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Dog Dew Claws: 6 Things You Must Know

Updated by Amy Granger on Nov 29, 2021

Ever observed the "wobbly" thing that is inside the front leg of your dog? It is called a Dewclaw which is the "first" digit located inside the front leg, slightly higher than the rest of the paws.

Dog breeders, especially the owners who have dogs with double dew claws usually ask their pet's vet "Why does my dog have a dewclaw?"," Is it okay that my dog has a dewclaw?".It is their concern and love for their dog, of course, out of which they think in this direction. If you are searching the "answer" of "these" questions, then you have landed on the right page! (Estupendo!). After thorough research, we have gathered all the major and minute information regarding dewclaws. So without further ado, let's get straight into it!

  • What Are Dewclaws?
  • What DewClaws Are For?
  • Should DewClaws Be Removed?
  • Why DewClaws Break Or Split?
  • What To Do If A Dog Break Nails?
  • How To Trim DewClaws?
  • People Also Ask

According to the dog's world dictionary, a dewclaw is the "first" digit located inside the front leg, slightly higher than the rest of the paws. It is just like a "thumb" for the dog. Of course, its functions are different from the human's thumb, yet it is of great importance. You may also see the dewclaw or the double dewclaw (which is often regarded as polydactyly) on the rear or hind legs of the dog. It is the "toe" in fact. It is a genetic part of some breeds like Pyrenean Mountain Dog or Briard. On other dogs, it is once in a blue moon case.

The front single digit is attached to the bone. Though it wiggles in to and fro motion, you can still feel the "hard part" in it. On the other hand, the double and hind dewclaws are attached to the skin, which tends to make it more wobbly.

dog dew claws

Though dewclaws seldom touch the ground, they still have some importance that is unneglectable. It is important as much as the paw itself is. It supports your dog's limb structure when he/she is running or playing or performing other motions. Its importance is highlighted when the dog takes the turn (at high speed). The dewclaws provide extra traction and prevent extra torque and stabilize the wrist of the dog. With the help of dewclaws, the dog's efficiency to climb the trees doubles. Plus, the grip of the dog on holding things such as toys, and bones increases.

If your dog ever gets into the water, don't worry. The dewclaws by providing extra grip, let your dog come out of trouble.

The efficiency and usefulness of the hind dewclaws leg are under discussion. Since they are loosely attached to the skin, their uses and benefits are unclear.

dog running

Removal of dewclaws from the dogs was a "lovable" tradition for dog breeders, veterinarians, and dog owners until the benefits of dewclaws were disclosed. Still, the dewclaws are removed by many people for several reasons. Like, to make their dog more pretty and groomed. But we strongly recommend you to not remove the dewclaws, especially the front dewclaws.

Dewclaws have a lot of benefits within it. A dog, without its dewclaws, can face many medical complexities. He/she tends to put more stress on the carpus, elbow, spine, and shoulder bones. This case becomes more prominent when the dog is running, playing, or is doing other activities. This may make your dog a "patient" of laxity and arthritis(If your dog is facing such a problem, do not worry, there are a lot of exercises which maintain the dog's health like side stepping and weight shifting work).

But in some cases, the removal of dewclaws becomes necessary for the dog's health. For instance, if the dewclaw of your dog is injured badly or the dewclaw is swallowing or you feel the rise of some medical disorders, immediately seeks veterinarian assistance. Do not try to remove the dewclaw all by yourself. Let the vet decide, whether it is necessary to remove the dewclaw or not.

dewclaws break

As all dogs are not alike, their habits are different from one another, the damaging case also differs. There are several cases and possibilities where your dog may injure its dewclaw or maybe, the dewclaw is broken completely. If your dog is enthusiastic and is a game lover, he/she may injure or broke the dewclaw during the game. Similarly, if the dog is overweighted or does not get the ideal walk, this may result in breaking of dewclaw.

Also, your dog may "bump" into woods or other stuff which may break or injure his/her dewclaw. Of all the reasoning, the biggest reason behind the broken, split and injure dewclaw is the uncared "ingrown" nail.

The dewclaw starts to bend when it is ingrown, forming a "hook" shape. This hook lets your dog easily catch the stuff around him.

Do make sure you trim the dewclaw regularly so that your dog does not face such a situation.


Usually, nails are not broken easily. But if your dog has broken its nails, immediately seek vet assistance. Broken nails are open to infectious diseases and trauma, that is why Do not try to medicate your dog all by yourself. Breaking the nail is a painful adventure for the dog. The dog needs complete assistance and medication.

  • If the nail is completely or partially broken, the vet will gently remove the complete nail and apply anti-biotics, and will do dressing on it.
  • Similarly, if the nail is partially broken or is split, the remnants of the nail will be removed completely by the vet.
All these processes are carried out by sedating the dog. If you try to carry out all the process by yourself, believe me, you are simply convincing your dog to not trust you again.

Trimming DewClaws is similar to trimming other nails of the paws. What you have to do:

  1. Choose the best and painless trimmer. We will recommend using Rechargeable Electric Dog Nail Grinder as it comes up with lots of durable qualities like 2 adjustable speeds mode etc. Indeed, it will be a painless trimmer for your dog.
  2. Trim the dewclaws until the hook shape disappears. When you feel the nail is straight, then do not trim further. Otherwise, you will cause your dog to bleed and cry in pain.
  3. You can check the "straightening" of your dewclaw by following the simple rule: If your finger easily slides away through the nail, then it is perfectly straight. It is the ideal size of dewclaw for your dog.
How Much Does Dog DewClaws Removal Cost?
Usually, it costs $30-$40 to remove the dewclaws of a puppy. It may be up in your locality. If you are willing to remove the dewclaws of your elder dog, then the dog will go under surgery, Surgery rate differs from hospital to hospital.
Why Do Dogs Have Dewclaws?
Dogs have dewclaws by birth. Some dogs also have rear dewclaws. Dewclaws provide extra strength to your dog by providing extra traction and prevent torque.
Is dewclaw removal painful?
If you are willing to remove the dewclaw of a puppy, then this procedure is carried out by not giving them anesthesia. The puppy feels pain, but he/she will recover. But in the case of an adult dog, proper surgery is carried out.
Do all dogs have dewclaws?
Almost all dogs have dewclaws on their front leg. There are some breeds that have double and rear dewclaws like Pyrenean Mountain Dog and Briard.
Amy Granger
Amy is an editor from iPetor, owns a 4-year experience in writing tips and tutorial for users. As a pet owner, she will share more pets care methods and recommend more useful products for all pet owners.
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