Why We Remove Our Puppies’ Dewclaws

Dewclawing of puppies is still legal in Australia. The Australian Veterinary Association doesn’t support the practice but it is still allowed. There is no clear proof to support either viewpoint as yet.  So currently it is still a matter of personal opinion.

The argument not to remove dewclaws goes like this:

In breeds where the dewclaws are well developed they may have a role to play in supporting the foot during high speed pivot maneuvers.  Picture a Border Collie rounding up sheep for example.  In such breeds there is an association between dewclaw removal and the development of arthritis in the foot.

Here’s why we still remove them from our Miniature Schnauzer puppies.

dewckaw-injury-and removal

Dewclaw injury is common and painful

Most Miniature Schnauzers have no dewclaws on their back legs at all, and usually non-functional, poorly developed ones on their front legs.  So by simple anatomical evidence, dewclaws don’t appear to have much of a role towards joint stabilisation in our breed.

We remove them to save the pain of all too common injury. Dewclaws often get caught in timber decking and then ripped out – very very painful injury. The claws on them tend to overgrow and also get caught on stuff. And they are prone to grooming accidents and injuries too.  Until better evidence comes in to the contrary, we will continue to do so.

The process of removing the dewclaws of a puppy

This is done when they are between 3 and 5 days of age.  At that age the dewclaws are very small, like tiny thumbs.  We just snip them off with surgical scissors.  The wound left over is smaller than a match head and bleeding is minimal.  Many puppies don’t even cry during the procedure.  We dab on some antiseptic powder and put the puppy straight back with its mum.  Its starts suckling and seems to forget all about it.

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