Ouch! Dew Claw Injury and Treatments Explained!

photo 2What to consider if your dog has a dew claw injury

My friend Hope recently had a dew claw injury, and after finding out how much pain she was in, I knew I must write about it!

Do you know what the dew claw is? On your dog’s front paws, the dew claw is the nail that is located on the side of the paw, not at the top with the other four nails. Since dogs are active creatures, it’s easy for a nail to get caught onto something. Depending on the speed or pressure put onto the dew claw, it could splinter, separate from the paw, or even possibly completely break off.

When I asked Hope how her injury happened, she couldn’t quite articulate it. However, her human mom reported that Hope had been doing a lot of digging near the fence, and suddenly there was yelping, limping, and even worse: a lot of blood. It was obvious that Hope was hurt, but she wasn’t giving her parents an easy time figure out what had happened. After the bleeding seemed to stop, and she could be cleaned up, it became more apparent what had happened. Hope’s dew claw on her front right paw became dislocated, and everyone made an emergency trip to the veterinarian’s office.

photo 1

I didn’t know this at the time, but I’ve learned that dew claws are more susceptible to injury than other nails, as they’re more loosely attached. Also, it’s always important to keep your dog’s nails trimmed, as long or overgrown nails are more likely to get a dew claw injury. In Hope’s situation, it was obvious to her family that she had a dew claw injury. In some cases, this may be less noticeable.

Here are a few things to look out for if you’re suspicious that your dog hurt her dew claw.

Is she favoring one foot or limping? While you may think favoring could mean that she hurt her leg or paw, it could mean she damaged a nail.

Have you noticed that your dog is licking her paw more often than usual? This could indicate an injury, as well.

Is there blood or a visibly swollen or dislocated nail? Those are obvious signs that something may be wrong with your dog’s dew claw.

If your dog has a dew claw injury, you should make an emergency appointment at her veterinarian’s office. The treatment will depend on the type of injury. In many cases, it’s likely the dew claw will be completely removed and then bandaged. This is exactly what happened to Hope. She was given some pain medicine and sent home right after the procedure to rest. Hope’s a licker, so her veterinarian was sure she was going to need a cone collar to protect her paw from her incessant licking, but she ended up being so well behaved.

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Finally, if your dog has been treated for a dew claw injury, you’ll need to examine her bandages daily (or as often as the veterinarian recommends) for signs of infection. If you notice excessive swelling, pus, or bleeding, it might mean you need to take an additional trip to the vet’s office. Remember, infections can spread, so keeping her injury clean is the best way to nurse her back to health again.

Has your dog ever experienced a dew claw injury? Let us know how you handled it in the comments section!

Side note: Do you run a business in the pet industry? Would you like to drive more traffic and sales to your site through a search-optimized pet blog? Get in touch with my office-mates at Lantern Content Marketing!

About Napa 'ze Dog

My name is Napa and I'm the Lantern Content Marketing Adventure Company office dog. They create content for business blogs, so I do my part by blogging about pet stuff. My favorite topic is poop! Since you asked, I'm an F2B Miniature Goldendoodle. Everything else you want to know about me is right over here!

37 comments on “Ouch! Dew Claw Injury and Treatments Explained!

  1. Hi my dog Rosco began licking his dew claws real bad I noticed it was super long and broken hanging off.poor baby!!!!! So i looked up what to do, I tried to clean it for Rosco with peroxide. I took Rosco out for a walk and when we came back in I grabbed the broken part and pulled it off for him….at last he was not fussing.I do recommend going to get but if you can clip or get the hanging nail off do it.

    1. did you just yank it off….my girls claw is completely bent sideways,,,and you can see its hanging off base.. but its not bleeding and shes not in pain unless i touch it

  2. Hope looks exactly like our Bruschi….Carolina Dog! Bruschi caught his dew claw yesterday when he got overly excited and jumped up when someone came in the door. Blood everywhere, we cleaned it, bandaged it, and left a message with the vet to call us Monday morning. We had to put him in his crate because we were on our way out to our daughter’s dance recital right before it happened. He seems ok later that evevning, but we still intend on having the vet check it, I’m thinking they are probably going to remove it.

  3. My LowRhetta’s front dew claw look like she has been pulling on the nail. It’s sideways. I have not seen her do this in a long time so I’m not sure if that’s what happened. She walks really slow and does give in to her paw. Her skin has a red mark along her leg where the dew claw is. Should I try and wrap it to her leg and give her one of Kate’s pain meds.???

  4. My dog hurt his dew claw and there is blood, we examined it and it foesnt seem to be torn much but I am so worried and he is panting a lot now, what should i do?

  5. My dog has ripped half her dew claw off. There was a bit of blood but have washed it and it’s not causing her any pain.
    But should we still take her to the vets?

    1. My dog hurt her dew claw it’s hanging off to the side she is better today .no blood and she dies lick it as lot. Should I take her in to remove it..

  6. My jack russell has a recurring, never ending, torn dew claw issue. His dewclaws get torn/
    ripped at least twice a year if not more. Im pretty sick of it. Hes a voracious digger. its usually always the same one. the claw gets almost totally torn out. It swells up and gets real pinkish and very tender / sore. i get snarl face if i attempt to treat it. What should i do. Thanks.

  7. My chihua is 1 1/2 years old and her dew claw was injured she tried to get out of the truck and her leash caught her dew claw and pulled it no bleeding but very red and swollen

  8. My Stafford dew claw is split , no blood as does not seem to be bothering her , I can touch it and she doesn’t complain wondered if I can clean and bandage without seeing a vet . Have some of her painkillers left from previous illness

  9. My German Shepherd has torn one of her dew claws. She has had some bleeding in the area.
    What lotion or ointment can I put on the area to help with the healing? I plan to wrap the area afterward.

  10. My Louie injured his dew claw Was pulled out of place twisted cracked and bleeding so went to vet who clipped it at top of nail where it was bleeding and cracked he put powder to stop bleeding which was licked off but didn’t tape or give antibiotics for. I’m to watch for infection. It looks more swollen today than yesterday but smells ok and no pus or bleeding. Louie keeps licking it how long do I wait I don’t want him to get abscess and be in worse pain! Thanks!

  11. I took my dog to the vets they sedated her and just cut part of her dew claw off that cost me £172 from Clifton vets in truro.i was quoted £128. I feel really upset for the dog ,that they did not take the dew claw out .I have lost faith in Clifton villa surgery ,leaving the dew claw in the dog instead of removing it .

  12. My jack Russel injured her due claw. She licks it constantly. Unfortunately she won’t let me touch her foot. Her nails are quite long. If I take her to the vet she will have to be put under as no one can get at her foot. Is that best plan of action? Don’t mind the cost just need what’s best for her

  13. Aloha, Bonnard is about 11 months old , He is a standard Labradoodle from New Zealand. I am handicapped and 78 yrs old, so, I can’t get on the floor and examine his foot. But I have noticed him limping when he is playing with my 2 other Standard Poodles , his “bros”….I did notice that his dew claw is long , curled, and thick, among his longish brown hair. He has jumped up on my care givers < looking for help. from my house keepers and care takers… I think, looking for someone to help him. It is 5:30am and I'm going to find someone to help me take him to the vets tomorrow.

    …. Pretty sure it is the ugly massive curled dew claw on the side of Bonnard's foot.
    I've never had a dog with dew claws before , because , as new born pups , the dew claw was
    removed .Thanks for your web site.
    Knowledge is power, and for Bonnard , it may bring relief from pain!

  14. My youngest guy Ollie split his dew claw and I came across this post while doing a little research.

    The crazy thing is, the dog in this post looks exactly like my dude. I don’t mean resembles, for a moment I actually thought this was a picture of our dog. Ollie is a rescue and mixed breed. Any idea what breed (or mix) Hop is?

    Also, thank you for info!

  15. My basset ripped his dew claw this morning and we took him to the vet immediately. They got him in for surgery to remove the dew claw. Looks like he will get bandaged and we will give him pain medication and antibiotics for a few days. Cost about $200.

  16. Thanks for this article, my old boy, 12 y.o. GSD/Mal mix, Osiris, got his dew claw caught in the clasp/spring on the dog run a few minutes ago. He was stoic (but he’s lived a long enough life with genetic issues that he stoicizes pain in a frightening way), but I know he hides it too well, so after freeing him from the unexpected, seemingly innocuous trap, I wanted to know what else to look for. Si and the other dogs use that run several times a day for years and years without incident – then this.

    I looked him all over. He’s not bleeding, so no styptic needed – Hallelujah! But I am concerned about secondary issues, I just didn’t know what. So far, no limping since the offending spring/hobble was removed and no swelling yet. I will be watching him closely after reading this though.

    A few lessons here beyond just trimming nails, including dew claws.

    * Never leave your dog unattended on a chain. Check on them at least every few minutes. Had I not been right here… it makes my heart rate kick up again just thinking about it.

    * Canines, historically, couldn’t show weakness, so know your pet well enough to recognize pain signals without the stereotypical kiyiying and whining. They will tell you if you are paying attention.

    * And it never hurts to have veterinary styptic, vet-wrap, sturdy nail clippers, even wire cutters, and other critical animal 1st aid handy for emergency treatment, before you can even get them to your vet. A lot can happen in a few seconds and I shudder to think how much worse this could have turned out.

    Another of my dogs got her regular nail caught in a little hole in the runnerboard of our vehicle once as she jumped inside while on a camping trip. That was briefly very traumatic for her, but with our first aid kit and fast response, all was well in the end and we’ve since taken care of the issue. Life throws you curve balls, so always be as prepared as you can be with your dog. Even the best pet parent can be surprised at the weird flukes that can happen to you and your furry friend when you least expect it.

    Thanks again for sharing this information and for the work you do!

  17. My dog is going through this right now and he is not leaving the bandage alone. It is a constant struggle to keep him from chewing up his clone that limits his movements and coming home to find the cone off and a bloody bandage. This is driving me crazy!!!

  18. My dog Rose had an issue a year ago and now it happenenedagain . (sorry my keyboard is acting up) . She wont let me touch it. It took 2 months to drop it. I consider t lke when you bashh a toenal on a step. dogs lived for hundreds of years without our help. i get it. we want to help our dogs bu legit they eat poop for fun. i get it though . i wish her paw were good. this is the second time its happened .

    she licks it nonstop but again dogs are dogs.
    45lb corgi rescue mix. she will recover

  19. Hey. I have a retriever/Pyrenees mix and her front left dew claw(I think its a few claw) looks so deformed. There isn’t a nail nor ever has been one. It looks like a black blob about the size of silver dollar and as thick as a bar of soap.(sorry for the lame analogies). Its never been an issue and has never seemed to bother her. However this morning she has been licking it alot so I looked at it and theres alittle blood on one of the edges,or else it’s just really raw from the licking. What is this? And what do I do? Please help.

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