Great Dane Dewclaw Removal
Dew Claws, fashionable or practical?
Lets be sure we are talking about the same thing. Generally dewclaws refer to the nail that is separate from the other four on the front paws or forepaws and are located further up the leg. For the purists out there, dewclaws refer to the separated nail/digit on the rear paws. Some purists may call the front dewclaws the first digit.
Why remove Dewclaws
One argument for removing dewclaws is to prevent the dog experiencing discomfort if they rip or damage it later on in life. This can be caused by them pawing through fences and other such activities. Those that advocate removing the dewclaw often state that this is a redundant nail and serves no purpose.
Dewclaws require more trimming than the normal nails due to not receiving as much wear as the other nails although extra trimming by the owner takes care of this.
Another reason for removal could be the scratching caused when they jump up to you although training your dog to not jump up unless on command should be part of your usual dog training.
Why keep Dewclaws
I have personally seen Great Danes use the Dewclaws for manipulation of bones, sticks and toys and to scratch their noses. If you look at an article written by Fred Lanting, he goes on to say he has seen them used for removing debris from teeth and eyes.
Unless you are going to remove them yourself, which some people do, you will need to go to the vet. Time and financial implications aside, the vet office is “disease central”. Every sick animal within a large radius has and is going through that location regularly and transmittable diseases can stick around for weeks. It is possible you can leave with more than you went in with and I have experienced this.
Adult Dewclaw removal
For me, this is where the argument is clear-cut, DEFINITELY NOT unless it is a sporting or working dog and even then it would have to be with very good reason e.g. a history or very high risk of damage.
This operation is a much bigger deal than removing the dewclaw when only a few days old. As a puppy 2-5 day old puppy the dewclaw is simply snipped off like a nail and next to no complications at all apart from the risk of taking them to the vets. For the adult, this requires anaesthetic albeit sometimes a local one and stitches, which the dog is likely to lick constantly. This can be prone to infection requiring another trip to the vet.
In some countries dewclaw removal is illegal.
To remove or not remove, this is your call. From my point of view as an experienced Great Dane owner, I see no reason for removing them as a puppy or adult. I have seen them used for good reason and never had any problems because of them. To remove them purely for aesthetic reasons is just exposing the dog to risk.