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Popularly known as the thumbs of dogs, dewclaws are the vestigial digit that is found on the foot of most birds, mammals, and reptiles. Unlike the rest of the dog toes, the dewclaw is found up, on the leg of your four-legged friend. The dewclaw may look like an extra digit but it is actually useful to dogs. They use their dewclaws to provide more traction and stop the legs from twisting or getting injured when they are making sudden turns while sprinting. Dogs use their dewclaws to grasp onto objects so that they can gnaw them to their heart’s content. They also use their dewclaws to reach difficult-to-reach spots when they need to get rid of an itch. Here are 5 things you shouldn’t ignore when it comes to a dog’s dewclaws.
- Long nailFor a majority of the dogs, the dewclaw is located higher than the rest of toes which means that the nail doesn’t get worn out as the rest of the toenails. This will allow the nail to grow unhindered if the length of the nail isn’t checked; there is a possibility that the nail might get embedded in the paw pad. Always trim the nail of the dewclaw to stop it from happening.
- Swollen lookIf the dewclaw looks bigger than usual, you should get it take a look at it. As dogs are active animals, there is always a chance of their dewclaw getting injured when they are running about. On top of that, the dewclaw may not be properly attached to the leg of the dog, which will make it weaker than normal. Take your dog to the vet if it looks swollen.
- Looks out of place (dislocated)There are chances of the dewclaw getting dislocated as the nail can get stuck onto a surface due to its location. This will cause severe discomfort and the dog may stop you from touching the dewclaw. If the dewclaw looks like it is out of place from the leg of the dog, it probably got dislocated.
- Bloody surroundingIf there is blood surrounding the dewclaw, you need to get it checked immediately. The dewclaw tends to be loosely attached to the leg which makes it easy for dogs to hurt it. If the dewclaw gets cut, it’s possible for it to get infected which can spread throughout the body if left unchecked.
- Abnormal colorDogs love digging up sand and making holes in the ground. At times, your dog may get over excited and it can hurt the nail of its dewclaw. This can be due to the ground being harder than usual or if there is a stone that the dog digs up by mistake. The nail can get damaged due to the impact which will result in discoloration. Check with the vet to see what you should do to treat it.
The dewclaw is small and can go unnoticed by the owner as it is easy to overlook. Remember that even the smallest things matter so always keep an eye on how the dewclaw looks so that your dog can live a life that is pain-free.