We have recently bought a lovely Labradoodle puppy. We have noticed that the pup still has little dewclaws on his back legs, which stick out and dangle down. Do you think these are likely to get caught and cause problems in later life?

Graham Finch advises…

Yes, pups do have dewclaws on their hind limbs. These are often, but not always, removed shortly after birth. You may find, as your pup grows, that they cause absolutely no problems at all, but there are two potential issues.

One is that they are non-weight bearing, so the nails do not wear down. The nail then begins to grow around in a circle and can even, if left, grow into the pad. So, I would keep a close eye on the length and cut at regular intervals to prevent this happening.

The second issue is that dewclaws dangle down and may get caught as the pup runs and plays, resulting in cuts and tears, which may require treatment.

It may be that you decide you just don’t want to take the risk of problems, in which case I would consider surgical removal. It is a relatively simple surgical procedure. In the future, you might consider neutering, in which case you could have the dewclaws removed at the same time. I would suggest you get your vet to take a look first.

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