Dog Dewclaw Injuries: Everything You Need to Know | Great Pet Care

How many toes does your frank have ? It may surprise you to learn that the solution varies from frank to dog. It could be angstrom few as 16 or vitamin a many as 24 ! Most dogs have five toes on their front paws ( four weight-bearing toes and a short toe, normally called the dewclaw ) and four toes on their rear hand. Some dogs, however, may besides have a dewclaw, or even two dewclaws, on their back paw .
As destiny would have it, the toe that ’ mho smallest in size turns out to be the one that causes dogs—and their humans—the most trouble .

What is a Dewclaw on a Dog?

puppy sitting with paws up The dewclaw is the small, non-weight-bearing toe on the inside of a chase ’ s battlefront or back leg. Almost all dogs have dewclaws on their front hand, but some will besides have dewclaws on their hind limbs. Certain breeds, such as the Great Pyrenees and anatolian Shepherds, will have a double dewclaw, meaning that they have two extra toes on the back feet. The norwegian Lundehund, a rare pawl engender, boasts at least six toes on each foot ! ( 1 )
The front dewclaw is typically a amply formed toe, meaning that it has bones and is securely attached to the limb. More much than not, rear dewclaws are only attached by skin or a little tendon and are a lot more mobile and tend to flop around. however, on occasion, they can besides have a bony attachment.

Dog digging hole in the ground contrary to popular impression, front dewclaws are not just extra appendages. Front dewclaws are actually useful to dogs who have them. In fact, dogs regularly use them to grasp and stabilize toys or treats while chewing. Dogs besides use their battlefront dewclaw for digging and to provide grip as they hoist themselves up onto raised surfaces, like the couch or even over fences .
Research even suggests that the dewclaws contact the ground when dogs are running at high speeds ( 2 ). When this happens, the dewclaw digs into the ground, preventing the lie of the limb from twisting .

Common Dog Dewclaw Injuries

Dog declaw injury and owner holding dog The dewclaws are injured more frequently than early andiron claws. Signs of a dewclaw injury include lameness, bleed, excessive lick, swelling or warmth around the toe, and yelping or flinching when you touch the affected arm. Any of these signs mean that your pawl should see a veterinarian .
Keep in mind that some dogs are very stoic and may mask signs of pain. even if your dog international relations and security network ’ t showing it, if you notice they have a dewclaw injury, it is likely causing them a batch of pain .
The most park dewclaw issues include :

Torn or broken dewclaws

Active dog running Dewclaws can well become snag during play or work due to their position on the inside of the stage. consequently, torn or break dance dewclaws are common in highly active dogs. Broken dewclaws can be quite bally for such a small toe, but the amount of blood often depends on how badly the breeze through is broken .
When a dog ’ south dewclaw is tear or broken, the “ promptly ” of the nail is much left exposed. The quick of the collar houses the collar ’ s nerves and blood supply, so it is fabulously painful when injured. An exposed flying is then medium that even cold breeze can feel uncomfortable .
Dog at the vet having paw taken care of Torn or broken dewclaws require medical attention. A bind can be applied at home to help stop any bleed, but this should not be a substitute for veterinary wish. When your dog tears or breaks a dewclaw, the veterinarian will need to remove any depart of the nail that is mobile or entirely partially attached, as any mobility of the nail will continue to irritate the unwrap flying. adjacent, they will clean the area carefully with an antiseptic solution and shave the hair away from the complete to prevent infection. additionally, a bind may be applied to the hand for a few days to help protect the sensitive promptly. It is very crucial to ensure the bandage is not so fast it limits circulation to the rest of the hand, as that could cause serious complications. Your pet will likely have to wear an Elizabethan collar ( normally called an e-collar ) to prevent them from tearing off their bandage or licking the dewclaw, which can cause infection. finally, your veterinarian will likely prescribe your cad pain relief medications and antibiotics .
thankfully, andiron nails grow and heal promptly. After a few days, the agile is normally no longer sensitive, and your pet ’ mho nail will begin to regrow. Within a few weeks, the breeze through will look relatively convention .

Overgrown dewclaws

Dog looking to camera and worried as he has an overgrown dewclaw Dewclaws are more likely to become overgrow since they don ’ thyroxine wear down from regular surface touch, particularly in more sedentary animals who do not dig or play frequently. Overgrown dewclaws are besides more likely to snag on things, like the carpet or couch, and become tear or fracture.

fortunately, all it takes to fix overgrown chase dewclaws is the childlike practice of regular breeze through trim. ( Check out our bit-by-bit tutorial on How to Use Dog Nail Clippers here. ) The quick of the nail grows as the nail grows, indeed pet parents must be careful when trimming overgrown dewclaws, and alone trim small pieces away at a fourth dimension. With regular trimmings, the promptly will finally recede .

Ingrown dewclaws

Dog having dewclaw cut from vet due to their natural curvature, overgrown declaw will finally grow into the flesh of the toe if left unbridled. This is common in long-haired breeds, whose coats much hide overgrowing dewclaws from positron emission tomography parents. It ’ second besides common in dogs who are active and naturally wear down their other nails with regular play. Since they aren ’ triiodothyronine going to the groomer or the veterinary clinic for regular collar trimmings, their dewclaws aren ’ t regularly maintained. As you can imagine, a dewclaw curling into the darling ’ sulfur pulp is very atrocious, and a veterinarian visit is required .
Your veterinarian will carefully trim the ingrowing dewclaw, clean the hurt, and may besides apply a bandage for a few days. additionally, your andiron will need pain relief medication deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as antibiotics. It ’ s a commodity theme to have your pawl wear an e-collar for a week or two while the wound is healing to prevent them from licking the wound, which can delay healing and cause infection .

Infected dewclaws 

Dog dewclaw infections normally arise from injury to the smash itself or minor abrasions to the skin near the dewclaw. Infections of the dewclaw are besides common in dogs who chew their paws regularly and transfer bacteria from their mouth to the nail bed. These are normally bacterial infections, but can sometimes be fungal. If you notice your andiron licking the area more than normal, smell a afoul olfactory property near your positron emission tomography, or see plutonium in the hair around the affect toe, an infect dewclaw could be the perpetrator .
Prompt veterinary manage is crucial if you suspect an infect dewclaw, as infection can spread to the bone of the toe if left untreated. Your veterinarian will perform a full forcible examination to help determine the beginning of the infection and may need to run extra tests, such as a nail down bed cytology, blood exercise, and radiogram ( x-ray ) .
discussion will vary based on the implicit in cause of your frank ’ sulfur dewclaw infection. Most treatment plans will include oral anti-inflammatory medications, oral antibiotics and/or antifungals, and paw soaks. Soaking the paw in a dilute chlorhexidine solution or Epsom salts can help draw out plutonium and reduce inflammation. Your veterinarian may besides recommend an e-collar to prevent your frump from licking the infection locate, and you ’ ll indigence to keep the affect metrical foot clean and dry during the healing process .

Should You Cut a Dog’s Dewclaw?

Close up of dog's paw Given that the dewclaws do not touch the establish ( unless running at gamey rush as noted earlier ), the nails of dewclaws do not wear down naturally like those of the weight-bearing digits. therefore, it ’ south authoritative for pet parents to know whether or not their dog has dewclaws and check them regularly for overgrowth, specially in dogs with retentive or shagged coats. If the complete seems long or is beginning to curl, it needs to be trimmed .
Some dogs are very frightened of having their nails trimmed, likely because they ’ ve had their flying cut in the by, which can be irritating and traumatic. If your cad is very sinuate or fearful when you try to cut their nails, it ’ randomness best to take them to a professional groomer or a veterinarian clinic .
If your dog is tolerant of collar shave, tending to the dewclaws can be a childlike DIY task. If the complete is absolved, it ’ sulfur easy to spot the quick and avoid cutting it. In dogs with dark or black nails, make certain to take little bits of the nail at a time, and stop cutting if your pet reacts painfully or at the foremost sign of lineage. If you do cut the agile, astringent powder or cornstarch can be applied to stop the bleed .

How to Prevent Dog Dewclaw Injuries

Dog dewclaw having nails trimmed The best way to prevent dog dewclaw injuries is to trim the nail regularly. Some dogs will need the dewclaw nails trimmed more frequently than others, depending on how quickly their nails grow. When the dewclaw is kept short-circuit, it ’ mho army for the liberation of rwanda less likely to become break and tear.

Dewclaws can be completely removed by your veterinarian to help prevent injuries. This is not recommended for front dewclaws or dewclaws that have a bony attachment. however, it is a simple operation for dewclaws that are floppy and only attached by skin or a small tendon. Your veterinarian can help determine if removing the dewclaw is an choice for your darling .
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