Before we got Mauja, I had been researching the Pyrenees for months. Even though I had never met one, I was confident that it was the right breed for my family and that I could successfully care for one. I spent hours learning about what makes Great Pyrenees unique, including the double dewclaws.
During Mauja’s first visit to the vet, the vet brought up her dewclaws and how strange it was that they were attached with bone. I tried to explain the breed standard in the Pyrenees and why double dews would be beneficial, but she wasn’t convinced. At every visit until she was sprayed I was lectured on why I needed to remove her dew. In the end we decided to take her to another vet because I was afraid the vet would remove her double dewclaw without my permission.
What are the two types of dewclaws?
The first thing you need to understand is that there are differences between many dog breeds in terms of dewclaws and their number. There are dog breeds that have no extra claws or digits at all. However, the species that have single dewclaws on all four feet are more common.
Our Great Pyrenees belong to a rare group of dogs with double dewclaws.
Dew claws develop a serious disorder or disease
The term dystrophy basically means diseases that affect the nail, claw and surrounding toe in canines and other animals.
Daylights can develop various diseases, from fungal or bacterial infections all the way to tumors and bone cancer. Sometimes, amputating infected dewclaws can actually prevent the spread of cancer to other areas of the dog’s body.
How to trim dewclaws
Trimming dewclaws is much easier than trimming the other nails. Here’s a good «rule of thumb»:
- Slide your finger under the nail: a dewclaw needs to be cut when it grabs or hooks the finger.
- Cut it back a little until your finger slips off it easily. If you cut too far, you will cause pain and bleeding.
- Use high quality bypass clippers and take quick, precise and safe cuts.
They help dogs make sharp turns
Another reason Great Pyrenees have dewclaws is that it helps them make sharp turns.
A dewclaw can dig into the dirt or ground and help stop a running dog. In the past, this allowed the Great Pyrenees to evade and chase other animals. Now that probably means your dog can take a pretty sharp turn in the park, without slipping or injuring himself!