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Reasons to Remove a Puppy’s Dewclaws and The Cost

Reasons to Remove a Puppy's Dewclaws and the Cost of the Removal


I should have taken a picture of Blue’s dewclaws before today so that you can see them, but if you have a dog, then you’re probably familiar with their little thumb.  A dewclaw  commonly grows high up on the dogs foot/leg, never touching the ground when they stand.  I learned that the rear dewclaws are removed when puppies are really young, because there serve no purpose.

I checked and Rodrigo and Sydney have their front dewclaws, but no rear dewclaws.  I’ve never noticed this until now.  Well, Blue’s rear “thumbs” weren’t connected like his front dewclaws (they were floppy).  They were just hanging loose, flopping around with a little nail.  Because of this, the rescue group offered to pay for the procedure to have Blue’s dewclaws removed.

Why Have a Puppy’s Dewclaw Removed?  

It’s better to have them removed instead of risk having them ripped off…

Because they could get ripped off in play and you should see Blue and Rodrigo rumble about in the yard.  Rodrigo has 50 pounds on Blue, but Blue keeps up with him.  I couldn’t imagine what it would be like at the dog park.

Being proactive saved Blue a lot of pain and save us from a big vet bill (i.e. Emergency Vet) if they were ripped off during play (what if we weren’t home?)

The cost of Blue’s dewclaw removal…

Motley Zoo was generous enough to cover the cost of the dewclaw removal, their bill included a Rescue Group Discount.  The below is the cost were we to pay out of pocket.

  • $39    Exam  & Office Visit
  • $85    General Anesthesia Induction
  • $68    Inhalation Isoflurane
  • $15    Surgical Pack Fee
  • $12    Surgical Supply Fee
  • $101  Dewclaw Removal Surgery
  • $22    Polyflex Injectable (antibiotic)
  • $39    IV Catheter
  • $23    IV Fluid Therapy
  • $22    Hospitalization
  • $44    Bandage (really?)
  • $20    Simplicef (prescription)
  • $15    Rimadyl (prescription)
  • $55    Laser Surgery Fee (we elected to pay extra for laser surgery)
  • $560 TOTAL

Since Blue was going to be at the vet, we asked them to take care of his boosters and rabies vaccinations as well…

  • $22    DHPP Vaccine
  • $22    Rabies
  • $22    Bordetella
  • $66   TOTAL

Our total cost for the dewclaw surgery, out of pocket, was $121.00.

If you’re wondering about this procedure, I recommend that you chat with your vet to find out what they recommend.  What convinced us that this was a good idea was that we’re preventing a potential accident.  When Blue is fully vaccinated, he’ll be at the dog park with the big dogs and I’d hate to see him get hurt and have a fun outing turned into painful memory.

Blue’s recovery from dewclaw surgery…

When I picked Blue up, the doctor shared that they all fell in love with him, because he’s so sweet (he really is).  He was so excited to see me that he whizzed all over the floor (oops) and I got loads of puppy kisses (ahhh, puppy breath).  We were looking forward to a sleepy puppy when Blue came home.  We got Blue.

We were able to remove the cone.  He responds to “leave it” when he starts biting his foot.  We’re changing his bandage once or twice a day and he has medications that came home with him that he takes with peanut butter.

He’s fine.


  1. We had one of Pontouf’s dewclaws removed last year after years of issues. If I had the $, I would have had both done at the same time. Also, with an older dog (she’s 10) we had the option of having her teeth cleaned at the same time while she was under! I think it was around $600 for the one. I wish you had written this post a couple of years ago!!! 😉

    • We were giving our dogs raw bones for their teeth, but had to stop when we got the puppy. He can’t have the bones until he’s 8 months old. Now I’m looking for something else – ahhhh, how we love our dogs.


  2. This is a great topic! 2 of my dogs have dewclaws and 1 does not. Besides growing rapidly, we haven’t had any issues with the dogs who have dewclaws so we have had no reason to remove them.

    Surprisingly the problems have been with our dog who had no dewclaws. They were removed as a puppy and we didn’t have a single issue until he was about 6. The nubs that were left after the puppy removal were always these soft pads. One day the nub on his left paw just fell off. No bleeding, no just disappeared. No problem.

    A couple years after that we noticed that the nub on his right paw was starting to swell and he was licking it a lot. He had licked an open wound in the numb that had swelled to the size of a kidney bean or so. When we took him to the vet the DR said that when the dewclaws are removed as puppies the bone can still grow and at times can become infected…this is what happened to our dog. Unfortunately, some dogs can also develop cancerous tumors around the infected bones. Thankfully, this was not the case for us.

    The vet did surgery to remove the final bone that was in the dewclaw area. It was a very tough healing process because my dog wanted to lick/eat at his stitches. We had to put a sock on his foot each day and wrap his entire leg. Everything healed fine though and now he is perfect. His paws look like he wasn’t even born with dewclaws, no nubs, just smooth.

    So the whole point of my long winded post was that even dogs who had dewclaws removed as puppies could still have problems as adults! :)

    • OMG – I had no idea that it could become complicated; but of course it can, with anything there’s always a risk. Thanks for sharing – I love that I’m now prepared for something like this. I appreciate the details – you rock!

  3. Hiya Kim!

    What an insightful post- thank you so much for sharing! My Dachshund, Moco, has both of his front dewclaws still. I never quite understood the reasoning for removing them… Just assumed it was for aesthetic purposes like cropping ears and docking tails. Thanks for helping me learn something new!

    Just curious, though… If dogs have dewclaws on all four paws at birth but they get removed on the hind paws, why wouldn’t they get removed on all 4? I see a PetMD search in my future. :)

    • Thanks, Sandra

      The reason we had our dogs dewclaws removed was because they were floppy and we worried about a nail getting snagged during play and ripping them off; their front dewclaws have always been close to their paw so no worries. For Scout and Zoey, their fronts were removed when they were puppies and I don’t think it was really necessary. I don’t like the idea of unnecessary surgery plus they were growing so why not wait to see if it’ll be a problem? What’s done is done, but it taught us something new.

      • After living through a broken toenail incident during play, I completely understand your very valid concern. We got lucky; the break was pretty clean and our veterinarian was able to reassure us surgery wouldn’t be necessary and he’d heal just fine all on his own. Two years later, he’s definitely healed up 100% and the toenail has regrown, however, it does look different than his other toenails. The body is an amazing thing, truly.

        • That’s good to hear. I always worry about the nails and try and keep them clipped – they hate it – I’m just glad we don’t have to worry about the dewclaws. Rodrigo and Sydney had their’s removed before we adopted them so I don’t know if it was necessary not. I’m guessing that not every puppy has floppy dewclaws.

          Thanks for telling me about the nail. Glad to know that he healed on his own.

      • My name is Vickie Lane. I’m getting a 8 week old Black female Lab mix. She was born with four dewclaws and two extra toes. I would really like them removed but I was told that it only causes undo pain and that the dewclaws don’t need to be removed. I hike in high greasy areas and I don’t want my dog to get hung up on something. So please let me know what I need to do to keep my puppy safe. I think having them removed is my only chance to keep her safe.

        • If the dewclaws aren’t flopping off, I wouldn’t worry about it. Just keep an eye on your dog and see if it turns into a problem down the line – if a dewclaw gets hung up on something, then you can revisit removal with your vet, but at this time, I’d trust your vet. Best of luck.


  4. Thank you so much for writing this. We adopted a 4 month old hound shepherd mix from the local humane society and he has dewclaws on all four paws. Like your Blue, Olimar’s hind dewclaws are floppy, no bones, just the pad and a nail. We call them his marshmallow toes, they’re all wiggly-jiggly, especially when he prances around. Our vet also recommend that they be removed for safety but it’s like pulling teeth to get them to give me a cost estimate on the surgery.

    Now, thanks to your awesome (and extremely informative!) post, at least I have an idea to start with so I can save some money to pay for it.

    Thanks again! 😀

    • Glad that I could help. I’m so glad that dewclaw surgery is behind us. Scout and Zoey had surgery to have theirs removed too. At first, I thought it was a trait with Aussies, but I’m meeting more people who have other breeds with floppy dewclaws.

  5. Hi there. Your post is very helpful. I have an 8 month old mix breed-maybe dauchaund and pitbull (he’s cute ,) with a leg deformity (from birth)….

    Point being, the dewclaw on his funny front let is totally floppy. I think it’s best that we have it removed but I can’t afford the surgery at $560-$700. Seems that you had insurance that covered much of the cost. WHICH INSURANCE do/did you have?

    Thank you all.

    • Hi, our dog wasn’t covered by pet insurance at the time. The rescue who we adopted Blue from covered the cost of the surgery. Today, we have Trupanion (, I’m not sure if they would consider dewclaws a pre-existing condition and ineligible for coverage.

  6. We just had our 7 month old sheltie dew claws removed. She had 4 and for safety reasons we did while she was getting spayed. Her bandages came off the next day and she is doing great. I keep reading that people keep bandages on longer, my vet says no. The air needs to heal them, my aussie also had his done when he was 10 weeks old. They go to the park and play and for this reason I removed them so they won’t hurt themselves and other animals and they won’t get hung up on blankets and stuff. All my animals have had their dew claws removed with no issues.

    • We left bandages off once they stopped licking the incision and when they were in the house. But covered the before they went out to play. I’m thankful that we never had an issue. So far, we’ve had 3 dogs who had them removal, because they were floppy.


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