Belle had 2 dew claws when I first got her. I didn’t think much about it and they had never been a problem. My vet had mentioned that it would be a good idea to get them removed as they can get caught on things and torn, but I always try to refrain from elective surgery, when possible.
She had them for almost 5 years (since the time I got her, I’m still not sure how old she is) without any problems.
Unfortunately, that did not last. About two years ago, I had to have surgery. My doctor warned me that after the surgery, I wouldn’t be able to bend over or pick up heavy things for quite a while. I was concerned about not being able to take care of Belle at least for the first couple of weeks, so I asked some good friends to keep her for me.
They were very kind and kept her for about a week and a half. Then I decided that I would like to get her back, because I missed her company!
When Belle stays with them, she is often outdoors, playing with their dog. They get along very well and have a great time wrestling and chasing one another. Both dogs are afraid of thunder though, and when a storm creeps up on them, they go under the porch to hide.
There had been several storms that week, and at one point, Belle must have rushed under the porch and caught one of her dew claws on something. When we picked her up to bring her home, she was licking and licking on her foot, but I couldn’t tell why. When we got home, I took a closer look and discovered that one of her dew claws was partially ripped out. Ouch!
I immediately called my vet and made an appointment for surgery. They removed all of her dew claws at once, so it wouldn’t happen again. The worst part is, she wouldn’t leave her stitches alone, so I had to put one of those plastic cones on her head. What a mess! She would knock in to things in the house, trying to get it off, and was generally very unhappy about it. I even managed to pop out one of my stitches trying to pick her up to move her when she got stuck in a tight spot with the collar. We were both a mess!
If your dog has a dew claw, there is a lot of information out there about dew claw removal. Some people think it’s a good idea, some don’t. I think this is a decision that is more based on the dog and his/her condition and activity level and a discussion with your veterinarian. I think I made the right choice with Belle initially. But when the dew claw had to be removed, I didn’t hesitate.