Dog Chewing On Dew Claw – Should You Be Concerned?

As pet parents, you may realize many issues happening with your dog make you confused, especially abnormal behavior with their body parts.

Just like when your dog bites its tail until bleeding, the matter of a dog chewing on dew claw can also cause you worry.

It’s not like when the baby wants to lick or suck their fingers. Rather, this behavior implies other underlying issues that irritate your little canine.

Knowing the reason why your dog keeps licking dew claws is crucial, so you can help it feel comfortable at its feet and get rid of this habit.

Scroll down for more useful information right now!

About Dew Claw

dog chewing on dew claw

What Is It?

The term refers to a non-weight-bearing digit, usually appearing on the inside of a dog’s front leg.

Though it’s rare, you still can see some dogs may have this feature on their hind legs or even double dewclaws on their back legs.

The digit stays higher than others and does not touch the ground when your pet stands. It can be considered similar to our thumb or big toe.

What Is It For?

Since the digit is off the ground, people may think it’s useless. Yet, it provides extra grip when your canine tries to hold something, such as a chew.

The dew claws are vestigial, meaning they inherit the digit’s structure but still lose some ancestral functions.

For example, while a normal digit has three phalanges, the dew claws have 1 or 2 fewer bones. 

Besides gripping objects, the feature is useful for balancing and increasing traction while jumping, running, and stopping.

Dog Chewing On Dew Claw – What Are The Reasons Behind?

dog keeps licking dew claw

The reasons for the chewing/licking dew claw habit are various. Your pet may feel dry or has nothing to do, leading to the action.

It can also indicate an allergic reaction or your canine has long or broken dew claws or parasites inhabiting the feet.

In general, your canine will suddenly pay attention to an area when the skin is irritated. The first reaction is repetitively licking.

Your pet may feel the place gets smoother and think it’s a helpful way to repair the injury. However, it can lead to more serious problems, including infection.

Thus, you should be more attentive to unusual licking behavior as it can indicate something wrong.

Besides, knowing the reasons behind the action can help you have a proper solution in each situation. 

Obsessive Licking

At first, the chewing action may seem normal without any causative factor. But, if you observe carefully, you may find out what affects your pet and the environment around it.

Obsessive licking can be a reason to blame when your dog chews dew claw. The root trouble behind this obsession can be boredom, anxiety, pain, dry skin, or allergies.

If your pet focuses on one paw or just the front ones, he’s likely to have psychological issues.

Meanwhile, when your canine bites all four feet, it looks like he is having allergies or other physical problems.

Boredom And Stress

Why is my dog pulling at his dew claw? When your pet gets bored, he tends to chew his front legs, toes, and dewclaws.

Some theories mention this action is a method of releasing endorphins. This body-released chemical is known to eliminate pain and make a person feel good.

Since your pet finds licking a way to relax, he keeps doing so even though it may cause damage to himself.

You may see lick granulomas appearing on a small raw area and then developing bigger and causing health issues to your canine if left untreated.

In this case, I advise you to pay attention to your dog and spend time with him so he can forget about biting his feet.

Or at least providing him with interactive toys to bring him out of boredom. I usually take my pooch out for a walk or train him some commands to distract him from doing so.


Why do dogs pull on their dew claws? Allergies can be the answer. Since allergies cause itchy skin, your pet tends to lick his feet and pasterns to eliminate the feeling.

The reasons for allergies are diverse. It can be due to consuming processed food or contacting the grass or the chemicals people use for the grass.

Sometimes, your canine may be exposed to other harmful chemicals, like cleaning agents, pesticides, etc.

Dry Feelings

Just like people, your furry friend can suffer from dry skin, leading to the matter of dog biting dew claw. 

You should pay attention to your canine’s food because insufficient fat may result in licking irresistibly at one portion of the body, and providing your pet with fat or oil supplements in his diet to improve the situation.

Long Or Broken Dewclaws

When the nails are long, they get broken easier. Your pet may have long or broken dewclaws, or torn skin, leading to painful feelings.

The part can grow back within a few months after being damaged. It might be slightly distorted, yet painful and bothersome feelings should not be too long.

If your pet keeps licking or chewing, it may cause a sore or swollen wound. That’s when you should tell the situation to your vet.

Plus, if your dog’s dew claws are partly torn away, you’d better talk to your pet clinic, too. It can lead to inflammation, encouraging biting action.

As a result, the wound place gets worse.


Fleas are what people think of when mentioning parasites. However, ticks embed themselves between your pet’s toes, another culprit of dog chewing dew claw. 

This scenario possibly happens when your canine walks in tall grass. Mixing hot water with soap is a useful method to clean fleas on dogs.

You can visually examine the area or touch it to feel small bumps caused by immature ticks living on your pet‘s legs.

The parasitic demodex mange mite can lead to the common demodectic mange and localized itching in your dog’s leg.

Concerns About Dog Chewing On Dew Claw

dog biting dew claw

Can The Dew Claw Be Broken?

Yes, and the reasons for a broken dew claw can be various. The part is in charge of stabilizing the lower joint when your pet is running or jogging. 

As the dog turns, the dew claw will act to prevent excessive torque on the limb. Dewclaw injuries can happen when it touches rough ground, leading to broken parts.

The best way to prevent injuries is to keep the part short. You may see some active and working dogs wear down the nails themselves while other breeders don’t do it.

Thus, to eliminate trouble, trimming your pet is a good method.

Trimming should be done at least 2 times per month with other nails and started when your pet is still small.

However, it’s not too late to start the routine right now to keep your dog’s nails healthy. 

Bleeding Dew Claw And Solution

Bleeding does not sound positive in any case. Biting the part too much can lead to bleeding and even infection if you don’t treat it immediately.

A blood-stop coagulate powder is commonly used in this case to troubleshoot the problem.

You can do it yourself, but if you are not confident or have no idea how to use it, seeking help from a vet is highly recommended.

The professional will use some blood-stop powder and decide to bandage up or remove it if necessary.

Can Chewing Dew Claw Lead To The Part’s Infection?

The nail bed of the dew claw is subjected to infection if your pet licks an open area.

Sings of the disease include swelling, redness or discoloration, nail overgrowth, unexpected peeling and chipping of the nail, and puss.

After damage, dirt is likely gathered between the dew claw nail and the nailbed, possibly leading to soreness.

Your pet will be tempted to lick the area more. As a result, the situation can be worse since saliva, dirt, and other objects can cause serious bacterial infections.

The treatment is to clean the infection and provide your pet with antibiotics to clear the issue.


How To Recognize An Infected Dew Claw?

In general, you will see the infected part gets red and itchy. Sometimes, brown discharge can leak out from the nail beds.

Another sign you can recognize the infection is when your dog keeps licking one place more than usual, causing hair loss in that area.

Is A Broken Dew Claw An Emergency?

When your dog’s dew claw gets injured, I highly advise you to talk to your vet. The situation of brokenness, especially bleeding, can be considered an emergency.

The broken part requires some rest and healing, and it can repair itself.

However, when there are signs of infection, discomfort, bleeding, and repetitive licking, you should not rely on self-recovery but seek help from a pet clinic.

How Much Does It Cost To Remove Dew Claws?

For some reasons, such as beauty or medical requirements, the vet may suggest or require you to remove your pet’s dew claw.

The removals cost around $30 to $40, depending on the breeders and where you have it done. The price normally includes the cost of examination surgery.

The Bottom Lines

Any discomfort, pain, or nail injury can lead to the issue of a dog chewing on dew claw. The treatment is varied depending on the situation. 

To stop your canine from licking and biting its paw due to boredom or stress, you can buy new toys, create games and activities, use pheromone sprays, and diffusers, soothe the treats or eliminate stress elements.

However, if it’s the case of infection, but you don’t pay attention and let the problem linger on, the part can become a good cause of serious issues.

Heavily bleeding or any sign of infection requires help from a veterinarian.


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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