Injured Dewclaw

Our question this week was:

Should we take our dog to get his dewclaw removed? He had his dewclaw injured yesterday, he was bleeding bad but now the bleeding has stopped. He is a male German shorthair, six months old. If we should not get it removed then what should we do?


Glenn Clark


Hi – thanks for your email. The dewclaw is the first digit of the paws, sometimes referred to as the thumb. This digit is located on the inside of the paws – higher up on the side. The dewclaw essentially serves no function and are often removed on puppies when 3 to 5 days of age.

Declaws have nails that still need to be trimmed and can sometimes get caught on things causing them to get torn and bleed. The injury is not life-threatening but can be painful and cause a bloody mess.

If the bleeding is stopped, that is good news. If you notice some minor oozing, you can place a temporary bandage over the area for a few hours.

As far as "should you have it removed" – that is really up to you. On one hand, it if happened once, it can certainly happen again. On the other hand, it is possible that the injury was a fluke accident.

Generally if you do remove them, I'd recommend that you remove all of them (on all legs). You might consider doing this when you have him neutered as it can be done under the same anesthesia.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our is "Dewclaw Removal".

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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