Most dog owners already know what the “little thumb” from their pet’s paws is.
Although it looks just like a thumb, the part is actually known as the dew claw. It usually grows higher on your dog’s leg. It even has a toenail and grows usually on the front paws of the pet, although sometimes it will also grow on the back paws. It is positioned in a way that it won’t touch the ground as the dog is standing.
There are canine owners and even breeders that choose to remove all dew claws of the dogs while they are still young, although this procedure is completely optional. The reasoning behind this is that these parts have no purpose for the pet and might even cause it discomfort if it gets dropped off during rough play or other reasons.
How much does dog dew claw removal cost?
Most often, puppy dew claws are removed just after a few days from their birth. Most breeders choose to do this when the pups are just three or four days old.
As for the costs, these will likely vary depending on several factors like your geographical location, the vet you go to, as well as any inclusions you might need along with the dew claw removal. For example, there are vets that will also want to include a general consultation and vaccinations with this procedure.
As a general rule, the average cost of dew claw removal as an individual procedure is somewhere between $20 and $50 per puppy. This cost will not include other expenses like the vet examination fee, which will likely set you back another $50.
Keep in mind that bringing a litter of puppies to the vet in one go might make the vet offer you a discount after the first puppy. This can range anywhere from 10% to 30% off depending on their policies.
If you want to spay/neuter your dog and the pet is over the age of three to five days old, then your vet might recommend that you wait and do both of these procedures at the same time.
To get a better idea of the prices vets charge around the US, we gave several a call and asked about the cost to just have the puppy’s dew claws removed without any other procedure. Here’s what price we were charged:
- A vet in Toledo, OH will charge $20 for a 3-week-old puppy, but if the pup is around 12 weeks old, the price rises to $50.
- One veterinarian in Seattle, WA charges $50 for the checkup and another $35 per puppy. You will also receive a 25% discount if you come with 2 or more puppies.
- Another one in Orlando, FL charges $15 for the first puppy and $10 after that.
- Another vet in Columbus, OH will charge $20 for the first pup and then $10 for the following pups, each.
- The last veterinarian we talked to, in Tulsa, OK has a package worth $900 to remove all dewclaws on a 3-year-old dog.
For pet owners that have a dog that is older than just a few weeks old, then this procedure, although it can still be done, won’t be something most vets would recommend unless the pup has suffered an injury.
It will be a lot cheaper and less painful to have the procedure done as the dog is younger because the dew claw is still not properly attached to the bone. As the pup grows old, this part will attach to the bone and then the procedure becomes more complicated and more painful, needing anesthesia, which means that the prices will also skyrocket.
If this is your case, then the costs will still depend on factors like the method your vet will use to remove the dewclaw, the vet you work with, and the age of the dog. The dewclaw removal procedure for older dogs is usually done using a laser and its price, including both the labor and the needed tools will be between $600 and $1,000.
The dew claw removal procedure
- If the procedure is done on an adult dog, then it will likely need to be put under general anesthesia. This is to prevent the pet from moving and experiencing pain during the process. When it comes to puppies that are younger than five days, local anesthesia will probably suffice, as the pain won’t be as high.
- As a way of preventing infection while the surgical procedure is done, the skin around the dew claw will first have to be disinfected.
- The vet then cuts through the skin, as well as the muscle and the bone with the help of surgical scissors. This is so that they can remove the entire toe.
- After the dew claw has been successfully removed, the area will have to be stitched properly with sutures and then an adhesive will have to be applied so that the wound is protected.
- If the dog is older, then you should also consider using an Elizabethan collar to prevent it from licking the wound.
This is a procedure that shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes from start to finish. After it is completed, the vet will probably want to monitor the progress of the dog for at least a few hours after the anesthesia goes away.
Important things to consider
The vet will almost always recommend that you remove the dew claws of your dog before it gets to a few weeks of age, although they can be removed at any time in the pet’s life. This is because the bones aren’t fully developed as the pup is younger, which makes removing the dew claws a lot easier.
With the dog getting older, not only will the anesthesia be necessary, but the surgery itself will become more difficult, as the veterinarian has to work around the muscle tissue and the bones of the pet. This will increase the overall time needed for the surgery.
A lot of breeders will choose to remove the dew claws of the puppy somewhere between two and five days of age, to conform to the standards of the breed.
Although very controversial, there are cases in which this surgery is done for purely cosmetic reasons, as a way of avoiding any potential pain in the future. Most of the time, though, you can just leave it alone and in place as it won’t cause any harm to the pet. After all, these are parts of the dog almost always and cause serious issues pretty rarely.
Although not all dogs have dew claws on the back claws, most of them will have them on the front claws. If a dog has “thumbs” both on the front and back legs this is called double dew claws. And although it is a rare occurrence on the back paws, it is very common with several breeds. Some examples are the Great Pyrenees and the Black Labs.
If you leave the dew claws intact the dog will likely have no problem and will do just fine. This is why not a lot of vets will recommend removing them as long as they are in great shape. The issue is when these dew claws get snagged in things a lot, as this likely leads to injuries that are rather painful.
If you think that your dog might have this issue, then you should talk with your vet about the perfect treatment type.