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Dew Claws Removed?

by K Mager

We are by no means experts on animals, so this question might sound stupid. In the past, we always purchased our dogs in the United States and we seem to think that every puppy we have ever had, had the dew claws removed. We purchased our maltese here in Mexico and she has dew claws (sharp little claws higher on the leg with small pads, front and back). Are these supposed to be removed? Our puppy is three months old. Thank you.


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

K Mager, I am by no means an expect, but I prefer to remove the Dew Claws. KoKo had hers removed before we purchased her. However, Shayna had only front dew claws and my Vet recommended removing them when we had her spay at 6 months. It seems if the breeder does it just after birth it is not a big thing and only costs $3.00 to 6.00. When you wait to have them done it is surgery and it costs us $30.00 or $35.00 over the spaying. Shayna was really down, they actually cut some of the bone and put a stitch or 2 in. Little Shayna was under the weather for 3 or 4 days, but when she came back to her self at least we know she could not hang the dew claws up on the furniture and break a leg. I also had a very hard time keeping the nail trimmed, her hair would get in the way of cutting or filling the nail. Hope I have help you decide. Good luck.

If it were my pup, I would have the dew claws removed (and I also am no expert on the subject). I understand that they can get caught and torn and that it can be pretty painful and very bloody. One of my clients recently told me that his dog had a dew claw caught on a rock while the family was out camping and it bled and bled. They had to take her to the vet for an emergency visit and she limped around for quite some time. Hope this helps.
-cathy brown

Every puppy that I have purchased from some of the top maltese breeders have not had their dewclaws removed. For a long time, I preferred having the dewclaws removed soon after birth, but now I don't always have them removed. One reason some breeders do not have the dewclaws removed is because they don't want to take newborn puppies into the vet where they risk being infected by sick animals that come in. Having dewclaws removed really only serves the purpose to make the dog easier to groom, by not having to trim the dewclaws. Because of the white hair that covers the feet, the dewclaws are not visible, like they would be on a short-haired dog. The dewclaws are removed only for aesthethic reasons and ease of grooming. I would not have dewclaws removed when the dog is older because it is very painful when the dog is older.
-Carolyn Dahl

I don't think a Maltese needs to have the declaws removed. They are for the most part an inside dog and aren't running through brush and jaggerz and things to get caught up on like a hunting dog or simalar breeds. Ours is a lap type dog and still has his.

My Vet told me that the breeder should have had the dew claws removed right away before a couple of weeks old. But, since they were not my Vet was able to remove them when he was fixed at 6months of age. I was quite glad to have these removed. My vet said if I did not keep them trimed they could grow into the skin. I had a hard time finding these dew claws at first. I would strongly say next time your dog has to go for surgery to have them taken care of.
-Joanne Mlatese

My little bundle of joy still has her dew claws. If I had it to do over I would have the dew claws removed as a puppy. Not because It's cosmetically appealing, but for health reasons. My poor pup has had her dew claws pulled out several times. It is a painful bloody mess that sometimes is serious enough to need medical attention. The healing process can take weeks before she can stand to walk again. I keep her claws cut short, but the dew claws are much more difficult to keep groomed than her other claws. She is a lap dog that spends all her time indoors. Her claws are easily caught in carpet. Even medium length carpert can be a hazard. There are those who believe that their is no reason to remove dew claws, I wish I had.

Jay, I would like your opinion on this, either via private email when you have time, or on the board. I am torn about this one. There seems to be mixed thinking. I have always had them removed, but now am having second thoughts. Carolyn made a good point about taking the babies out to the vets so young and the germs there.
-Marsha A.

We've never seen a problem with them on our dogs and therefore never had them removed. The breed standard makes no mention of them either as far as I could tell.

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