We do not dock tails or remove dew claws here at Sunny Day Puppies and these are some reasons why:
Do you think it hurts the baby puppy when you cut their tail off? YES!!! Infections may follow or even worse extensive bleeding and death. Complications can arise for the sole purpose of pleasing a client. It is understandable why more and more vets are refusing the procedure.
Tails are very important for dogs. If a dog has a tail it means that it has a function. A very important function is communication. We all know well how dogs wag their tails when they are showing happiness. I will NOT take away their smile. Dogs use their tails to communicate with other dogs. Dogs without tails may encounter problems in communicating fear, play or aggression when around other dogs. This could cause serious miscommunications and eventually fights. Other dogs may approach dogs without tails with caution as they cannot interpret their mood effectively. Docked dogs on the other hand, may not communicate aggression properly and may upgrade to a bite if the other dogs does not back off when needed.
Luckily, more and more veterinarians are refusing this practice and so are some countries that have started to ban it. Norway, Sweden and Switzerland are some of these countries, hopefully many others will soon follow. So far the most common practitioners of tail docking seem to derive from the breeders. Dogs were made with tails and dogs should have tails. We are not to decide what is unnecessary in a living animal.
Further reading: The Tale of a Tail
Many people do not realize that the dew claw is more than just a toe nail, it is a digit, similar to a toe or thumb. The dew claw is removed without anesthesia or pain management when the puppy is just three to five days old. If you take a puppy to the vet for removal you are stressing them & their mommy, and exposing them to life threatening viruses like parvo and distemper. Some say that it doesn’t hurt them but they yelp when it is removed and they certainly do feel pain. Here is a video showing what it looks like to remove them : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNEy-o0ZdzA. I want to cry when I see them cut off the puppy’s tail…
Dew claws are acceptable in almost all breed standards, removal is not required.
One of the main reason people remove dew claws is so the dog “doesn’t accidentally rip them off while hunting in heavy brush”. I could accidentally rip my finger or arm off while living an active life. Does that mean I should remove it now to prevent that from happening?!
Our puppies are not intended to be hunting dogs. Our dogs will be spending their time traversing manicured lawns, paved sidewalks, pleasant trails and people’s laps, beds, and living rooms. There is very little chance that they could cause serious injury to their dew claws! One important thing that can prevent the dew claw from snagging on anything is to keep them properly trimmed. Keeping all of your dogs nails maintained should be part of their overall care. Any nail can get snagged, not just a dew claw. Your groomer can trim it for you at your dogs regular visits if you are more comfortable with someone else trimming nails. We recommend trimming your dogs nails at least every 6-8 weeks. It is important to begin trimming the nails of your puppy right away so they are comfortable with the procedure. If you are having problems with a dew claw or are worried about it snagging you can have your vet remove it at the time of spay/neuter. It is still a painful procedure and can take a couple of weeks to heal.
There is an excellent article by Dr. Christine Zinc DVM, which shows that the dew claws do serve a purpose. They provide stability to the leg, especially when the dog is running and turning. There are five muscles that attach to the dew claw and when the toe is removed the muscles atrophy. This can lead to a moderate amount of pain and arthritis when the dog is older. Here is the link for further reading http://www.yorkiesunited.com/do-the-dewclaws.html
Dogs also use their dew claws to hold things between their front feet, groom themselves, and pull themselves up. Here are a couple of interesting videos showing how dogs use their dew claws.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp2xHj_NJn4 How dogs use dew claws https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4XflsMEk-k Dew Claws do have a Purpose
Our dogs have dew claws and live happy and active lives. We have never had a dog injure a dew claw. We hope this sheds some light on why we choose not to remove them.