A very controversial topic in veterinary medicine is whether or not a dog should have its dewclaws removed surgically. These are the innermost claws found on one or multiple paws, which are analogous to the thumbs of human beings. Only certain dogs are born with these claws in place. The biggest concern about the presence of the dewclaws is that they can sometimes get caught on surfaces leading to torn nails and patient pain and discomfort.
Many veterinarians will offer to remove the dewclaws when puppies are a few days old when the surgery is least traumatic, while other veterinarians will remove them at the time of a surgical spay or neuter. As a more holistic oriented veterinarian, I usually do not recommend this procedure, as I do feel it is a painful procedure, and it would be like a surgeon removing our thumbs because they got in the way. However, each case should be evaluated individually and the decision on whether to remove them should be discussed between animal guardian and veterinarian.