what is a dogs dew claw

what is a dogs dew claw


What is a Dog’s Dew Claw?

The world of our four-legged companions is full of surprises, and today, we’re uncovering one of the lesser-known aspects of their anatomy – the dew claw.

What is a Dew Claw?

The dew claw, your dog’s little thumb-like appendage on the inner part of their paw, is a remnant of their evolutionary past. Unlike the rest of their claws that touch the ground and aid in walking, the dew claw doesn’t always reach the ground. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s unnecessary. Like an appendix in humans, it has its uses!

The Purpose of the Dew Claw

The dew claw might appear redundant but it is a multifunctional tool:
– For dogs, it’s like an extra thumb that aids in holding bones or toys while chewing.
– It gives extra traction while running or making sharp turns.
– In breeds like the St. Bernard, it helps in navigating icy terrains.

Moreover, some dogs have a ‘double dew claw’ – a unique feature in breeds like the Great Pyrenees and Briard.

Dew Claw Care

  1. Regular inspection: Check the dew claw regularly for any signs of injury or infection.
  2. Trimming: Unlike other claws, the dew claw doesn’t wear down naturally, so you’ll need to trim it.
  3. Monitor: Keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort when your dog is walking or running.

Remember, if you’re unsure about trimming your dog’s dew claw yourself, a professional groomer or vet can help.

Dew Claw Injuries

Though rare, dew claw injuries can occur, especially in active dogs. If your dog is limping or the dew claw is bleeding, it might be injured. In such cases, immediate veterinary attention is necessary.

Dew Claw Removal

Some breeders remove dew claws from puppies, particularly in breeds where dew claws are considered non-standard. However, removal in adult dogs is more complex and generally only recommended if the claw is causing problems or is at a high risk of injury.

Pros of Removal Cons of Removal
Prevents potential injuries Can be a painful procedure
Easier grooming Can affect a dog’s mobility

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a dew claw?

A: It’s the claw on the inner part of your dog’s paw, which doesn’t always touch the ground.

Q: Does every dog have a dew claw?

A: Most dogs have dew claws on their front paws, but not all have them on their back paws.

Q: Is dew claw removal necessary?

A: It’s generally only recommended if the claw is causing problems or is at a high risk of injury.

In conclusion, the dew claw may be a small part of your dog’s anatomy, but it plays a significant role in their life. As a caregiver, it’s your responsibility to ensure it’s well cared for.