As I sit here next my dog Tina who now wears the cone of shame I’m reminded of the debate about dewclaw removal. For many years I’ve seen it somewhat inhumane to remove them. Now, I’m a little more open to the idea.
For goldens I do see them use them all the time. They may not be as functionally useful as the human thumb, but they still come in handy. I’ve seen my goldens and malamutes use them to hold toys, and yes even help tear toys to pieces, help climb and scale rocks, and the occasional itch. I’m sure the dewclaws are some evolutionary result to help tear their meat in the wild.
When I moved out on my own the first thing I wanted to do was get a dog. All of my dogs have always had their dewclaws and never had a problem. Until now. This past week, while on vacation, my dogs were staying with family. When I brought Tina home we realized she was caressing her foot. Her dewclaw had been ripped severely. We hoped that the nail would fall off after a couple days, but it only got infected. Our options with the vet were to remove the nail under surgery, or the dewclaw in its entirety. We opted to remove both entirely in hopes that it wouldn’t happen again.
I know many breeders who choose to remove the dewclaws and many that choose to leave them intact. I understand reasoning for both ways. I do know some people opt to have them removed at the time they get the dog fixed. At this point in time I still choose to leave them on puppies as problems that may arise are not very often. My opinions may still change on this matter in the future. Let me know what you think and why you believe that way.
UPDATE: Tina did fairly well with her cone of shame, until day 7. She decided to rip her cone off during the night. Once she took her cone off, she removed her bandages and ripped the stitches out on one of her feet. I re-rapped it and took her to the vet. He told me to let it air dry and put a spray on it. It is now doing well at day 14. A strange occurrence though is that I’ve seen Alice biting her dewclaws now. She keeps licking them as well. They are always wet. I believe she knows something has happened to Tina’s, and must feel that something is wrong. I’ve seen this happen before with my dad’s cats. Two were born with 7 toes. For years I saw those two attempt to bite those two extra toes off to be like the rest. Even dogs and cats want to fit in.