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Dew Claws


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Liability Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, and do not wish for you to use this information to diagnose a problem. Instead, it is offered as "food for thought" for responsible and educated dog owners.

Photo Wanted: If you have a photo to share (you must own the photo, so we are not breaking copyright rules) that we may put on this page to educate people, please e-mail us. We would love a photo with an injury caused by a dew claw.

Dew Claws

Dew Claw

It is our opinion that all good beagle breeders should have their puppies' dew claws removed when the puppies are very young. At this time, the dew claw is only held on by a thin flap of skin, and it does not have a bone attachment. While some beagle breeders remove puppy dew claws themselves, we take our puppies to our veterinarian for the removal.

As a potential buyer, this is a question we feel you should ask anyone that you are considering buying a puppy from. Removal of the claws for young puppies is a simple procedure that causes very little discomfort (because it is just held on by a thin piece of skin). Some puppies don't even make a noise, and a couple seconds after the removal, they act as though they don't feel a thing. Some puppies don't even wake up when it is snipped off!

Removal of dew claws later, when puppies are larger or even full grown, is a MUCH more painful procedure. The best time to remove dew claws is when puppies are just a few days old.

What Are Dew Claws?

Dew claws are thumb-like claws located on the inside of the leg above the foot. In beagles, they are often only present on the front legs, although some bloodlines of beagles do have them on all four legs. The dew claws on the back legs are generally smaller and more prone to injury than the ones on the front legs.

In some breeds of dogs in certain countries and registry associations, dew claws are required to remain present in order for the dog to be shown or to compete in performance classes. For beagles in the United States, dew claws are not advantageous for the dog to have, and in fact can cause injury to the dog if left intact.

When puppies are very young, the dew claws are not attached to the leg by bone, so are just held on by skin. Dew claws do not touch the ground when puppies/dogs stand or walk, but can touch the ground on some dogs when they run.

What Are the Advantages of Removing Dew Claws?

  • First Veterinary Visit. It gives the veterinarian an opportunity to see each puppy shortly after birth.
  • Injury Prevention from Over Growth. Since dew claws don't touch the ground, they don't wear off. Therefore, the claw may grow to become very long, and can curl around and injure the leg if not removed.
  • Injury Prevention from the Environment. Removing dew claws also prevents the claw from becoming caught in carpet or grass/weeds and tearing, causing a painful injury that might require veterinary care...and cost to the owner...down the road.

Why Do Some Beagle Breeders Not Remove Dew Claws?

  • To save money. Some people do not wish to add to the cost of raising puppies with this veterinary visit.
  • They have not witnessed injury caused by dew claws. If they haven't seen an injury, they think it can never happen. Or, possibly they have not educated themselves and so don't even know injuries are sometimes caused by dew claws not being removed. This can be a problem with backyard breeders.

With that said, please be reminded that we DO have our puppies' dew claws removed. We feel it is well worth the few dollars it takes for the prevention of later injury and infection this simple procedure provides.

In other words, we pay NOW so you and your dog don't pay LATER.

If you buy a puppy that has not had its dew claws removed, be aware that you might have a veterinary bill in the future to treat an injury. In addition, consider the fact that if the breeder of that puppy cut corners to save money by leaving the dew claws, he/she may have cut other corners as well and that your puppy may be missing important health-care procedures that the puppy should have received!




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Last Updated
05/09/2011 08:37 AM -0500

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Cedar Ridge Beagles
c/o Toni Perdew
(the best method to reach me is via e-mail)
Bedford, Iowa
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