6 Tips for Trimming Your Dog’s Dew Claw

Did you know your dog has something called a dew claw? Have you ever heard of this part of your dog’s body before? Do you know how to trim and maintain it? The dew claw is the claw found on the inside edge of a dog’s leg, up and away from the rest of the paw, and it is just as important as the rest of the claws when it comes to trimming and grooming.

Trimming a dog's dew claw

What are the Important Tips I Should Know When Trimming My Dog’s Dew Claw?

In the article below, we’ll walk you through some of the most important tips to keep in mind when trimming your dog’s dew claw. Read on to learn more!

6 tips dog parents should know when trimming their dog’s dew claw include:

Dew Claws Can Become Ingrown

Dew claws are easy for dog owners to overlook because they are not in the same area as the rest of the dog’s claws. For this reason, they can be ignored for so long that they become overgrown or ingrown, meaning that they can curl back toward the dog’s leg and grow into their skin.

This is a painful situation for your dog and can lead to infections easily as well. It is very important to prevent your dog’s dew claws from growing this long if you can help it.

Dew Claws May Be Sore

Dew claws can be sore, especially if they have become overgrown or are poking the dog’s skin. For this reason, dogs can be nervous when you trim their dew claws for the first time.

If your dog seems to be in a lot of pain when you trim their dew claws, you may need groomer or vet assistance. However, a little bit of discomfort is to be expected, especially the first time.

Use a Flashlight to See the Quick

Even if your dog has dark claws, you can probably see the quick inside the dew claw if you shine a flashlight behind it. A flashlight will illuminate the inside of the claw and make it easier for you to spot the vein running inside the center of the claw.

The quick carries blood to the rest of the claw and is an important part of the claw’s function. However, if it is cut, it bleeds significantly and can be painful to your dog. Although accidents happen and every dog owner has probably cut their dogs’ claws to the quick at least once, it is important to do everything you can to avoid this problem.

Have Styptic Powder Ready

Styptic powder can be used to stop the bleeding from a cut quick in just a few short minutes. If you do accidentally cut your dog’s dew claw to the quick, place it gently but firmly into a bowl of styptic powder or rub the end of it with a styptic pencil to stop the blood flow.

If you do not have a styptic pencil or styptic powder available, a bowl of corn starch can usually work just as well. In severe cases, however, corn starch may not be enough to take care of the bleeding.

File the Dew Claw

When you’ve finished cutting the dew claw (and the rest of the claws, too), it’s a good idea to file them all down, including the dew claw once again. This is because cutting your dog’s claws can lead to sharp edges that may get caught on items or carpeting and can also cut your dog’s skin when they scratch.

Filing can be uncomfortable to dogs the first few times, especially because of the strange sound it makes. However, with time, you should be able to get your dog used to the idea of having their nails filed down after a trim.

Work Slowly

Finally, make sure you work slowly in every stage of this process. Trimming your dog’s nails and dew claw is not an easy task the first several times, but with practice and patience, you can acclimate your dog to the procedure and make sure you prevent cutting her quick, too.

By working slowly, you can reduce the risk of accidentally injuring your dog or getting yourself hurt, too. You can also make sure you take care of every claw individually and do not accidentally overlook the dew claw in the future.

Contact Heart + Paw for More Tips on How to Trim Your Dog’s Dew Claw

Trimming your dog’s dew claw can be a little tricky, especially if you’ve never taken care of it before. If it is severely ingrown, you will need to take your dog to the vet to have it trimmed the first time. However, as long as it isn’t ingrown, you can trim the dew claw yourself by remembering the tips in the article above.

If your dog is unwilling to let you trim their dew claw—or any of their claws—take her to a professional groomer. Groomers usually only charge a small fee to handle claws without the rest of the grooming package included.

At Heart + Paw, we provide a low-stress grooming experience for every pet that comes through our doors. If you’re wanting to know some more tips on trimming your dog’s dew claw, or if you want to schedule a grooming appointment for them, book an appointment at one of our locations today. Our groomers always make sure your pet leaves looking and feeling their best.

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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