Why do Dogs have Dew Claws – A dog’s dew claws are located inside the legs, higher than the other claws, and rarely touch the ground. Some dogs occasionally have rear dew claws, and these have less muscle structure than the front dew claws. While most dogs do not seem to have much use for their dew claws, others use them for various activities.
Since dog dew claws are located larger than the other claws, people often assume they have no use. In fact, a dog can use his dew claw to hold objects, such as bones, to keep them firm as they are chewing them. They can use a dew claw if it scratches or removes something from their teeth. Some of the faster, thinner dogs legs extend their legs and push on the dewclaw to give them more speed.
Dew claws can get stuck to things like blankets and carpets, possibly causing trauma to the dog. If the dew claw gets stolen, the dog can pull hard in a desperate attempt to break free. This could tear the dew claw out of the paw, causing an injury that needs professional medical attention. If the dew claws are not kept cut off, they may curl inward, creating a greater chance of injury.
Dew claws need to be trimmed more often than other nails because they do not touch the ground when the dog walks. The other nails naturally wear out a bit as the dog walks, especially on concrete surfaces. The dewclaw attaches to the paw by a flap of loose skin. The person who is cutting the claws of the dog should pull the dew claw away from the leg and cut the claw without cutting the blood vessels found in the fast. If the fast is cut, the dog may suffer pain and bleeding.
Some breed standards, such as the Beauceron and Great Pyrenees, indicate the dewclaws should remain in place if the dog will be inserted into dog shows. Otherwise, a veterinarian will often remove the claws of dew when the puppy is between two and five days old when the bones are soft enough to cut without discomfort to the dog. If removal is postponed for more than five days, the veterinarian will likely wait until the puppy is old enough to be anesthetized for the procedure. The decision to remove the dew claws is individual which is decided by the owner based on the breed of dog, and their individual preferences.
According to a study by Clyde E. Keeler and Harry C Trimble published in the “Journal of Oxford Inheritance,” dew claw was more prominent in previous generations of dogs. It was altered during evolution because it is not an essential function of the dog. The authors theorize that previous dogs that had to hunt prey had more utility for dew claws. Through domestication, dogs found less use for the dew claw and became less prominent on their paws.
# Why do Dogs have Dew Claws?