So you’ve discovered those extra dangly little appendages on your sweet pup’s little legs? Should you have them removed for fear of them hindering your precious pooch’s performance in life? Are they normal? I fondly remember finding my dog’s additional tiny toe commonly known as a dew claw. I was scared for her; worried it wasn’t normal and rushed her to the vet to weigh out the options.
So are Dew Claws Normal?
|The quick and short of it all is YES, these tiny little extraneous attachments to their bodies are perfectly normal and are common in most canines. Just like the other tiny little toes in their paw, these extra appendages grow out from the side of the paw, slightly higher than the rest. While the majority of dogs have dew claws on their front paws, many have them on their hind haunches as well. My nine-year-old Bella sprouted hers on the back left paw during her formative puppy years. While some dogs have limited use of this bonus claw, it is typically functionless in most—a little fold of fur with a nail, much like a birthmark for us as humans. An extra freckle, a mole, an odd little place on our body that serves no purpose other than giving us a good story and a unique trait to call our own.
Should you Remove your Dog’s Dew Claw?
|While they serve no purpose, can the dew claw cause any harm to your pet? The majority of pets that develop these tiny little toes live perfectly happy, normal lives with them left in place just as they grew. For some pets however, their extra phalange grows out at an angle and dangles or hangs in an awkward way that may be uncomfortable during playing or walking. Some develop a bone within them as well which causes an added layer of concern for your little one when digging, running or scratching against hard objects as it could break, leaving you with a wounded best friend and a shiny vet bill to foot.
If your pet’s dew claw seems imperfectly placed to where it could cause any irritation or potential pain in the future then you should talk to your vet about having it removed. Keep in mind that if the entire toe needs to be removed and not simply the claw itself, the cost of surgery will increase. Many decide to have the procedure done during the spay/neuter process to avoid having to put their best friend under more than once as well.
What I Chose to do about my Dog’s Dew Claw…
After rushing my sweet Bella girl to the vet after finding her added secret weapon, I was told that it wouldn’t cause her any harm and that she would in fact be able to go on and jump, run, play, skip through fields of sunflowers right alongside me. They let me know that I could remove it if I wanted to simply because I didn’t like the aesthetic of it and explained to me that having it done while she was a puppy was the best time to make my decision as there would be no need for stitches and a much quicker heal time.
I decided that she was born with this bonus accessory for a reason and if it didn’t hurt her, it didn’t hurt me. We’ve never had a problem with it being caught in our adventures here in the mountains so my advice is to love and accept all of your pet just as they do you- quirky extra-terrestrial toes and all.
|Tiffany Narron is proud of her dog Bella's extra doggie appendage and, despite being a little freaked out at first, has grown accustomed to it. It certainly does not hinder their adventures together on the streets and mountain trails in and around Asheville, North Carolina.