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
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.
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
- 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
- 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
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!