If you have a Poodle, there is a good chance that your Poodle does not have any dewclaws at all; this is because it is common practice for breeders to have them removed well before you bring your new puppy home.
However, let’s discuss some important aspects of this, including:
Whether or not this should/must be done
What to do if dewclaws grow back
What are Dewclaws
Dogs have 4 toes on each paw, and a 5th nail that is high on the paw (so high it could be dubbed “on the ankle” or “on the lower limb”). This is just a soft nail when a Poodle is a puppy. However, if not removed, as the Poodle grows older the base of the dewclaw actually grows into an extra digit, flesh, nerves and all. This extra “toe” serves no purpose as a dog cannot move it or manipulate it in any way that is beneficial.
Why are Dewclaws Removed?
The nails on the front paw of dogs wear down naturally from walking. Dewclaws do not wear down. If not removed, many times these can grow very fast…and they can grow in a curved circle. When this happens, the nail grows back into the dogs skin causing quite a bit of pain. In addition, dewclaws, because of where they are located, often “snag” on carpeting and other materials when a Poodle lies down…this can cause the dewclaws to rip or tear…again causing quite a bit of discomfort.
For these reasons, it is quite common for a breeder to have the dewclaws removed when the Poodle is very young. This is done for Toy Poodles, Miniatures and Standards.
The Best Age To Remove a Poodle’s Dewclaws
This is commonly done when the puppy is only 3 to 5 days old. At this extremely young age, the nail is very tiny and very soft. Removal is done at the veterinarian’s office and is a quick process. The nail is slid out, essentially as if it were a sliver.
Anesthesia is not used, as the procedure usually takes less than 1 minute. While many squirm thinking about this, it does save quite a bit of possible discomfort and pain later on in the Poodle’s life.
If they are not removed during this very short window of time and a puppy is older than 5 days old, it is then recommended to wait until he/she reaches the 12 month mark or it may be performed if the pup is being spayed or neutered.
Must This Be Done?
Technically, this does not need to be done. However, if you have a litter of Poodles, it is expected that you will have them removed. The AKC does not fault a Poodle for having dewclaws in conformation events.
Can Dewclaws Grow Back?
Many are surprised to hear…Yes! They can grow back. It is not common, but certainly not unheard of. The Poodle’s body may regenerate a dewclaw at any age, puppy to adult dog.
Should Removal be Done if They Grow Back? Or if They Were Not Removed?
This is a personal decision. One must be aware that if not removed at that very young age of 3 to 5 days old, as the puppy matures, the base of the claws will slowly develop into an extra appendage, quite similar to a toe. If it is to be removed at this stage, it must be done surgically. It is akin to an amputation. This will involve anesthesia and recovery time. Due to the location, an owner must also be diligent during recovery to keep their Poodle from scratching and chewing at bandages.
If dewclaws were not removed, or have grown back….and the Poodle is older and not having troubles, it may be best to leave them. However, another element to keep in mind is that they will need constant trimming (as they do not wear down what-so-ever from walking as the other nails do) and in some cases they can grow crooked which increases the chances of the Poodle snagging the nail which can cause it to rip or tear.
If you are planning on spaying or neutering your Poodle, dewclaws removal can be done at the same time.
Since it is possible for dewclaws to grow back, or in some cases for a Poodle to have intact dewclaws, an owner must always keep this in mind.
The coat of the Poodle often covers this area. Therefore, when grooming your Poodle or having your Poodle groomed professionally, do be sure to have this area checked for any issues.
For intact dewclaws, trimming must be done approximately every 2-3 weeks…and this nail will be trimmed in the same fashion as other nails.
What Are the Two Types of Dew Claws?
In order to understand why dewclaws are often removed on young Poodle puppies, it helps to first understand that there are two basic kinds of dewclaws.
The first type of dew claw is the kind that Poodles generally have – the bone-attached dewclaws.
In general, when a dewclaw is present on the front paws, it will most likely be the bone-attached type of dewclaw.
This type of dewclaw is still considered to be a functional digit. It has the same basic internal structure as the dog’s other four toes, with an exterior nail and an interior set of bones linking it back to the dog’s paw, hock, and leg bones.
There is a second kind of dewclaw that is less common and typically only shows up in dogs that have rear dewclaws (or double rear dewclaws).
This type of dewclaw no longer has the internal structure that connects it back to the bones of the paw, hock, and leg bones.
Instead, this type of dewclaw is simply a flap of skin attached to the skin of the leg.
How Much Does Dewclaw Removal Cost For a Poodle?
The average cost for Dewclaw removal is $30-$40 for poodle puppies. Dewclaw removal in adult poodles requires a more complex medical procedure averaging $500-$850. Many breeders declaw a whole litter at a time as most vets will give a 10%-30$ discount
The cost of dewclaw removal is low for poodle puppies because they do not need to be anesthetized, and when they are tiny, the procedure is minimally invasive.
This cost of dewclaw removal will increase as a dog ages. This results from a more complicated procedure and the requirement of more medical resources. Additionally, it is much more painful for the dog to have a toe removed later in life.
If the dewclaw looks like it will be a problem in the future, some vets will offer to remove them while the dog is under anesthesia for spaying or neutering. This way, you are saving good money on only having to put the animal under once.
If your vet removes multiple dewclaws with anesthesia, the price can go quickly up as a standalone procedure. Expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to upwards of a thousand if the vet deems the dewclaws attached by more than just skin.
If a Poodle Does Not Have Dew Claws Will They Be Okay?
Sometimes you may get your Poodle puppy from a breeder and that breeder will have already chosen to remove the dewclaws in the first few days of life (usually when the tail is docked).
After reading through this article you may wonder if your Poodle will be at a disadvantage because they are growing up without dewclaws.
Your Poodle will be just fine without their dew claws (and truthfully won’t realize they are missing).
Dogs can adapt to life without dewclaws quite well since most dogs do not have job descriptions that require them to run flat out at top speed for long distances or climb trees.
Understanding the evolutionary history and present-day purpose of canine dewclaws can really help you gain a better understanding of what it is like to stand in your Poodle’s paws. It can also help you make the decision about whether to leave or remove dewclaws.
This article was intended to help you to decide for yourself whether or not to remove your poodle’s dewclaws. Hopefully, it allowed you to gain some insight into the importance of these strange little claws as well.