Dew claws are the last digits on a dog’s foot, and they often get broken or injured. If you notice that your dog is limping, has difficulty walking, or seems to be in pain when moving their paw around – it could be because of a dew claw injury.

The first thing to do is keep an eye on your pup and see if the problem persists over time. If so then it may need medical attention from a vet. Dew claws can heal naturally eventually but there are some home remedies you can try before taking them to the vet as well! 

These are important issues for dog owners to know, as it is. not uncommon for your dog to have a broken nail, which can mean a lot of bleeding and a risk of infection.

What should I do if my dog breaks their dew claw?

If they have trouble walking or running make sure that they don’t put weight on it for a while, until it begins to heal, but also look out for some dog pain relief. It will be more painful that a human broken nail, as dog’s nails are tougher.

There are many interesting things about your dog’s paws. One of those things is the dew claw, which is a nail on the inside of their paw, with its own nail bed.

The dew claw can be broken or torn off if they get in a fight with another animal or by accident while playing outside. If this happens, it needs to be taken care of right away so that it doesn’t affect your pup’s ability to walk and run normally.

Here are some steps you should take if this happens to your four-legged friend: 

1) Clean and wrap the area with gauze to keep dirt out and fluids from leaking out

2) Wrap an ace bandage tightly around the paw for support and to stop bleeding

3) Keep them calm during recovery time by giving them treats and painkillers if you have them.

Did you know that when a dog’s paw gets stepped on, they can get their dew claw broken? Or another of your dog’s nails, which cam mean a broken nail or broken nails depending on the level of injury.

This is an injury to the front leg and your dog may not always show any signs of pain or discomfort at first, but may in a few days. If your dog has a broken claw it needs immediate attention because if left untreated, it could result in infection. Learn more about how to treat a damaged claw below! 

What is a dew claw?

A dew claw is the extra toe on your dog’s foot, part way down your dog’s paw. It does not have any function other than to help dogs get traction in slippery conditions, but it can be quite useful when a nail gets caught or snagged on something.

If you are an avid pet owner, you know how important these claws are for everyday life and activity. Unfortunately, if one of them becomes broken it could cause some discomfort for your pup and lead to expensive veterinary bills!

In that case you may want to look at a good pet insurance policy, and you can get a quote from award-winning Emerald for your pet cover at

Here we will discuss what causes this injury and how to prevent it from happening again.

My dog’s dew claw is broken and bleeding. What should I do?

Sometimes with a broken claw it can be a torn nail, or just part of the nail, and it could come off or just be loosely attached. There are no hard and fast rules as to how a dog’s nails may be injured, but it is important to give painkillers as broken nails can be painful, and then was in a clean dressing around the dog’s broken nail.

Don’t assume your dog’s dew claws are simply vestigial and serve no purpose and any injury to the claw needs immediate attention. If you feel brave and have some nail clippers then you can try to clean up the area yourself, but watch out for your dog’s nail bed.

Which claw is the dew claw?

Which claw is the dew claw? The one on front legs, if it were on your hand, would be the thumb. Here’s a picture to help you identify it. This one. If it w…

What do you do for a snapped, cracked or broken dew claw?

Damaged claws (or other broken nail), whether split or dislocated or just loosely attached, is extremely painful for your dog. You can perform some immediate first aid at home, especially if there is some bleeding to take care of, but then contact your vet for professional treatment. You should also call your vet if your animal is in pain or in the case of dew claws that are completely broken or where there looks like damage to a blood vessel surrounding dew claws. If it’s serious, then don’t wait a few days.

Symptoms of a Damaged Nail

If the dog’s nail is sore and injured, dogs may not allow you to examine or touch their foot. You should also consider a muzzle or helper who can divert your dog’s attention, and their mouth, away from your hands as you examine them.

If your dog’s toe is injured or sore, it’s time to go to a veterinarian. If you are comfortable to do so, you should check your animal’s paw. If you’re not comfortable to examine the toe, you need to take it straight away to the vet but if you are binding it then you need to remember features (eg where there dark nails etc).

When should I take my dog to the vet for my dog’s broken nail?

If your dog is showing any of the above signs, please call your vet for help. Take your dog to the vet for a better examination of the damage and wound cleaning. The symptoms of canine injury can be shown with the help of your vet and they will be able to look at the injury and decide what to do.


There are many things to do when you find your dog with a broken dew claw. It’s important that the break be stabilized and cared for appropriately so it doesn’t get infected or cause further damage. We recommend following these tips: 

  • Make sure the paw is kept clean by keeping it dry, cleaning out any dirt around the wound, and applying an antibiotic ointment if needed;
  • try to keep weight off of the injured leg as much as possible; make sure there isn’t too much pressure on the injured joint (e.g., don’t carry them);
  • monitor activity level closely and reduce exercise until healed.

If all goes well, you should see improvement in 2-3 weeks! Going forward you should keep your dog’s nails short and get pet food that contains nail strengtheners.

Broken dew claws are a common injury for dogs, and may need to be trimmed or removed. Follow these tips for success when dealing with one of the most sensitive injuries your dog can sustain.

Summary of what you need to do

What should you do if you notice that their paw is bleeding? Call your veterinarian! It’s important not to let them lick at it on their own as this could lead to an infection.

Make sure they have someplace comfortable and dry where they can rest while waiting for help to arrive – a crate will work great! If it’s possible, try and get a photo from multiple angles so your vet knows what surgery might entail before heading out in order save time once he arrives. As always, contact us anytime if you need

You may be wondering what to do if your dog has a broken dew claw. We’ve compiled above some of the best tips for you and your pet. Always make sure that you have a good pet first aid kit, including dressings, a styptic pencil, clean cloth etc.

Immediate issues

If none of these work, consult with your vet or groomer for their advice on how to handle this issue in the future! 

  • Restore circulation by applying pressure and elevating paw as needed until the bleeding stops
  • You may want to use first aid tape to stem the blood supply and any bleeding
  • Keep wound clean and dry (apply antibiotic ointment). 
  • Watch for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, pus discharge from wound site.
  • Call your veterinarian immediately to discuss treatment.
  • Keep your dog warm; give pain medication (elevate leg) as needed but only after consultation with veterinarian first!

Damaged dew claw – FAQs

What do you do for a broken dew claw?

If they’re experiencing any mobility problems, ensure that you don’t put weight on it for a while until it heals. It will be more painful than an ordinary broken finger nail because dog’s nails are harder than ours.

Broken or torn dew claws can be found in coyotes and other animals as well as domestic dogs. If your pup’s dew claw ever breaks, take care of it so they don’t hurt themselves.

If your pet has a broken dew claw, try to prevent dirt from entering the paw and monitor their blood loss.

1) Cover the injured paw with gauze for protection 2) Wrap an ace bandage tightly around the paw for support 3) Keep them calm during recovery time by giving them treats

How do you treat a torn dew claw on a dog?

The dew claw can be broken or torn off in a fight with another animal, by playing outside, or inadvertently.

If a dog has a broken dew claw, here’s what you need to do:

1) Clean and wrap the paw with gauze to prevent dirt and fluids from getting in

2) Wrap an ace bandage tightly around the paw for support

3) Keep your dog calm during recovery time by giving them treats or painkillers

When a dog’s paw is on the ground, it can break their dew claws or any other nails which could create a broken nail or two. If your pup has a broken claw that you didn’t notice right away, they need to see the vet as soon as possible because the nails don’t heal properly and may become infected.

How do you fix a broken dew claw at home?

If your dog has a broken dew claw:

1) Clean the paw with gauze

2) Wrap an ace bandage tightly around it for support

3) Keep them calm by treating them or giving painkillers

If a dog injury is caused by their claw becoming broken, it may be a torn nail or just loose. Painkillers are important to administer and then wrap with clean dressing around the dog’s injured area.

Don’t assume your dog’s dew claws are just vestigial and serve no purpose. If you feel brave, you can try using nail clippers to clean up the area yourself, but watch out for your dog’s nail bed.

Is a broken dog nail an emergency?

It can be – always call your vet for help. If you have an Emerald policy then you can call FirstVet, our 24/7 tele vet service offering a camera service with a qualified ve