How Many Toes Does A Dog Have?

It is common in dogs, but most dog owners don’t know it, or they are not fully aware of it even after seeing it with their own eyes. If you are one of those owners who is trying to know the answer to how many toes does a dog have? And Why does my dog have a fifth toe on paws? Then you are at the right place; you would be shocked to know that most dogs have five toes on each of their front foot, four toes, and one dewclaw, known as the fifth claw that would be 18 toes in total.

Dewclaw is a bit higher than the other four toes. But if your total has not matched with our even, then there's nothing to be worried about as we have already let you know that not all dogs have dewclaws, and sometimes there is even more than one dewclaw. So if you want to learn more about dewclaw, you will have to read more about it here on our page.

Why Does My Dog Have A Fifth Toe On Paws?

Having a fifth toe on both of your dog’s front legs is completely normal as it is because of the genetics in some breeds that is actually because of the environment those breeds used to live in.

Most big dog breeds or breeds that used to live in the mountains have a fifth toe on both of their front legs because of the harsh environments these dogs used to live in. Some people also consider that this fifth toe or Dewclaw is a result of a genetic fault in certain breeds.

So if your dog has a fifth toe on its paws, then it is nothing that should make you worried as it because of its genes.

What’s the purpose of the Fifth toe (Dewclaw) on dogs?

With time it is believed that dewclaw has lost its resourcefulness or usefulness, but on the other hand, the dewclaw is an interesting piece of evidence that teaches us how different pets used to live in the past years as most pets have to climb a tree it may be to save its own life or for hunting but one thing that we are sure of is that the fifth toe helped the pets and they have used it for their advantage.

Dewclaw may have lost its real use because of the change in genetics; As we all know that now the fifth toe does not touch the ground, but it still plays its role while the dog is running, and it needs stability, especially when the track on which they are running is uneven.

Being a dog owner myself, if dewclaw is not proving itself used, we know that dewclaw is not dangerous for our pets.

What are the problems of having dewclaw?

Being the owner of the dog, it is your responsibility to take care of your pet while you are playing with your pet in your home or while you two are out on an adventure. As if you are not taking good care of your dog, then here are some of the problems that your dog might have to face because of its dewclaw.

       Dewclaws can get torn.

       Dewclaw can be overgrown.

       Dewclaws can be broken.

       Dewclaws can get stuck in the fence that can be quite a hurtful experience for your pet.

       Dewclaws can get infected if not treated properly after getting injured.

The sign that you should look for in case your dog gets hurt is if your dog is continuously licking its dewclaw or if your dog is limping.

Should Fifth Toes Be Removed From Dewclaw?

As we have already let you know that the dewclaw is not proved to be harmful to your furry friend in any manner, and many dogs have dewclaws all their life without facing any type of difficulty except in some very rare cases like if your dog dewclaw has been infected or if your dog’s dewclaw has been injured while trekking.

Dewclaw is not completely attached to your dog’s leg, and because of it, sometimes dogs can face some problems as there are chances that the dewclaw might get stuck in a fence, which can cause a lot of pain to the pet. Because of no direct use, sometimes dewclaw is ignored by both owner and the pet groomer, and it can cause the nail to be ingrown, which can cause infections.

Suppose if the dewclaw has caused an infection, you must take your pet to the vet as being the professional in the field, the vet can properly guide you to make sure if the dewclaw needs to be removed or not, and if not, then how can you take care of your dog's dewclaw and how you can save it from any infection or from causing any accident that may hurt your pet more than the whole removing process.

How to treat dog Fifth Toe Injuries

Fifth toe or Dewclaw injury rarely happens, but it is still not something that one can rule out these types of accidents can happen without anyone’s mistake.

The best thing for you to do is take your pet to the nearest available vet. According to the situation, the vet can treat the affected nail, and according to the situation, the vet can either remove it completely or trim it.

And in case the vet is not available, you might have to take the whole treating process in your hand. You should first analyze how bad the situation is, then you should clean the affected paw with gaze, After cleaning the paw, you should wrap the dewclaw tightly with a bandage, and you may also have to give painkillers to your pet to make sure your pet does not have to suffer from any more pain.

How to take care dog’s Fifth toe?

If you are someone who is always up and ready to go on an adventure with your dog, then you should cut the nails to the length where you are sure that no damage can happen. But if you have a normal routine with your dog with no such trekking events, then you can just maintain your furry friend’s nails by trimming them every now and then.

Regular trimming or grooming sessions are very important; they will help you keep an eye on your dog’s health, and these sessions will also ensure that their nail does not grow long enough to land on the ground directly while your dog is running.

Do all dogs have a fifth toe?

The short answer to this question is that NO all dogs don't have a fifth toe. The fifth toe depends on the genetic of your dog and if your dog is a mountain dog or not.

Here are some of the dog breeds that have a fifth toe.


       Norweigan Lundehund


       Catalonian Sheepdog

       The Great Pyrenees

       Portuguese Sheepdog

       Saint Bernard

       Saint Miguel Cattle Dog

       Estrela Mountain Dog

       Anatolian Shepherd Dog

       Icelandic Sheepdog

       East Siberian Laika

All these dogs have a fifth toe, and they used it before for many purposes, such as climbing trees or climbing rocks. Now, most dogs only use their fifth toe for self-cleaning and grooming.


In this article, How Many Toes Does A Dog Have? We have tried to let you know as much information as we can, so in case your dog has a dewclaw or a fifth toe; you should know what it is and how you can make sure it does not get hurt while you are out on an adventure and in case if it gets hurt then you should know that what exactly is it that you should do to make sure it remains intact.

Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section, and if you feel there is anything or any other pet-related topic that needs to be discussed in detail, then do let us know.


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