Dear Daisy Dog
I read your column opposing ear cropping. What do you think about cutting tails and removing dewclaws?
I’m glad I have a nice long tail, because I use it to communicate with people and other dogs.
Without it, I wouldn’t be able to signal joy, fear or alertness. If other dogs misinterpreted my feelings, they’d likely react inappropriately, even aggressively.
Dewclaws, better known to you humans as thumbs and big toes, neither help nor harm us dogs, so there’s generally no reason to remove them.
The exception is a dangling rear dewclaw that catches in carpets and bedspreads. Sometimes removal prevents bloody injuries.
However, tails and dewclaws are usually amputated without anesthesia during the first week of life, which is hardly humane.
So most of us dogs should be allowed to grow up with all our appendages –- ears, tails and toes -– intact.