What If My Dog Keeps Injuring Her Dewclaw?
Occasionally, a dewclaw is repeatedly injured or infected, or it may just seem to bother the dog relentlessly after several injuries. This is not the norm, and most cases of injured nails will heal and don’t need to be removed. However, you and your veterinarian might decide it’s best to have the dewclaw removed altogether if it’s constantly causing issues.
Distract your pet with attention and affection when she starts licking the sites of her removed dew claws. Play with her, take her for a walk, give her a favorite toy or buy her a new puzzle toy or two.
Put an Elizabethan or inflatable collar on your dog if you just cant keep her away from the sites of the removed dew claws or the bandages. Elizabethan collars can be a bit scary for dogs and make mobility a challenge, though, so stop using one if its a problem for your pet, after you consult your vet. Inflatable collars are often better, since they dont enclose the entire head and limit vision. However, cheaper ones are prone to punctures, and they arent always adequate to stop a long-snout dog from managing to lick the dew claw sites.
Change the bandages daily or if they become soiled. Keep replacing them as necessary until the surgical wounds heal, or as your vet recommends.
Spray the sites and the areas around the sites, or the bandages, with a commercial anti-lick product for dogs. Read labels carefully to determine its safe to use a given product. Many cannot be applied directly to wounds without stinging or causing other problems; but increasingly, products are becoming available that are good to use on or around wounds.
Dew claws are like purposeless canine thumbnails. They grow a bit further up the leg than other claws, usually on the backs of the front legs. They dont touch the ground when your dog stands or walks, but they can when she runs. Removal may be advised for deformed or poorly attached dew claws; or you may elect to remove them from a sporting dog, who might rip one during a chase. Otherwise, dew claws are best left alone. Your dogs likely to lick the site if ones removed, and that can impede healing and possibly cause irritation or infection.
When Things Go Wrong: Dog Dewclaw Injuries
Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for dogs to get dewclaw injuries. If the dewclaw is too long, it can snag and get caught, causing the nail to twist and break, or in severe cases, even dislocate the bones inside the digit. A dog’s broken dew claw can leave the quick exposed and bleeding, but sometimes even a tiny crack can cause significant issues.
Cracks in the nail are harder to spot than a clean break, and if not managed properly, the dewclaw can become infected, either from chewing or by your dog licking a sore dewclaw. An infected dew claw will need treatment at the vet, including antibiotics.
Dog Excessive Paw Licking: Stop It With Natural Recipe
What are dewclaws, and do dogs need them? Find out why dogs have dewclaws, common injuries with dewclaws, if they should be removed, and more. Table Of Contents
Dewclaws are a common name for the non-weight-bearing digits on the inside of a dog’s leg. They sit slightly higher than the other digits, normally off the ground when a dog is standing. Structurally speaking, dewclaws are the equivalent of our thumbs and big toes.
Nearly all dogs have dewclaws on the inside of their front legs, but only some have them on their hind legs. Some dogs even have double dewclaws on their back legs and wear them as a badge of honor.
Dogs with hind dewclaws tend to be large or giant breeds, hailing from snowy, mountainous regions or those used as working livestock dogs. These include Beaucerons, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernards, and a few other breeds.
Dewclaws are vestigial digits, which means they retain the structure of a digit but have lost some of their ancestral function. Dewclaws are built like any other toe, with bone, muscle, blood supply, and nerves. But they usually have one or two fewer bones than a normal digit, which has three phalanges. In working dogs especially, dewclaws still have a significant functional purpose for balance and increased traction when running, jumping, stopping, and cutting, as well as gripping objects.