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How to Handle a Dog Dew Claw Injury

Black and tan dog with paw up sitting in snow

Have you noticed your dog limping around with one paw up in the air? There are many possibilities for this behavior, including a broken or torn dew claw. Dog dew claw injury is usually small, but it can put your dog into a lot of anguish. Fortunately, most of the dew claw injuries can be conveniently treated at home unless they are very severe. Keep reading to know more about the dew claw injury and its treatment.

Signs of a Dew Claw Injury

The following are some gestures that can point towards a dog dew claw injury.

Walking with a Lifted Paw – If your dog is reluctant to use one of his/her paws while walking, a dew claw injury is one of the primary suspects.

Staggering – It is perhaps the most explicit symptom of dog dew claw injury. The affected dog will seem to struggle with his/her stride because walking aggravates the pain. Therefore, it is quite natural that your pup will stagger instead of walking properly. 

Bleeding – Although it is not very common, a broken dew claw can bleed (in severe cases).

Licking – Paw licking is natural for canines, but excessive licking is mostly used to indicate a problem. It usually means that the dog is feeling some discomfort (itch or pain) in that part of the body. If your dog is continuously licking his/her paw, it can be a sign of a dew claw injury.

Inflamed toe or feet – Swelling in the paw can also be a meaningful indication of a dew claw injury. If your dog’s paw is visibly inflamed, you should examine it immediately to find the cause. Swollen paw usually combines with some other signs, like limping.    

Causes of a Dew Claw Injury

Tan dog paw on asphalt showing dew claw

There can be numerous causes of dog dew claw injury and some of the most common ones are as follows.


Somedogs are habitual of snagging their claws on carpet, upholstery fiber, grassroots, and other surfaces. Sometimes, their nails can get caught, especially when the claws are long and curled. To evade this tangle, they pull their claws out and can break their nails in the process.

Overgrown Dew Claw

Many owners don’t trim the dew nails of their furry companion. It is not a good idea because they also grow and can cause problems if left unattended. For example, overgrown dew claws can easily chip-off.

Poor Metabolism

Golden retriever with paw bandaged laying on couch

Dogs with poor metabolism are much more susceptible to many problems, including broken nails. If your pup has a poor metabolism and lacks in vitamin B and calcium, he/she will have weaker and easily breakable nails.

Hereditary Issues

Some dogs can have weak nails right from the moment they are born. Most of these canines carry this problem throughout their life and are more prone to nail injuries.


Dogs also bear the development of tumors in their toes which can weaken the nails from within. These nails can break very easily and the only solution to this problem is the removal of the tumor.    

How Do You Treat a Torn Dew Claw of a Dog?

Tan and white dog on white background sitting with front paw bandaged

If your dog’s dew claw injury is mild, you can treat them in the following manner.

NOTE: Always consult your vet for professional advice before treating your dog at home.

Remove the Sagging Nail

Start by removing the damaged nail to avoid any further injury. You should make a clean cut above the dangling part to remove it. However, don’t cut too deep because of the presence of the quick.

Stop the Bleeding

Border Collie getting paw bandaged

If the injured dew claw is showing some signs of blood, apply styptic powder to the wound. You can also stop the bleeding by compressing the injured part (by using a disinfected gauze). In the case of profuse bleeding, you should rush your pup to the vet.

Disinfect the Wound

Remove any dust and debris from the wound by bathing the paw in warm water. After that, apply some anti-septic spray on the wound to disinfect the area.

Bandage the Injured Paw

Loosely wrap a bandage around the wounded paw to complete the procedure. Clean the wound and change the bandage, every day, until the wound heals properly.

What Do I Do If My Dog’s Dew Claw is Bleeding?

Dachshund with bloody bandage covering paw and gloved hands checking the dogs pulse

If the injury is severe (quick is damaged) and it is bleeding profusely, immediately get your dog to the nearest vet. Such injuries are really antagonizing and require a professional hand for treatment. Your dog may even require sedation before treatment. 

Is a Broken Dew Claw an Emergency?

It entirely depends on the condition of the broken dew claw. If the nail has just cracked or is partly chipped, you can treat the wound at home. However, if the wound is deep and there is bleeding, it’s highly recommended to take your pooch to the vet.

Will a Torn Dew Claw Heal Itself?

Yellow Labrador retriever laying on a plaid blanket with bandaged paw

A torn dew claw can heal and regrow, but it will require some effort from the dog owner. You will need to take good care of the wound and bandage it regularly to assist the healing process. Likewise, you need to ensure that your furry friend is complying with your instructions during the recovery process.

On the other hand, if you leave the wound unattended and expect it to heal on its own, it won’t happen. In fact, unattended wounds can develop infection and pus that will worsen the injury.

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