Should Golden Retrievers Have Their Dew Claws Removed?

All dogs are born with front dewclaws, and some are even born with back dewclaws. 

Most breeders will have these removed when your dog is just a few days old.

While some breeders will not have these removed and you can have them removed later in life. 

But is that what’s best for your Golden Retriever?

Should I have my Golden Retriever’s dewclaw removed?

Having dewclaws removed is a personal choice that should be discussed with your vet. There are pros and cons of having this done if it was not done when your puppy was a few days old. Removing the dewclaws is a serious ordeal, but it makes healthy maintenance of your Golden easier in the long run.

These are some of the advantages and disadvantages to having your Golden Retriever’s dewclaws removed:

Advantages to having your Golden Retriever dewclaws removed:

  • Prevents injuries to the dewclaw
  • Prevents nails from growing long on the dewclaws

Disadvantages of having your Golden Retriever’s dewclaws removed:

  • They have to undergo surgery
  • They have to wear bandages and an e-collar
  • They have to stay calm and quiet while their feet heal

Benefits Of Removing Golden Retriever Dew Claws

Not all dogs are born with back dewclaws.

These back dewclaws are often not attached by bone to the foot and can cause your dog to have issues with these claws.  

Some common issues that are seen with dewclaws are:

Should Golden Retrievers Have Their Dew Claws Removed 1 Should Golden Retrievers Have Their Dew Claws Removed?

Nails growing very long

The nails of the dewclaws are not touching the ground and do not get worn down when your dog walks on hard surfaces. 

This can allow your Golden Retriever’s nail to grow back into their toe pad leading to infection and pain in their foot. 

If your Golden Retriever has dewclaws you need to make sure to trim these every 4 to 6 weeks or sooner if they are growing into the pad of their toe. 

Dew Claws get caught and torn

Your Golden Retriever’s back dewclaws can get caught on blankets and bedding and get torn.  

Your dog can rip these nails off or even get cuts on these nails. 

Golden Retrievers are always outside running and playing. If they are constantly getting their dewclaws hung and cut on things, discuss with your vet if it would be best to have these nails removed.  

They get cut by the groomer

Some dewclaws are just a nail attached by the skin. These can be very floppy and can sometimes get cut when your dog is getting groomed. 

This is more commonly seen in smaller dogs who have very fluffy feet. 

If your Golden Retriever has dewclaws, especially back dewclaws, any time that you take them to the groomer or take them to have their nails trimmed, remind the groomer that they have all 4 dewclaws so that they can be aware of these when they are grooming and make sure that they are not missed when they are getting their nails trimmed. 

If your Golden Retriever is having issues with the nails growing into their paw pads, ripping their nails, or getting cut when they go to the groomer, talk with your vet about possibly having these removed. 

Why Shouldn’t I Remove My Golden Retriever’s Dewclaws?

Many of the reasons that people have their dog’s dewclaws removed are positive reasons but these are a few negative things to having your Golden Retriever’s dewclaws removed:

They will have to have surgery

Having dewclaws removed after your dog is not just a few days old will require them to have surgery.

This would require general anesthesia, stitches, and possibly bandages for a few weeks. 

Many people will have their dog’s dewclaws removed when they also get spayed or neutered to help decrease the number of times, they need surgery. 

They will have to have bandages

Many times, your vet will bandage their feet while their feet heal from this procedure.

Not all dogs will keep these bandages alone and may even have to wear a cone of shape to prevent them from licking their feet. 

Your dog will need to be Calm and Quiet

The stitches will need to stay in your dog’s feet for 10 to 14 days. 

During that time, they will need to be calm and quiet. 

In young puppies, this can be hard to keep your Golden Retriever calm and quiet as they really want to go run and play. 

Some puppies can be very creative and find a way to get to their paws even with an e-collar on and remove their bandages and stitches. 

This can cause your Golden Retriever to need to have more surgery to replace the stitches.

Do Golden Retrievers Need To Have Their Dewclaws Removed?

Your Golden Retriever does not have to have their dewclaws removed. Many dogs spend their whole life with all their dewclaws. If your Golden Retriever does have all their dewclaws

Is Removing Dewclaws Cruel?

No, removing your dog’s dewclaws is not cruel. There are many medical issues that would require your Golden Retriever to have their dewclaws removed. 

These could have gotten cut when they got groomed, gotten torn running and playing or their nail has grown into their toe pad. 

Your vet may recommend that you have these removed or you may want to get these dewclaws removed when your dog is also getting another surgery done to decrease the times that they have to undergo anesthesia.  

Final Thoughts

Having your Golden Retriever’s dewclaws removed is a personal decision that you and your vet will have to make.

If your Golden Retriever’s dewclaws are not attached to their foot with bone, this can easily be removed. 

If their dewclaws are attached by bone, it may be a little more painful and more invasive surgery that your Golden Retriever will need. 

Some Golden Retrievers spend their whole life without any issues from having their dewclaws where other dogs are constantly having issues. 

If you and your Golden Retriever are having issues with their dewclaws, talk to your vet about having these removed.