Verternarians remove a dog's dew claws when they are still puppies, often before they are five days old, according to Vetinfo. Generally, dog claw removal refers only to the removal of a dog's dew claws.
The procedure causes pain because it does not include the option of using sedatives. Veternarians believe that the use of anaesthesia has adverse effects on the health of the animal as well as on the safety of the pet and its caretakers. Accordingly, they describe the procedure as similar to ripping off a live thumb from a human hand without anaesthesia.
However, Vetinfo also indicates that veternarians sometimes remove dew claws when spaying a dog because the spaying procedure require general anaesthesia, making the removal less painful. Veternarians may also recommend removing a dog's dew claws if it sustains some form of injury to them.
As described by Vetinfo, a dew claw is not dead despite its status as a vestigal organ, which is why its removal is painful. If not removed at an early stage, the owner should monitor the dew claw closely for six months and report any abnormalities to a veternarian because an abnormal dew claw may lead to an injury or other complication.