January 15, 2010 "Ask Seth"
My puppy is being neutered. My vet has recommended dewclawing. Is this necessary?
My puppy is going to be neutered next week and my vet wants to take his rear dewclaws off at the same time. They do appear to just be hanging there and I am not sure if I should do it. What do you think? Why only the rear dewclaws? Alice, NY
Most vets recommend removing dewclaws because they can catch on objects while playing or running and be torn off, causing injury to your dog. This does happen and I have seen it many times. The reason your vet is recommending this now is because you dog will already be under anesthesia and the dewclaws can be removed relatively easily. Some breeders remove dewclaws at a very young age, while others do not. Dewclaws that are firmly adhered to the leg, with regular nail-trimming, will never become problematic. In my opinion, dewclaws that are loose and floppy (like you have described) should be removed during the neuter procedure.
The rear claws are more commonly the floppy type and the back legs are the power legs. The front legs are more directional and those dewclaws are usually better adhered to the leg. I have seen dogs get their rear dew claws ripped off by tree roots, sticks, fences, door jams and even leashes during walks. To prevent this, I would recommend dewclawing.
Seth Mayersohn, CVT