Have you ever considered a dog’s number of toes? You might not have noticed. Dogs have 4 toes on the back and 5 on the front of their feet. There is one exception, though.

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Continue reading this AnimalWised article to find out why your dog’s back legs have five toes. We will discuss the associated hereditary disorders and genetic malformations as well as what you may do to help.

popular breeds with five toes

A hereditary abnormality in some breeds causes their back foot to have five toes. If your dog is impacted, don’t panic. Dewclaws or an additional toe on a dog’s back foot are hereditary traits of specific breeds that have adapted to their surroundings.

This anomaly can occur in both Mastiff and Saint Bernard dog breeds. These breeds were developed in mountainous regions and other harsh situations where traction was crucial. This additional claw is thought to provide more support. This fifth toe is actually weaker, though. It varies from the others in that it provides less support, hence its true use is unclear.

Many dog breeds with these dewclaws are thought to have a true deformity, a genetic defect in the breed, even though there may be a genetic explanation in some situations. When the dog is still a puppy, this extra toe needs to be cut off. However, you should only get it removed if your veterinarian advises you to.

Even small breeds like Yorkshire Terriers and Poodles, as well as German Shepherds and Rottweilers, can have this toe on their back feet.


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issues with dewclaws

This fifth toe has a difficulty since it is not joined to the paw in the same way that the other toes are. There is no bone connecting the fifth toe; it is merely joined by skin and muscle. This may result in potential health issues:

The fifth toe, lacking a bone, is vulnerable to tearing and injury. Its growths, which cannot be worn or filed down, cause pain, limping, and potentially amputation. Regular nail trimming and monitoring are crucial to prevent major consequences.

You should bear in mind the following if your dog possesses specific traits that could qualify it as a display breed:

Dogs with dewclaws are barred from being registered, with the exception of Mastiffs and Saint Bernards.

Since the toe serves no purpose, amputation is advised.

Why Do My Dog’s Back Feet Have Five Toes? – Dewclaw problems

What to do if your dog’s back foot have five toes

It is strongly advised that you take your puppy to the vet as soon as you notice an extra toe so that it can be cut off while he or she is still a puppy. Future issues can be prevented, and the puppy will experience less trauma.

It is an easy process.

It lasts for around ten minutes.

It is not an uncomfortable procedure.

This procedure is not necessary for dogs older than six months. You must keep an eye out for any changes on the fifth toe if you decide without operating because there is no visible discomfort. An operation at the veterinarian will be necessary if the toe develops a condition, but:

Recovery time following surgery is longer.

The dog will attempt to lick and scratch the area, thus it must wear a cone collar.

It might walk oddly.

It is a simple procedure.

Ten minutes or so pass during it.

The technique is not uncomfortable.

Dogs older than six months do not require this surgery. If you choose to proceed without operating since there is no obvious discomfort, you must keep an eye out for any changes on the fifth toe. If the toe develops a condition, a surgical procedure at the veterinarian will be required, but:


Image Credit : Terrie Schweitzer

After surgery, recovery takes longer.

The dog must be wearing a cone collar since it will try to lick and scratch the area.

It may walk strangely.

Finally, we urge all dog owners to exercise extra caution by keeping an eye on their pet and providing for its needs in order to prevent this issue from getting worse and having terrible repercussions. Your dog’s quality of life will increase if you have a vigilant attitude and visit the vet when necessary. In the end, you’ll have a healthy and content dog!

This essay serves only as information. AnimalWised lacks the legal right to diagnose a condition or recommend a course of therapy for animals. We encourage you to take your pet to the vet if they experience any pain or illness.