The Dew Claw Dilemma

| May 12, 2011 | 3 Comments
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Talk to the average bird hunter that owns a retriever and they will insist that dew claws must be removed. It has been a tradition to remove dew claws from retrievers for many generations and now is considered a de-facto procedure to perform on a puppy. Check out this article by Dr. M. Chris Zwink DVM, PhD, DACVSMR about dew claws and the canine athlete.

As a breeder of Labrador Retrievers myself, I have stopped removing dew claws on our puppies because of some recent thoughts on its relation to carpal arthritis. Now there has not been a formal study on this issue and there are a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up, however, general logic tells me that there is probably an underlying issue with removing dew claws. It does mean that I have to maintain good nail health on the dew claws as well as the rest of the feet. Keeping the nails short is just a good practice for the health of your dog.

Category : Announcements, Health

About the Author ()

I am one of the founders and editor of Retriever Life. My passion is Labradors of all sizes and shapes but I am a big fan of all the retriever breeds.

Comments (3)

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  1. Lou says:

    That’s a great article, on a subject that has many differing opinions.

    Thanks, and keep em coming. Say hi to Dr. Zeus for us!

  2. jessica says:

    Hello,
    I am a new proud parent to a 12 week Golden Retriever! the woman I got him from was against dew claw removal; I, on the other hand, prefer it being I am very outdoorsy. I just need some information about how to find the right vet to take him to and what the recovery entails. Thank you for any assistance.

    • The older the dog the harder dew claw removal is on the dog. I can tell you that I train with my dogs every day in the field and do not have issues with dew claws being there. It is my responsibility to keep them well groomed so as not to be a hook to get caught on, but that is just part of the process.

      I would assume a couple of weeks recovery, but your dog is still young so it should be fine. Just make sure the vet knows what they are doing!

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