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Dog Dewclaw Injury & Treatment Options

When you’ve held your dog’s paws in your hands, then you may have noticed the long, little claw that doesn’t quite look like the others.

This inner claw is not present on all dogs, and it is called the declaw.

You need to know about the dog declaw in case your pup has one and it gets injured.

What You Should Know About The Dog Dewclaw

When you’re inspecting your dogs paws, you may mistake the dewclaw as a sort of canine thumb.

While the dewclaw may look like a thumb do to it’s position on the canine paw, it really is a claw.

Though not all dogs have them, the dewclaw does serve a purpose – it gives your dog something to use for extra grip when chewing on a toy or something else.

The best way to prevent dog dewclaw injuries is to trim the nail regularly.

dog dew claw

Dew Claw Injuries

Now that you know what a dog dew claw is, it is likely easy for you to see how it can be injured.

Sadly, the dew claw is a bit fragile in that it can easily be torn off, which results in bleeding around the area.

As you might imagine, an injured dew claw is very painful for your dog.

Injuries that can occur include:

  • overgrown dew claw
  • ripped or torn to the quick dewclaw
  • cracked or broken dew claw
  • infected dew claw

Here are some signs to look for that your dog has a dew claw injury:

  • limping
  • bleeding
  • crying out when you try to touch the area
  • swollen or inflamed skin in surrounding area
  • long, curling dew claw (means it is ingrown)
  • dangling piece of dew claw after a break
  • dog licking dew claw area excessively
  • awkward placement of dewclaw due to dislocating the dew claw

How To Treat Dew Claw Injuries

If your dog is bleeding from the dew claw area, then the first thing that you need to do is to stop that bleeding.

A bandaged is a good way to treat that problem.

If your dog has broken the dew claw and a bit of it is dangling, then all you need to do is clip it and trim it so that no further injury occurs.

You can always take your dog to the vet to have the dew claw inspected.

Sometimes the vet completely removes the dew claw to treat the injury.

Will A Broken Or Injured Dew Claw Heal Itself?

Yes, if the dew claw injury is not too bad, then it can heal itself without needing a visit to the vet.

In such an instance, you can simply bandage the dew claw and use bitter apply spray to keep the dog from messing with the bandage and injury area.

For more serious injuries to the dew claw, fish oil for dogs has been shown to speed up the healing process.

But make sure you have consulted with your vet before attempting to let it heal on it’s own.

For a dislocated dew claw, you need to take your dog to the vet to have the injury treated properly.

How To Tell If The Dew Claw Is Infected

As you might expect, a dew claw injury can get infected if you’re not careful.

And sometimes, even if you are careful and have sought the help of a vet, it can still get infectected.

Here are the signs the dew claw is infected:

  • swollen and red
  • discharge from the area
  • sensitive for the dog when you touch it
  • still bleeding

The best thing to do if you think the dogs dew claw is infected is to take your dog to the vet to have it looked at and treated.

Infections can end up serious if not properly treated.

What If My Dog Keeps Licking Their Dewclaw?

Most of the time, your dog licking his dew claw is nothing to worry about – unless their is an injury.

If you notice excessive licking, then inspect the dew claw area to look for signs of an injury or infection.

You can also try putting bitter apply spray on the area to discourage the licking.

But, if your dog won’t stop, then it’s best to take your dog to the vet to have it looked at.

Final Word

Though not all dogs have a dew claw on their paws, it is a good idea to keep a check on your dog’s paws if he does have a dew claw.

The dew claw is prone to injury, so you should familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms above so that you are well prepared in the event of a dew claw injury.

And remember, the best way to prevent dog dewclaw injuries is to trim the nail regularly.

image: Elf, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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2 thoughts on “Dog Dewclaw Injury & Treatment Options”

  1. Can you put rubbing alcohol on the injured dew claw? My dog got it hung up and pulled almost off. We bandaged it when it happened 2 days ago and finally got him to let us remove the bandage but he won’t stop licking it.


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National Canine Research Association of America