Double Dew Claws

When observing your dog, you may notice additional claws located on the inside of their legs. These can manifest as a fully formed toe or merely a loose piece of skin. This fifth toe, commonly known as a dewclaw, plays a significant role in stabilizing the wrist, akin to a human's thumb. Although it is a common practice to remove these claws in puppies due to potential complications, this procedure is not without its risks.

Interestingly, some puppies are born with dewclaws on their hind legs as well—though this is less common and they are sometimes not as well-developed, protruding awkwardly from the foot. Many veterinarians advocate for their removal early on, typically at three days old or simultaneously with neutering, to prevent any issues. This characteristic is believed to be an evolutionary trait, as wolves, the ancestors of domestic dogs, do not possess them. Studies suggest that dewclaws in dogs may have arisen from interbreeding between dogs and wolves, marking a distinct evolutionary pathway for domestic dogs.

Front dewclaws serve several functions, aiding in climbing, digging, grasping, and the strengthening of the wrist. However, the same cannot be said for hind dewclaws, which are often viewed as unnecessary vestiges. Described as polydactyl mutations (extra toes) by scientists, a study published in the "Genetics" journal in 2008 attributed these mutations to a specific gene, LMBR1. This gene is responsible for the reappearance of the fifth toe, previously lost through the course of canine evolution. The original purpose of this toe remains a mystery, though some speculate it aided in climbing. Certain breeds are specifically bred to retain rear dewclaws, although they are generally considered redundant in modern domestic dogs.

Rear dewclaws vary significantly; while some lack bone and may protrude at odd angles, requiring careful grooming to avoid injury, others are fully developed, articulated toes that closely resemble those of early canine ancestors. In breeds where these claws are a standard requirement, removal is discouraged unless necessary to prevent injury. A common issue encountered by groomers is overgrown claws, particularly in the dewclaws, which can curl and grow into the pad, causing pain and injury. Regular maintenance, ideally every four to six weeks, is essential to prevent such problems, as these claws do not naturally wear down from contact with the ground.

At Groomsaber, we understand the importance of proper grooming and care for your beloved pets. Our extensive range of products, from blades and trimmers to scissors and combs, is designed to facilitate the safe and efficient grooming of your furry friend. Explore our products and discover the ideal tools to keep your pet happy, healthy, and well-groomed.

By Sarah Freeman


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