Posted by: Linda Trunell | November 1, 2013

Friday Fact – Dew Claws

What are Dew Claws?

Dew claws, also known as a dog’s thumb, refers to a vestigial digit found on the foot of most mammals, reptiles, and birds. It normally grows high on the animal’s leg in digitigrade species (digitigrade refers to an animal that walks on its toes, not touching the ground with its heels, like a dog, cat, or rodent). Dew claws are most commonly known in canines, and these are often removed in puppies. There are some debates, however, on whether the removal of dew claws is necessary. Read more here:


Image source:

Dew Claws Do Have a Purpose!

This video shows how dogs use their dew claws to get themselves safely out of icy waters; whether they are in there intentionally to make a retrieve, or they have accidentally broken thru the ice and are in a dangerous situation.

Here’s to being our dog’s best friend,



  1. My 13yr old Jack Russell still has his hind leg Spurs, looks good with them, he doesn’t have issues with them. From time to time he trims them down himself…


    • Thank you for stopping by, Andy! I visited your blog and saw Mac the Jack – he looks great for 13 yrs. old.


  2. Ranger uses his to remove his Gentle Leader on his own. He hooks his dew claw into the strap over his snout and takes it off.


    • Too funny! Clever boy, that Ranger 🙂


      • Too clever for his own good. Thankfully he’s been doing a LOT better with just a collar lately so we only use the gentle leader when we’re going to the vet. He LOVES the vet so he gets a little over excited and tries to run full speed for the door. When we’re leaving he doesn’t wear it, because he’s much calmer.


      • It is wonderful that he loves the vet. Going to the vet is a stressful experience for some dogs. Max is okay – not thrilled but not too stressed. I always take some chicken with me for the vet to give him and it helps him relax. 🙂


      • It’s so strange that he loves this vet. He hated the first 2 I took him to. We ended up at this vet by chance. I had just moved to the state and Ranger got the flu. In my panic to find some one that could see him ASAP once he started coughing and couldn’t bark, this vet was the first vet I remembered seeing while driving, and since the first time I took him there Ranger has seemed to feel comfortable with the whole staff. I’ll bring him to this vet for the rest of his life because of how much he loves them.



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