer an acute, serious injury. An exception happened in early May this year. I was relaxing at ringside, enjoying one of the rare rain free moments this spring offered, watching a bi-black Sheltie named 'Shadow' negotiate the Open Jumpers course with smooth abandon. Suddenly the dog took a misstep, completely misjudged where he should take off, and crashed into the jump. As he fell, his front legs landed on the fallen jump bars, and he immediately let out an agonized scream. He was still crying as he was carried out of the ring. I ran over to help and examined the dog in a shady area some distance from the ring.
    Shadow's left front leg was extremely painful and he held it stiffly away from his body. In a few minutes he had relaxed enough for me to determine that there were no major bone breaks. In fact, the main problem appeared to be a severe sprain of the carpus (wrist). Later X-rays not only confirmed my finding, but interestingly showed that the dog had preexisting arthritic changes in the carpal joints of both front legs. Thus, although this dog did have an acute agility injury, he had chronic problems, too. In fact, it is possible that the arthritis contributed to his lack of coordination in approaching the jump.
    Once Shadow was on the mend, his human teammate had many questions for me. How common is carpal arthritis in performance dogs? How painful is carpal arthritis and what can be done to relieve the pain? Will Shadow still be able to play agility, obedience and other fun doggie games? Since carpal arthritis is quite common, I thought I would share the answers in this column.
    In the last several years, while doing sports-medicine consultations for performance dogs across Canada and the United States, I have seen many canine athletes with carpal arthritis. Interestingly, this condition is much more common in dogs that have had their front dewclaws removed. To understand why, it is helpful to understand the structure of the carpus. This joint consists of seven bones that fit together like fieldstones that are used to build the walls of a house
    The carpus joins to the radia and ulnar bones (equivalent to our lower arm), and to the metacarpal bones (equivalent to our hand). Each bone of the carpus has a convex or concave side that matches a curve on the adjacent bone. Unlike the bones of the elbow, for example.
    The elbow bones have ridges that slide into interlocking grooves the bones of the carpus do not have ridges that slide into interlocking grooves on the adjacent bone. The relatively loose fit of the carpal bones is supported by ligaments that join each of the carpal bones to the adjacent bones.
    With so many carpal bones that don't tightly interlock with the adjacent bones, the ligaments of this joint can be easily stretched and even torn when torque (twisting) is applied to the leg. The dewclaws have the important function of reducing the torque that is applied to the front legs, especially when dogs are turning at a canter (the main gait used in agility).
    In the canter, there is a moment during each stride when the dog's accessory carpal pad (on the back of the carpus) of the lead front leg touches the ground and the rear legs and other front leg swing forward to prepare for the next stride. At this point, the dewclaw is in contact with the ground and if the dog turns, the dewclaw can dig in for extra traction to prevent unnecessary torque on the front leg. Without the gripping action of the dog's 'thumbs’ there is more stress on the ligaments of the carpus. This may cause the ligaments to stretch and tear over time, resulting in joint laxity and ultimately, arthritis.
    There are many more options for treating dogs with arthritis today than there were just a few years ago. Here are some of them.
    1) Weight reduction. The more weight your dog carries around, the more stress there will be on the joints. This is a particular problem in dogs with carpal arthritis, because the front legs bear 65 per cent of the dog's weight.
    2) Massage. This is an excellent way to prevent excess scar tissue from forming and to keep your dog's joints flexible. Make an appointment with a canine massage therapist and learn how to do massage that is targeted to your dog's carpi. You can do the massage while you watch television in the evenings.
    Afterward, gently flex and extend your dog's front legs two to three times to help promote flexibility.
    3) Acupuncture. Acupuncture is often very helpful in relieving joint pain and slowing the progression of arthritis.
    4) Chiropractic adjustments. Many dogs with painful joints will benefit from regular chiropractic adjustments because they are using their muscles unevenly to avoid pain on one side or the other.
    5) Joint-protective nutraceuticals. There are many products on the market, and all are not created equal, so be sure to buy a product from a reputable company. For best results use a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and cetylmyristolate (CM).
    6) Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food and supplements. Feed your dog natural antioxidant foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits that contain vitamin C. Supplement his diet with vitamins E and
    B and an appropriate combination of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
    7) Anti-inflammatory drugs. Talk to your veterinarian about whether' your dog should be taking antiinflammatory drugs and if so, whether he should take them only when he is in pain or on a regular basis. Because of common side effects such as gastric ulcers, I usually suggest that anti-inflammatory drugs be used only intermittently when the dog is having a painful bout. There may come a-time however, when regular doses of anti-inflammatory drugs may be necessary to give your dog the quality of life he deserves.
    8) Moderate ongoing exercise. Dogs with arthritis need enough exercise to keep their muscles strong so that they support the joints, but not so much that it causes excessive wear and tear on the joints and the ligaments that support them.
    Moderation is the key. Dogs should get a moderate amount of balanced exercise each day, and avoid being weekend warriors. Avoid high-impact exercise as much as possible. For example, don't use stairs as a way to exercise your dog because of the impact on descending, and don't let him run over rough, uneven ground.
    Have your dog jump full height only about 10 per cent of the time during training, and only on surfaces that are smooth and appropriately cushioning, such as thick grass or properly prepared dirt (arena) surfaces. Swimming is a great exercise for arthritic dogs.
    Even if your dog doesn't currently suffer from arthritis, keep this article for later. If you should be lucky enough to have your canine companion in his senior years, these tips may make it possible for him to keep running and playing like a youngster.

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    Senior Member Nargle's Avatar
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willowy View Post
    ETA: some dewclaws ARE attached to the bone. But not all, obviously.
    I just felt Basil's dew claws, and I think they are attached to the bone. It feels almost as if there is a small metacarpal bone attaching it to his wrist. Interesting! I wonder if dogs that have bones attaching their dew claws tend to have better luck keeping their dew claws from being injured?


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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    I don't think there are any dogs ever born without front dewclaws. I've never heard of it anyway.

    I do think that it's mostly BC breeders who like to keep dews for sports/working. I've heard they help with tight cornering. Which working/sport BCs do a lot of!

    ETA: just saw the article. That makes sense. I couldn't understand how just removing the dews would cause arthritis, but for working/sports dogs doing a lot of tight turns, I can see how the dewclaws would add stability, and loss of that stability could cause arthritis.
    Last edited by Willowy; 11-22-2010 at 02:52 PM.
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    We have a pyrenees and they have double dew claws and they actually use theirs. It is actually against breed standard to show a pyr without dew claws. Most breed standards state if a certain breed is supposed to have dew claws or not.



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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    I can't tell a difference between maneuverability between my non dewclawed dog and the others. I DO notice though that he seems to have a harder time grabbing ahold of bully sticks and the like. The others hook their dewclaws around them and he has to balance it between his paws.

    all my dog's dews are attached to the bone and none dangle. I don't know how Beau ripped his but it wasn't a big deal. He's very hyperactive so he was probably doing something stupid lol. It bled a lot but other than that was not a problem. He's hurt himself much worse before.

    Funnily enough none of my shelties had dewclaws (they were all removed). They're another breed you'd think would keep them since they're a big sports breed.
    Mia CGC - (5 year old papillon)
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nargle View Post
    I wonder if dogs that have bones attaching their dew claws tend to have better luck keeping their dew claws from being injured?
    Probably! I can imagine that if the dewclaws were just flopping around, they could easily get snagged on something.
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    My friend's beagle has dews on all four feet that are not attached. They're awful. they flop when she runs and walks and they stick out really far from her legs. I am always concerned they'll get ripped completely off. If my dog had those, I would have them removed when they went under for a spay or something.
    Mia CGC - (5 year old papillon)
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    Calvin is our first dog with dew claws. All of our other dogs have been bred for flushing birds in the field, so dew claws have been removed to avoid any tearing accidents running through rough brush. I was taken aback at first by Calvin having them, but I have found them to be no trouble at all. They are tight to his front paws, easy to clip and they never bother him. When I get another pap (and I will because I am now addicted to these little dogs!), I'll be fine with dew claws.

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    Senior Member Nargle's Avatar
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
    My friend's beagle has dews on all four feet that are not attached. They're awful. they flop when she runs and walks and they stick out really far from her legs. I am always concerned they'll get ripped completely off. If my dog had those, I would have them removed when they went under for a spay or something.
    Huh! That's very interesting. I don't believe I have payed very much attention to other peoples' dogs, because I can't recall ever meeting a dog with dew claws like that. Basil's dew claws aren't like that at all. Sometimes barely see Basil's dew claws under his fur, as they're very streamlined and tight against his legs. This is a very informative thread

    I wonder if breeds with floppy, non-attached dew claws have a higher chance of getting arthritis or maybe it depends more on the dog's behavior? I'd imagine a herder would need to perform more tight/fast turns than a retriever.


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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    "Interestingly, this condition is much more common in dogs that have had their front dewclaws removed."
    I have a huge problem with drawing conclusions of cause and effect based on anecdotal evidence. I think it's an interesting idea that makes intuitive sense, but I think it needs to be looked at more rigorously.

    Having said that, I don't like the floppy rear dewclaws because I see them injured quite commonly with normal daily activities. Tight dewclaws IME don't really generally cause problems except in very specific circumstances, such as hunting dogs and I don't feel a need to remove front dewclaws or tight rear dewclaws.

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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    Icesis has her dews, Nea does not.

    Icesis' dewclaws are hard to trim, because they curl over right out of the toe, which makes it hard to safely trim them. I'd glad Nea doesn't have hers.

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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nargle View Post
    Huh! That's very interesting. I don't believe I have payed very much attention to other peoples' dogs, because I can't recall ever meeting a dog with dew claws like that. Basil's dew claws aren't like that at all. Sometimes barely see Basil's dew claws under his fur, as they're very streamlined and tight against his legs. This is a very informative thread

    I wonder if breeds with floppy, non-attached dew claws have a higher chance of getting arthritis or maybe it depends more on the dog's behavior? I'd imagine a herder would need to perform more tight/fast turns than a retriever.
    This dog's were hard to miss. It was honestly one of the first things I thought when I saw her the first time.

    They looked like these:



    and they flopped every time she moved.

    My dogs' dews are so tight you can't see them at all.
    Mia CGC - (5 year old papillon)
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    Re: Dew claws, would you keep or remove?

    All 4 of Pop's dew claws just dangle there floppily it's so gross. When he chews on his front ones they move around too @___@

    I think Truffles' front ones are attached, I'm not sure though, I don't remember that clearly.

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