Declawing a pet refers to a surgical procedure that removes or amputates the tips of each paw, thus permanently removing the claw with it. Declawing is a permanent procedure, meaning there is no way to reverse it.
Laser declawing is a relatively new procedure for removing the third knuckles and claws from cats. It offers many benefits over traditional declawing, including less bleeding and a reduced chance of infection.
In the United States, declawing is outlawed in Austin, Denver, the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, Pittsburgh, and Madison. It is also outlawed in eight California cities: West Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica, and Burbank.
Some negative effects of declawing Medical drawbacks to declawing include pain in the paw, infection, tissue necrosis (tissue death), lameness, and back pain. Removing claws changes the way a cat's foot meets the ground and can cause pain similar to wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes.
Removing the joints on each toe cannot only make it more difficult for a dog to walk and run, but it can lead to arthritis and, in dogs that are already at risk, spinal injuries or deformities. Just think how difficult it would be for you to get around if part of your toes were chopped off.
When you take your dog to the vet for declawing, the vet will put your dog under anesthesia. The vet will cut away at the skin to expose the bone, then cut off the nail and bone and stitch up the incision. Some vets keep your dog at their clinic for several days to make sure they don't develop an infection.
In some breeds, the removal is thought to improve appearance for the show ring. In others, it's done to prevent possible injuries, such as being damaged while a hunting dog works through brambles. (Some breeders remove declaws themselves, but this is a task more appropriately handled by a veterinarian.)
The Science of Declawing It basically involves removing each of the animal's toes at the initial joint, which is essentially amputation. This is why this procedure is considered so unethical and cruel other than in situations where the animal would suffer without having this procedure carried out.
Declawing is an extremely serious and rare procedure that can cause severe pain for your dog. However, one condition where declawing might be considered is with serious recurring nail bed infections.
Some breeders perform dewclaw removal themselves. Vets usually charge a puppy exam fee and a dewclaw removal fee for each puppy. Depending on the practice, this cost is around $30–$40 per puppy and up.
If you are wondering whether dogs can be declawed, the answer is yes, they can. However, declawing in dogs should not be done for reasons other than medical ones, such as infections that are affecting the paws.
You might get your dog declawed if they suffer from nail infections that threaten their health. Otherwise, there's no reason to declaw a dog. Most veterinarians won't do it unless they have a medical reason to do so.
While several cities around the U.S. have a declaw ban in place, Maryland is only the second state to ban the procedure. New York became the first in 2019. The law prohibits any veterinary practitioners from performing declawing procedures on a cat unless the procedure is “necessary for a therapeutic purpose.”
Some breeds of dogs routinely have their dewclaws removed to “improve” their appearance in the show ring. If you choose to have this procedure performed it should done when a puppy is under 5 days of age and only after the area has been numbed with a local anesthetic (e.g., EMLA cream).
Statistics on Declawing Although vets have certainly changed their attitudes and now try to seek alternatives to declawing, 72% of vets responding to the survey still perform declaws when requested. Only 24% of us said we no longer declaw.