Removal of Dew Claws

Contrary to some opinion, the removal of dogs’ dew claws is not currently illegal under the Animal Welfare Act.

While it is illegal under the mutilations clause of the act to carry out a prohibited procedure which involves interference with the sensitive tissues or bone structure of a protected animal otherwise than for the purpose of its medical treatment, permitted procedures are listed in the Mutilations (Permitted Procedures) (England) Regulations 2007.

Schedule 1 of the regulations lists the removal of the dew claws of dogs as a permitted procedure. Schedule 9 goes on to clarify that anaesthetic must be administered except where the dog is a puppy whose eyes have not yet opened as per the Veterinary Surgeons Act. Therefore legislation in relation to dewclaws remains unchanged and a layperson or veterinary surgeon may continue to remove the dewclaws of puppies whose eyes have not yet opened.

The Kennel Club’s position is that it does not support the cosmetic removal of dew claws. It does recognise however that in certain individual circumstances the removal of dew claws is in the best interests of a dog’s welfare.

It should also be noted that there is no requirement within any of the Kennel Club Breed Standards that dew claws must be removed.

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