Can A Dog Be Declawed? (Pros, Cons, Warnings)

You may be wondering whether your dog can be declawed. 

You may be wondering this because your dog has scratched your new sofa to pieces. Or perhaps they have dug up your new carpet?

Maybe your dog gets a bit too excited and accidentally claws you and others when it jumps up ripping your t-shirts or clothes.

Whatever your reasoning behind researching this, it is only natural to wonder.

However, can a dog be declawed? And if they can, is it something you should do? 

Let's sink our claws into this one...

DISCLOSURE: is reader supported so if you buy any products featured on this site I may earn an affiliate commission (at no extra cost to yourself). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 
You can read my full disclosure here.

What Is Declawing?

The act of declawing is a surgical procedure that involves removing the third toe bone (phalanx) from an animal.

Medically it is called Onychectomy. The procedure in itself is a rather controversial one and it is understandable why many people oppose it. 

Declawing is not a necessary procedure and often it is done to prevent scratches or for vanity purposes.

The procedure is commonly used for cats. It does not provide the cat with any benefits and is not as simple as trimming a cat’s nails. The reality is far grimmer than this. 

If you were to compare a cat’s claw to a human finger, the act of declawing would not remove all of the finger, but rather the finger down to the first knuckle.

As you can see, this is not a pleasant procedure and should be avoided unless necessary.

can a dog be declawed

Why Declawing Should Be Avoided

Declawing should be avoided where possible because it is not necessary for an animal. 

Although the procedure can be carried out by your veterinarian, this does not necessarily mean that it should be.

We would recommend finding alternative solutions instead.

Can A Dog Be Declawed?

Moving on from the discussion about cat’s claws, you may be wondering whether or not a dog can be declawed. 

As a cat can be declawed, it is only natural to assume that the same can be done to a dog too. If your dog scratches you a lot or has ruined your new hardwood floor, you may be considering it.

The answer to this question is not straightforward. In short, yes, a dog can be declawed.

However, in almost all instances, a dog should not be declawed. As we have discussed in regards to cats already, a dog does not need to be declawed.

There is no need to do this unless of course, a trained veterinarian has recommended it.

In a very small number of cases, declawing a dog may be necessary if, for example, there is a bad infection or a medical condition.

However, in day to day life, the notion of declawing a dog should not be considered. Again, this is a controversial topic, and many people strongly oppose it. 

What Happens If A Dog Is Declawed?

While you may think that it is only part of the nail, declawing can have a big knock-on effect on your dog.

To begin with, your dog’s balance will be shifted significantly. This is due to the shape of a dog’s paw and how they walk.

When you declaw a dog, their weight shifts and they can overcompensate and even injure themselves as a result of this. 

In addition to this, declawing could affect how your dog naturally acts. An animal should always be able to act in a way that is natural to them. 

Alternatives To Declawing

As declawing is something that should only be carried out when necessary, you should be aware of how to correctly look after your dog’s nails.

Unlike cats, dogs do not scratch with their nails in the same way. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your dog’s nails are kept in good shape.

There are a few things that you should regularly do to ensure this.

Nail clipping is important. If you do not regularly clip your dog’s nails they can split, snap, or become overgrown.

All of these can be uncomfortable and painful for your dog. Nail clipping removes just the tip of the nail and helps to keep your dog’s nails nice and healthy.

While this is a fairly simple task, it can take some getting used to. You will also need to ensure that you are not cutting your dog’s nails down too far. Blood runs through your dog's nails.

Given this, if you clip the nail past the dog’s quick, it is painful and will bleed significantly.

If you are not comfortable with clipping your dog’s nails, you can purchase a nail grinder which is a little safer. It grinds the nail down slowly.

As with the clippers, you will need to ensure to not go down to the quick.

If you are nervous to do this yourself, a local groomer or veterinarian will be able to carry this out regularly for you instead.


As you can see, declawing is possible when it comes to dogs. However, just because something is possible, does not mean that it should be used as a solution.

Declawing is not a solution to a problem and should only be used when necessary and recommended by a vet.

Regular nail upkeep should involve grinding your dog’s nails down or clipping them instead.