Should dogs have dewclaws removed? Here’s What to Expect

Prevent Damage To Leg Ligaments

If a dog is without dewclaws, there’s a greater possibility for his carpal ligaments to stretch and tear. Since there is no tension on the muscle, it is loose. This causes greater stress through the dog’s foot, elbow, shoulder and spine as it tries to offset the loss of the dewclaw. That greater stress leads to arthritis.

Stabilize The Leg While Running

If you watch a dog running, especially at high speed, their front feet will bend enough to put the dewclaws in contact with the ground. Dewclaws stabilize the dog’s legs to minimize twisting. So when running at high speed, making a sharp turn or running on a slippery surface, the dewclaws provide needed traction.

Dogs in agility are good examples of dogs who regularly use their dewclaws. Each time the foot lands on the ground, especially when a dog is at a full gallop, the dewclaw is in touch with the ground. When the dog turns, the dewclaw digs into the ground to support the lower leg and prevent torque.

Removing front dewclaws by choice can actually impact your dog’s health and future mobility. It’s known that physically active dogs with the front dewclaws removed are prone to arthritis at the carpal joint. That’s your dog’s wrist joint. When this happens it can lead to a dog’s early retirement from performance events or a working career.

Even if your dog’s not an athlete, dewclaw removal can lead to arthritis in the carpal joint, limiting your dog’s mobility as he ages.

Watch your dog the next time you give him a bone or a chew toy. He’ll wrap his paws around it and the dewclaws help hold the bone in place, like thumbs. In the wild, a wolf uses dewclaws to hold tight to his prey. Surviving without them would be like asking you to open a doorknob without a thumb!

When the dewclaw is removed from the tendon, the tendon and its muscle are not attached to anything. There’s no tension on it so the muscle atrophies. That means the muscle wastes away and weakens your dog’s leg.

7 Reasons Your Dog Needs His Dewclaws

It’s only after your dog is without his dewclaws that you can see how important they are. And how they affect his long-term health and mobility. Here’s why your dog needs his dewclaws.

Dew or Don’t? Considerations for Removing Dew Claws