Interesting thread. I've always been kind of irritated at my vet who refused to remove Lucy's dew claws when I had her spayed. The nails on dew claws are SO HARD to clip. Any helpful hints? I've tried doing it right after bath with her paws wet but even that doesn't work. There's not enough "claw" to pull away from the paw and keep all the hair (even when wet) away from the pedi-paw grinder I use.
By the time they are getting neutered or spayed, it is WAY too late to remove dew claws just for convenience sake. By that point, it is major, painful, surgery, like declawing a cat.
If it's going to be done, it needs to be done when they are newborns. At that point, they do not have as much blood flow, and the bones have not hardened. I do not believe that it's not painful, but NOTHING like if you do it when they are older.
Sine I am involved in dog sports, I would never remove a dog's dew claws. Nor would I want to purchase a pup with dew claws removed. The dew claws are important for traction on obstacles and on the ground during tight turns at speed. Dogs who do sports and try to compensate for the lack of dew claws, often sustain microfractures. There is a great deal of scientific evidence (I've posted the links here before) that, over time, these microfractures lead to more arthritic changes in the wrists of dogs who have had their dew claws removed over the normal population. Dogs that no longer have their dew claws, don't have that digit to act as a stabilizer. And we call it "removing the dew claw" but it's really an entire digit that is removed, not "just" a claw!
I'm sure it makes much less difference in the long-term soundness of the dog if the dog is "just" a pet. But I still wouldn't do it. To me, the reasoning that it can keep them from hurting their dew claw later, could be used on every toe on their feet! No one would consider removing ALL their toes "just in case"!
Yes, it's a bit of work to maintain the dew claws, but, IMO, that's part of caring for your animal. Dew claws are not an extraneous bit of fluff, they serve an important purpose on the anatomy of a dog. When they are removed, it is for human convenience or because people are well-meaning but not fully informed, not for the well-being of the dog.