Dog Dewclaws: Everything You Need to Know

Dog dewclaw

Ever question why dogs have dewclaws? Some people believe that it is a vestigial digit, yet dogs in the wild still use it. Many dogs have short claws on the sides of their legs, and if yours does, you might be wondering what they are for. To know more about this, read on. In this article, we will take a look at everything you need to know about dog dewclaws.

What are dewclaws?

Dewclaws are basically the thumbs and large toes of the dog world. Of course, these are not exact replicas of human structures, but they are close. Take a look at your dog’s front. The toes that touch the ground while standing corresponds to our little, ring, middle, and index fingers. The same is true of your dog's hind leg, where the dewclaw is the "large toe."

Why do dogs have dewclaws?

Originally, dogs used their dewclaws in climbing, digging, gripping while running or turning direction, gripping food while feeding, and pulling themselves out of water or holes. Many working, agility and sports breeds still use it on their jobs. The declaws that are attached to the bone on a dog's front leg have a specific purpose. Dogs' front feet often bend to the point where their dewclaws touch the ground when they run.

These dewclaws provide extra traction and help calm the carpal joint at high speeds (particularly when turning) or on slick surfaces. Dewclaws can also be used to help dogs climb trees, grasp objects for better chewing, or climb out of the water if they have broken through the ice.

Are there only front leg dewclaws?

All dogs have front dewclaws on the front legs. But, dewclaws on the hind legs are uncommon. A lot of dogs have "dewclaws" on their front legs, and occasionally on their hind legs also. It is not rare for dogs to have front dewclaws, but it is rare for them to also appear on the hind legs.

Can a dog have double dewclaws?

Double dewclaws are uncommon in most dogs. However, some breeds are required to have double dewclaws. It is their breed requirement. If Briard or Great Pyrenees is to compete in formal dog shows, they must have double dewclaws.

Is it necessary to remove dewclaw?

The short answer is no after knowing everything there is to know about dewclaws. For a healthy dog, removing the dewclaw provides no genuine medical benefit. Though infection may be enough reason to remove the dewclaw, there are also medicines and other treatment methods for dog dewclaw infection. If the treatment and medication cannot be saved, the decision to remove it should always be made in consultation with a veterinarian.

How to take care of dewclaws?

When your dog walks, its dewclaws sit along the inner sides of his paws. But they don't touch the ground. Some dogs have dewclaws on all four paws, whereas others only have one or two, or none at all. In general, dog dewclaws require the same care as the rest of the toes. It is the same with the rest of the claws. You only need to trim them if they are long; they will usually trim themselves. You should never remove a dog's front dewclaws since they serve a purpose, physicians are increasingly removing loose hind dewclaws from newborn puppies.

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