What are Dewclaws?
Dewclaws are additional nails found on dogs' front legs, and sometimes rear legs. They're usually connected to the leg by ligament and bone.
Variations in Dewclaws
Some dogs have rear dewclaws, attached only by skin. Certain breeds like the Great Pyrenees and Briard are known for these rear double dewclaws.
The Purpose of Dewclaws
The exact purpose of dewclaws is debated. They may help dogs grip objects, provide extra traction, or stabilize the wrist joint.
Dewclaws in Action
Dewclaws may help dogs scramble on rough terrain. In dog sports, they can provide stability and aid in quick navigation.
Caring for Dewclaws
Like other nails, dewclaws should be trimmed regularly to prevent snagging and breaking. They may grow faster as they don't touch the ground.
Potential Dewclaw Issues
Protruding dewclaws risk being caught on surfaces. If injured, a vet may need to trim or remove the nail and prescribe medication.
Dewclaws are sometimes surgically removed if they risk injury. However, they should be treated with care and only removed when necessary.