Dew claws .

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Dew claws .

Postby Dave » Mon Apr 04, 2005 10:21 pm

I noticed while my new foster was sitting with his legs across me that he still has his dew claws . Is there any reason I should have them removed ? All my other dogs and fosters never had any .I figured they don'y bother anything except I did notice they need trimmed , as does all his nails :o I've got to go get a dremel .Thanks for any opinions or advice . 8) Dave
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Postby Karen_P » Mon Apr 04, 2005 10:33 pm

Brittanys dew claws are removed because they can get caught while hunting and tear. They can be removed now if it is found to be a problem. The surgery is pretty minor, or so I'm told. I've even heard it suggested that they be removed while the dog is anesthesized for another procedure, like dental work or neutering if hunting is in his future, and it's certainly not considered as serious as docking a dog later in life, which is truly an amputation.

Now that being said, my guess is that there's a good many Brittanys that hunt out there that still have their dew claws (Zachie still has his), and they never suffer an injury.

I'm always surprised when I get a foster that has had it's dew claws removed, as this is a sign of reputable breeding in my neck of the woods. I can probably count on one hand the number without dews that have entered my home and I've never been told that any of them have sustained an injury.

Try a regular people nail clipper on the dew claws. I find they're easier to trim that way than with a dremel or doggie nail clipper.
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Postby Dave » Mon Apr 04, 2005 10:41 pm

Thanks Karen . This is a first :o I've had more than 20 pass through my house and Hutch is the first to have dew claws . He was neutered before I got him and his teeth are nice being only about 3 , so his dew claws will get a trim and stay attached :lol: 8) Dave
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Postby Barb Wright » Mon Apr 04, 2005 10:44 pm

Dave: Removal of dew claws (front and rear) in an adult is not simple surgery, because there is now actual attachment to the bone of the leg. It can be done, but really, unless the dog is tearing it loose probably not worth it. When the dew claws are removed from newborn (2-3 days is the usual time frame) the "claw" or toe is not attached yet except by skin and is easily removed.

It is important to keep the nail closely clipped, that lessens the chances of continual snagging of the toe. This is a "vestigal" toe, not used by the modern dog to any extent. The main purpose of the front dew claw is to help hold meat down while it is being torn apart, give extra grip when fighting, and also to get things out of the mouth that are stuck. You will see dogs use their front paws in a sideways motion when they have something stuck in their mouths or teeth, this is an instinctual attempt to use the dew claw to get it out. The rear dew claws, who knows, just something left over from a few thousand years ago :? possibly part of the defensive tools, dunno :roll:

That's off the top of my head....someone else may have more info :)
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Postby Dave » Mon Apr 04, 2005 11:00 pm

I figured on leaving his dew claws alone :) It's funny , if the breeders do the removal for a matter of pride then these dogs end up in shelters :? I'd like ten minutes alone with the fools in Utah that were dumping the Brittanys in shelters last year . We got over 16 in two years and all these dogs had their dew claws removed . Oh well they all got good homes :D As always Thanks for the info Barb . 8) Dave
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Postby Bernie's mom » Tue Apr 05, 2005 12:21 am

just my two pennies here, but my grandpa always hunted bunnies with beagles... all while I grew up we had a steady stream of strays dropped at our house, all with dew claws, and none ever got injured during a hunt.
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Postby Lisa » Tue Apr 05, 2005 11:46 am

Just my two pennies on the dew claws...

Rear dew claws are rarely present in most breeds. If they are present, they are generally removed, as they can easily tear and the digit is not usually well attached to the foot. Now, in some breeds, like the Great Pyrenees, the double dew claw in the rear is part of the breed standard, and left alone. The rear dew claw, like the front, was (among other things) used for cleaning the roof of a dog's mouth. My own girl and one previous foster both instinctively would run the side of their rear foot along the roof of their mouth while grooming. Usually, if I saw them doing this, I'd check to make sure nothing was stuck.

Front dew claws, in my personal opinion, should only be removed if absolutely necessary. These digits are generally more firmly attached to the foot, and it becomes a major surgery if not performed after about 2 days of age. The front dew claws can still be useful to the modern dog. Herding dogs, agility dogs, and really, any dog that does lots of high speed running use these claws for added traction, especially on tight turns (if you look in the dirt after a dog has made a tight turn, you can sometimes see the scrape made by a dew claw :!: ). They still use them for cleaning the roof of their mouth. And, if you feed raw at all (even a raw bone), the dew claws help the dog hold the bone/meat and tear it.
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Postby Cariboo » Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:49 pm

Are the rear dew claws on the hind legs, or are they the 'thumbs' on the back of the front paws? :?
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Postby Barb Wright » Tue Apr 05, 2005 6:04 pm

The "fifth" toe, front and rear, on the inside and a little above the paw, are all dew claws.
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Postby Cariboo » Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:15 pm

Thanks, Barb. Hmm, how interesting that there are back dew claws...do you know what the thumb is on the back of the front paws? They don't have nails, and are just there. Maybe a vestigial body part?
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Postby Barb Wright » Tue Apr 05, 2005 9:05 pm

Yes, as I recall a vestigal toe...something from waaaaay back. Sort of like the horse, they originally had toes but evolved to the hoof with a "toe" half way up the leg, called a chestnut (or something like that???) as I recall. Evolution, veeeerrrry interesting!!
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Postby Kristy » Wed Apr 06, 2005 11:51 am

Is it a sign of a bad breeder, if they don't remove the dew claws? Our adoptee, Colby has his. He also has an unusually long docked tail.
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Postby Karen_P » Wed Apr 06, 2005 1:15 pm

I believe (I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure) the ABC Brittany Standard calls for the removal of the front dew claws. Nubs are to be docked no longer than 4 inches. If Colby's tail is too long, that could also be poor vetting. You can just about bet money that dogs with dew claws still attached are the products of puppy mills or backyard breeders.

That's not to say that they couldn't come from fantastic lines, they could. It wouldn't be the first time I've heard of a dog with champion blood lines being bought from a pet shop (herein is the reason breeders should take advantage of AKC's limited registration for non-competition families).
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Postby Lisa » Wed Apr 06, 2005 3:36 pm

You can just about bet money that dogs with dew claws still attached are the products of puppy mills or backyard breeders.


While that might be true now, I've spoken with quite a few responsible breeders of various breeds (Aussie, ESS, BC, not Brits though) who are changing their views on front dew claw removal and do not plan to do so with any possible future pups. However, these folks are breeders of working dogs (herding, sporting, etc) rather than conformation, and the split between working and show dogs are much more pronounced in some of these breeds. They are breeding more for ability (herding, tracking, etc) than for winning in a show ring and care less what the breed standard might say about dew claws.
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Postby Brenda Dom » Wed Apr 06, 2005 9:19 pm

Karen_P wrote:I believe (I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure) the ABC Brittany Standard calls for the removal of the front dew claws.


I believe the standard states dewclaws may be removed. I do not believe dewclaws are penalized.

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