How Much Does a Dog Dew Claw Removal Cost?

Written by: Staff

If you have a dog, you’re probably familiar with what looks like a “little thumb.”

Referred to as the dew claw, this part, similar to that of a thumb, commonly grows high on the dog’s leg, complete with a toenail, inside of the dog’s front paw and sometimes on the back paw, and will never touch the ground when standing.

While entirely optional, some breeders and dog owners opt to remove the dew claws when the dogs are young as they serve no purpose and some owners do it as they do not want the risk of it getting ripped off in the future during rough play.

Paw by hasor, on Flickr
Paw” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by hasor

The dog dew claw removal costs

Puppy dew claws will always be removed within days after the puppies were born, usually when they are three to four days old, and the costs, from what we researched, will really depend on your vet, geographical location and what may be included at the time during the dew claw removal as many vets will want to also include the vaccinations and perform an exam.  To make things simple, however, the costs to solely remove the dew claws can range anywhere from $10 to $35 per puppy, but this usually won’t include the vet examination fee, which can be another $50 or so.  Since most people bring in a litter of puppies, a lot of vets will include a discount after the first puppy, often as much as 10 to 30 percent off.

If the puppy is older than three to five days old, then the vet will recommend you wait until you spay/neuter your dog and the procedure will be done at this time.

We did call a few vets around the United States asking what it would simply cost to have our puppy’s dew claws removed and here’s what we found:

Vet #1 in Seattle, WA$35 for the office call and another $25 per puppy. 25% discount for 2+ puppies
Vet #2 in Columbus, OH$15 for the first puppy and another $8 for each additional pup
Vet #3 in Orlando, FL$9 for the first puppy and $5 after
Vet #4 in Toledo, OH$15 after three weeks or $35 before 12 weeks old
Vet #5 in Tulsa, OK$780 to have all dew claws removed (3 year old dog)

Now, if we are talking about a puppy/dog older than a few weeks old, the procedure can still be done, even though many vets will advise against it unless an injury is present.  The reason it can be so much cheaper when the dog is younger is due to the fact the dew claw hasn’t become attached to the bone yet, and as the dog grows old and it attaches to the bone, then anesthesia will be required and the prices will skyrocket due to the complexity.  The costs, in this scenario, will depend on the age of the dog, your vet and the method your vet chooses when removing the dew claws.  In this scenario, the cost of a dewclaw removal, often done via a laser, including all materials and labor, can cost $500 to $850+

The dew claw removal procedure

With an adult dog, they will always be put under a general anesthesia to prevent the dog from moving around during the procedure.  However, if the puppy is younger than five days old, then a local anesthetic will be given and general anesthesia won’t be used.

The skin around the dew claw will is disinfected and washed to prevent an infection during the surgical procedure.

Using surgical scissors, the vet will cut through the skin, muscle and the bone in order to remove the entire toe.

Once removed, the area is stitched with sutures and an adhesive is applied to protect the wound.

Lastly, with older dogs, an Elizabethan collar will be used in order to prevent the dog from licking its wound.

The entire procedure will take up to 45 minutes, and after, some vets may want to monitor the dog’s progress for a few hours after the anesthesia wears off.

Tips to know

While dew claws can be removed at any time, vets will always recommend having them removed when your dog is less than a few weeks old.  As mentioned, this is due to the bones not being fully developed and removing them will be much easier.  As the dog grows old, anesthesia will be needed and the surgery can be more difficult as the vet will need to work around the bones and muscle tissue, increasing the time he or she needs to spend on the procedure.

Dew claws, in most cases, will be removed when the puppy is between two an five days old, often to conform to breed standards.  In this case, albeit controversial, it is often done for cosmetic reasons and is done as it can potentially cause pain in the future if it were to get snagged on something.  In most cases, however, it can be left intact without causing any harm.

The majority of dogs will have dew claws on their front paws, but only some dogs will have them on their back claws a well, which is often referred to as double dew claws.  While rare on the back paws, it can be common with certain breeds such as back labs and the Great Pyrenees, for example.

Dogs with dew claws will do just fine if left intact and a vet will never recommend you remove them if they are in great shape.  However, if the dew claws commonly get caught in things, then this could lead to a potential disaster, which could cause your dog quite some pain.  If you ever fear this could be an issue, always talk with your vet for a treatment plan.

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Average Reported Cost: $2

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Most veterinary physician lie (salem,  Oregon) paid $2 and said:

    My vet took rubber bands and rapped them around the dew clause and after a week he just cut them off! didn’t seem very hard and was healed unless than 2 weeks. city vets will lie to you about the procedure, because they are making money on something that can be done with a rubber band…

    Just like stitches usually arn’t necessary for people, they hjust leave scares and cuts and/or gashes heal on their own without a scare

    Was it worth it? Yes

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