Can you Declaw a Dog?

Declawing cats has been controversial for years. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for doing it, such as curbing household destruction in lieu of euthanasia or rehoming. Whether or not you agree with declawing cats, it’s a common surgical procedure in the vast majority of veterinary clinics. Dogs have nails–not quite like cats do–but they can scratch hardwood floors, leather furniture, or your legs. Is there a dog declaw procedure or is it specifically for cats?¬†We reviewed the top 5 dog socks for protecting hardwood floors.

Declawing Dogs? It Doesn’t Exist

There is no surgical procedure designed to declaw dogs. It’s wholly unnecessary when dogs don’t use their nails for anything other than digging, scratching, or playing. Not too many people know what a surgical declaw entails, leading them to believe dogs can have their nails removed, too. When cats are declawed, they have their first knuckle bones completely removed from their feet. It isn’t just pulling the nails out; it’s the equivalent of having your fingertips surgically removed. This is what makes the procedure so controversial among pet owners and even veterinary professionals.

Maintaining Your Dog’s Nails, the Right Way

There is literally no good reason to remove a dog’s nails. Your dog uses their nails for scratching, playing, and digging, all of which are important aspects of daily doggy routines. If you’re installing new hardwood floors, buying new furniture, or considering putting down sod in the backyard, take your pup into consideration. Longer nails have the most potential for damaging things, so it’s really important to keep your dog’s nails trimmed if you’re trying to maintain your floors or furniture from excited puppy feet.

Recommended Nail Trimmers

How often your dog’s nails need to be trimmed depends on their growth and how they wear them down. Dogs who go on lots of walks on cement or hikes generally don’t need their nails trimmed as often because they wear their nails down naturally. Nails should never be trimmed shorter than the quick (the blood supply in the nail). Just like when you cut your nails too short, cutting your dog’s too short is extremely painful.

If you haven’t been maintaining their nails, their quicks will get quite long, so you’ll end up doing numerous mini-trims over a period of a few months to get the quick back to a shorter length. Trimming is easy if you know where to find the quick (it appears as a dark spot in the middle of the nail). There are also electric grinders to sand down the nail and help prevent cutting into the quick, but some dogs don’t appreciate the buzzing sound.

Nail Covers for Dogs

Soft Paws are silicone sleeves that fit over nails. They’re mostly used for cats who like to scratch furniture, but they are also available for dogs. These are good if you have easily scratched floors (no matter how short you trim their nails), your dog is a jumper and scratches legs and arms, or you’re just trying to prolong the life of your furniture.

Recommended Nail Covers

While there’s no such thing as a canine declaw, there are plenty of ways to keep your dog’s nails short and well maintained. There’s no reason whatsoever to remove their nails completely.