Removing Dew Claws With Nail Clippers: Is it Safe For Dogs?

Dew claws are the fifth digit on a dog’s paw, located higher up on the leg than the other toes. Some dogs are born with dew claws on their front & hind legs, while others may not have them at all.

Dog owners may choose to remove their dog’s dewclaws for medical reasons. This can help to prevent the claws from getting caught or injured.

One method of removing dew claws with nail clippers, but is it a safe and recommended procedure?

What Are Dew Claws?

removing dew claws with nail clippers
Dew Claws

Dew claws are small, extra toes inside a dog’s front and sometimes on its back paws.

They are often referred to as “thumbs” because of their location higher up on the leg and their ability to grasp objects like a human thumb.

Dew claws may have a purpose for some puppies, such as aiding them in climbing or gripping while running. However, dew claws are typically seen as vestigial structures, no longer having an evolutionary sense.

Some puppies have dew claws on all four paws, while others may only have them on their front feet. Certain dog breeds, including the Great Pyrenees, St.

Bernard, and Beauceron, are likelier to have dew claws.

Is Removing Dew Claws With Nail Clippers Possible?

Yes, clipping dew claws with human nail clippers is possible, but it is not recommended.

Dewclaw nails are attached to fragments of bone, and removing them can be painful and traumatic for the dog.

If done improperly, it can lead to the risk of infection, excessive bleeding, and further long-term complications.

Hence, trimming dew claw dog should be done by a trained veterinarian using proper tools and techniques.

While some believe the process can prevent dew claw injuries or even for cosmetic reasons to make dogs look better, it is important to consider the potential risks and benefits.

If you have concerns about your furry friend’s dew claw issues, it is best to consult with a qualified veterinarian to determine the best course of action.

They can give some expert advice and guide whether removal is necessary and, if so, how to do it safely and effectively.

It is vital to put the health and well-being of your dog on top and take the necessary precautions to avoid causing them unnecessary pain like neuropathic or chronic pain, signs of infection, or harm.

How To Removing Dew Claws With Nail Clippers?

clipping dew claws
Removing Dew Claws With Nail Clippers

How to cut dew claws on dogs? Dew claw removal operation can be done at home, but it should only be attempted by those who are comfortable with the process and have experience nail trimming for dog.

Calm Your Dog

Calmness and patience are key to successfully removing broken dew claws with nail clippers. Creating a comfortable and relaxed environment for your dog before attempting the procedure is important.

You can calm your dog by petting, talking to them soothingly, and reassuring them with treats.

If your puppy is highly anxious or agitated, it may be necessary to give them a sedative prescribed by your veterinarian.

It is important to note that restraining your dog too tightly during the process can increase their anxiety and make it more difficult.

Allow your furry friend to sit or lie down in a comfortable position, and use gentle and reassuring movements.

It may also be helpful to have a second person present to help calm her during the procedure.

Choose the Right Nail Clipper

Choosing the right nail clipper is essential to ensure that you can remove the rear dewclaw effectively without injuring your dog.

Several nail clippers are available on the market, including guillotine, scissors, and plier clippers.

Guillotine clippers are best suited for small dogs and puppies, while surgical scissor clippers are ideal for medium to large-sized dogs. Plier clippers are best for dogs with thick nails.

When selecting a nail clipper, choose one that is designed specifically for dogs and is easy for you to hold.

Make sure that the clipper is sharp and clean before using it. A dull or dirty clipper can crush the ingrown nails, which can be painful for your dog.

Trim The Dew Claw

How to trim dew claw dog? Follow our instructions below to avoid any rear dewclaw removal accidents:

  • Hold your dog’s paw firmly, but not too tight, as you don’t want to cause discomfort to the dog.
  • Locate the dew claw. It is usually higher on the leg and slightly separated from the other nails.
  • Use the nail clipper to cut the overgrown dew claw. Cut it just below the quick, which is the blood vessel and nerve in the ingrown nail, and visible as a pinkish area. Cutting into the quick can cause bleeding and pain.
  • After trimming, treat or praise your dog for making them comfortable and happy.

It’s important to note that if your dog has black or dark claws, it may be difficult to see quickly. In such cases, it’s better to trim just a little until you reach the desired length.

Removing Dew Claws With Nail Clippers: Some Tips

When doing rear dewclaw removal with nail clippers, it’s important to remember some important tips, especially for non-experienced owners.

Not To Cut Quick

When removing broken dew claws or double dew claws with nail clippers, it’s important to avoid cutting the quick, sensitive, and nerve-filled tissue in the center of the nail.

Cutting dogs dew claws too quickly can cause your dog pain and lead to bleeding.

To avoid this, locate the quick before trimming and only cut a small amount at a time.

If you accidentally cut the quick and it starts bleeding, use a styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding.

Be Careful

While clipping the dew claw, make sure you have a secure hold on it and apply light pressure. Also, avoid putting your dog in a position where it may move or jump unexpectedly.

You may need an assistant to hold your dog in place or distract them while you trim their dew claws.

It’d better be cautious not to cut too much of the claw off at once, as this can lead to dew claw issues such as bleeding and pain for your puppy.

If you’re uncertain about how to do the dew claw removal operation, consider seeking the advice of a professional groomer or qualified veterinarian.

First Aid

In case of accidental cutting of the quick during the dew claw nail removal procedure, it is important to be prepared with first aid supplies.

It is important to have a product such as cornstarch or styptic powder on hand in order to prevent further bleeding from the dewclaw area.

If the bleeding doesn’t stop or the cut is deep, let’s bring dog to the vet immediately for pain medication is important.

Applying an antiseptic solution and keeping the wound clean can also help prevent infection and other infrequent complications.

Pros & Cons of Removing Dew Claws

how to cut dew claws on dogs
Pros & Cons of Problem

Pros of Removing Dew Claws

  • Decreased risk of dewclaw injuries: For medical reasons, dewclaws can be prone to get caught on objects, leading to damage or tearing of the claw, which can be painful for the dog.
  • Aesthetically pleasing: Some experienced owners prefer the look of a dog with no dew claws.
  • Prevent damage to the house: Dogs with dew claws can scratch floors, furniture, and other surfaces.

Cons of Removing Dew Claws

  • Painful procedure: Removing dew claws can be painful for dogs, and they may need to be sedated during the process.
  • Potential for infection: There is a risk of infection at the surgery site if proper care is not taken during the healing process.
  • Loss of balance: Dew claws can help dogs maintain their balance. This is especially true when running or jumping, as the claws can touch the ground to keep their body balanced.


Is Dew Claw Removal Painful?

Dew claw removal can indeed be painful, particularly if done improperly. Dew claws are linked to the mineralized bone.

Thus, removing them without proper anesthesia or by someone untrained could cause great agony to the dog.

Before selecting to cut the internal nail, it’s crucial to consider the possible pain and discomfort the dog may experience.

How Late Is Too Late To Remove Dew Claws?

Trimming ingrown nails after the puppy is 3-5 days old is generally not recommended, as the procedure becomes more complicated and painful as the puppy ages.

Additionally, removing dew claw nails after this time may result in long-term complications such as infection rate, excessive bleeding, and difficulty healing.

How Long For Dogs To Recover From Dew Claw Removal?

Recovery time from dew claw removal varies from dog to dog and depends on the individual healing process. The wound can take up to 14 days to heal fully from the infrequent complications.

What Dog Breeds Don’t Have Dewclaws?

Some breeds of dogs don’t have dewclaws, including the Boxer, Bulldog, Great Dane, Doberman Pinscher, and some species of terriers.

However, not all dogs within these breeds will be born without dewclaws, and some breeders may choose to leave them intact even if they are present.


Removing dew claws with nail clippers is a process that a veterinarian or experienced pet groomer should only perform.

It’s important to note that dew claws serve a purpose and are not always necessary to remove.

The procedure can be painful and carries risks of complications and infection, so it’s best to make an informed decision for your pet’s health and well-being.

Consult a reputable veterinarian before removing your dewclaws and thoroughly examine the advantages and disadvantages.


Photo of author
Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

Leave a Comment