dewclaw…and what the heck are dewclaws anyway? Why are they there? Popular opinion is that the dewclaws are a left-over evolutionary appendage and they have little use today but that differs from dog to dog. Some dogs’ dewclaws are attached with moreconnective tissue and even bone and can be used to dig into the ground while “cornering” in agility excersises, or to grab onto bones and toys. Most dogs’ dewclaws are not really anchored in the tissue, and for these dogs it may be better to remove them to prevent them being caught while playing and injured. Also the claw must be frequently trimmed or it can grow back around into the pad causing infection. Vets often recommend that if you are going to have them removed you have it done while they are already under anesthesia for their spay/neuter.
Additional reading:

http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/does-our-puppy-need-his-dewclaws
http://dogcare.dailypuppy.com/purpose-dewclaw-dogs-2110.html

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