Easy Steps to Remove Broken Dew Claw on Your Dog at Home

If you’re a dog owner, you probably know how important it is to keep your pup healthy and happy. Unfortunately, accidents happen and sometimes your furry friend might get hurt. One injury that can occur is a broken dew claw, which can be both painful and potentially dangerous for your pet. In this article, we’ll go over how to remove a broken dew claw on a dog and provide important information to help you take care of your four-legged friend.

What is a dew claw?

Before we dive into how to remove a broken dew claw, let’s first define what a dew claw is. Dew claws are essentially extra toes located on the inner part of a dog’s paw. Not all dogs have them, but those that do usually have them on their front paws, though some breeds, such as Great Pyrenees, have them on their hind legs as well. Dew claws are not used for weight-bearing purposes and can be quite small or relatively large, depending on the dog. While they may seem like a vestigial appendage, dew claws serve a purpose in some dogs, such as those bred for hunting, as they can provide extra stability and traction when running or changing direction quickly.

What causes a broken dew claw?

Now that we know what a dew claw is, let’s talk about why they can break. There are a few different reasons a dew claw might get injured, but some of the most common include:

  • Accidents, such as getting caught on something or getting stepped on
  • Playing too roughly, such as while wrestling with another dog or playing fetch
  • Long nails that get caught in the ground or the carpet, causing the dew claw to bend or break

Regardless of how the dew claw gets broken, it’s important to address the issue quickly to prevent further injury or infection.

When should you remove a broken dew claw?

Now that you know what a dew claw is and how it can get injured, let’s talk about when you should remove a broken dew claw. The answer is not always straightforward and will depend on a few factors, such as how severe the break is and how much pain your dog is in. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • If the break is minor and not causing your dog any pain, you can likely leave it alone and let the nail grow back.
  • If there is bleeding, apply pressure to the area and try to stop the bleeding. Monitor your dog for any signs of infection, such as swelling or redness.
  • If the break is severe and causing your dog significant pain, it’s recommended that you take them to a veterinarian to have the dew claw removed. This is especially important if the nail is still partially attached, as removing it yourself could cause further injury and pain.

How to remove a broken dew claw on a dog

If you’ve determined that your dog’s broken dew claw needs to be removed, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  • 1. Prepare your dog. Make sure your dog is comfortable and calm, either lying down or standing still. It may be helpful to have another person help hold your dog steady.
  • 2. Clean the area. Gently clean the paw and the broken nail with a clean cloth or gauze. This will help remove any debris or dirt that could cause infection.
  • 3. Apply a local anesthetic. If your dog is in significant pain, you may want to apply a local anesthetic to the area to help numb it. You can do this using a product like lidocaine gel or cream, or by giving your dog a pain-relieving medication prescribed by your vet.
  • 4. Remove the nail. Using a pair of sterile scissors or clippers, carefully cut the remaining part of the nail that is detached or broken. Try to get as close to the base of the nail as possible without cutting the quick, which is the pinkish area containing blood vessels and nerves.
  • 5. Apply pressure. Once the nail is removed, apply gentle pressure to the area for a few minutes to stop any bleeding. You can use a clean cloth or gauze to do this.
  • 6. Apply an antiseptic. Finally, apply an antiseptic to the area to help reduce the risk of infection. You can use an over-the-counter product like hydrogen peroxide or iodine, or ask your vet for a recommendation.

Post-removal care

Now that you’ve removed your dog’s broken dew claw, it’s important to take care of the wound to ensure proper healing. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Monitor your dog for any signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, or discharge. If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian.
  • Apply an antiseptic to the area daily to keep it clean and germ-free.
  • Keep your dog from licking or chewing on the wound, as this could introduce bacteria and cause infection. You can use a cone or other barrier to prevent this.
  • Gently exercise your dog to promote circulation and healing, but take care not to over-exert them.
  • Give your dog pain medication as prescribed by your veterinarian to help manage any discomfort or pain.


a broken dew claw can be a painful and potentially dangerous injury for your dog, but with proper care and attention, it can be treated. If you’re unsure whether your dog’s broken dew claw needs to be removed, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and consult with a vet. Remember to take steps to prevent injury in the future, such as keeping your dog’s nails trimmed and monitoring their playtime. With a little care and attention, you can help keep your furry friend healthy and happy.

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