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What are dewclaws and why do dog’s need them? The dewclaw on dogs can be found on the inside of the front and back legs. You can see an example in the image below. They are essentially the thumbs of the dog world but don’t necessarily serve the same purpose as human thumbs do.

WHAT IS THE DEWCLAW?

Dewclaws are simply another “toe” on the dog’s foot. They do not come in contact with the ground when a dog is walking. Some dog’s have a dewclaw on the front legs but not the back, vice versa, or none all together. Dewclaws are sometimes removed when dogs are young, although this can be controversial. There are cases when dogs catch this claw on something and tear it from the leg, leaving the dog in pain with no choice but to remove it.

WHY DOGS HAVE A DEWCLAW

Often you will see dogs using these claws when they are chewing on a bone. They use it to stabilize the chew or toy in their paws. You can also see them using it when they are running and playing. When a dog cuts and turns they use the dewclaw to stabilize and grip better, this mainly occurs on the front feet.

Cats also have dewclaws!

KEEP THE PAWS HEALTHY

If you regularly trim your pet’s nails, make sure you are getting the dew claw. This will reduce the likely hood of snagging them. You should be taking care of your dog’s paws as they are extremely important for both physical and mental health. If your dog hurts their paws, they are not able to get out and play, run, or walk as they normally would until they heal. While you’re trimming your dog’s nails, check out our Nose and Paw Protection Balm, made for dry paws to stay hydrated and healthy!

If you want to want to hear from a vet on whether you should remove the declaws or not, here’s a great article!