what are duclaws for?

our shih-tzu was just given her summer cut and I spotted these claws on her legs. I had never noticed these on my prior dogs. Wondering what purpose they served. Thanks.

Asked by Member 649005 on Jul 2nd 2008 in Puppies
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A dewclaw is a vestigial digit of the paw of many mammals including dogs. It grows higher on the leg so that in digitigrade species, when the animal is standing, it does not make contact with the ground. Dewclaws can be used to lightly grip bones and other items that dogs hold with the paws. There is also some debate as to whether dewclaws should be surgically removed. The argument for removal states that dewclaws are a weak digit, barely attached to the leg, so that they can rip partway off or easily catch on something and break, which can be extremely painful and prone to infection. Hunting dogs for example, can easily tear the dewclaw when running in overgrown vegetation. Dewclaw removal is usually done when the dog is a puppy, sometimes as young as 3 days old, though it can also be performed on older dogs if necessary (though the surgery may be more difficult then).
Good Luck!

Cavalier Kisses,

Candi answered on 7/2/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Gray Dawn Treader

Most dogs that I have ever known have had due claws. Both of mine have them. An old wive's tale says that dogs with due claws are resistant to a snake's poison.
The due claws can be pretty useful. My dogs use them to get a better grip on things.

Gray Dawn Treader answered on 7/2/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Ihave two Beagles and they both have duclwas it is siad that duclaws are the sign of protection from Snake bites and both of my dogs survived rattle snake bites.

Member 649198 answered on 7/3/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer