How Many Nails Does a Dog Have? [Answered Here]

You probably notice two things when you look at your dog’s paws.

The bottom pads, whether soft and little or large and rough, are a source of intrigue.

The nails, on the other hand, are even more intriguing.

Your dog will have a nail at the end of each smaller pad.

On their front foot, most dogs have dewclaws near the back of the ankle.

Is it true that they all have the same number?

I became intrigued by the nails of dogs and, of course, I wanted to learn more.

So I looked up all the information I could regarding dog-nails. Let’s explored a little about Dog Nails.

You will find the answer to How Many Nails Does a dog Have below. Read on…

Dog's Nails
How Many Nails Does Dog Have?

The Truth About Dog’s Nail

Animals such as dogs and cats, among others, do not have nails.

They have nerves and blood vessels in their claws.

This explains why they occasionally bleed and stress over nail trimming.

Dog claws require traction in order to maintain a grip and walk or run.

The quick on a dog’s claws is longer than that of a cat.

If you cut too much off the tips by nail trim, you risk injuring them.

As the nail develops, so does the quick.

Dog’s paw come in a variety of hues.

Walking on abrasive surfaces is adequate to keep the nails of most active dogs ‘trimmed.’

Your dog’s claws might become infected and even cancerous.

How should I cut my dog’s toenail?

How to cut dog's nail to make the quick recede
How should I cut my dog’s toenail quick?

After you’ve gathered all of your supplies, it’s time to clip your overgrown dog nails.

To begin, find a good time to do it – perhaps after a meal or after exercise – and follow these simple instructions.

  • Take one of their forepaws in your hand.
  • Begin with the forepaws.
  • Hold their paw firmly but gently and mark the area of the long nail where you want the cut to be made.
  • Remove the nail, taking care not to cut it too short. Remove the nail’s point.
  • Always cut the overgrown nail from top to bottom and attempt to keep your cuts perpendicular to the nail to avoid cutting at an angle.
  • The ‘quick,’ which contains nerves and blood arteries, is found within each dog nail.
  • You should avoid cutting this since it will bleed and bring agony to your dog.
  • If your dog has white nails, the quick should be seen as a faint pink line.
  • Cut no more than 2mm away from the quick.
  • Unfortunately, if your dog has black nails, the quick will be hidden.
  • However, when trimming your dog’s nails, keep an eye out for a dark area in the center of the freshly clipped edge — this is where the quick begins.
  • If you are doubtful, it is always best to cut off too little. If necessary, you can always chop off a little more afterwards.
  • If your dog has black claws or you are doubtful, take him to a professional.
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What if I cut the quick by accident?

Don’t be alarmed dog owner!

Accidents occur.

Apply styptic powder to the afflicted nail until the bleeding stops, then give your dog a reward and lots of reassurance.

If you are concerned and do not want to resume nail clipping, send your dog to a professional groomer or veterinarian.

3. Turn your dog on its side to work on their rear paws.

It will be easier to access and hold your dog’s back paws if you lie them on their side.

4. Some dogs are born with dewclaws. Don’t ignore them since they, too, are growing!

Some dogs have dewclaws, which are digits that grow higher on the leg, similar to our thumbs and big toes.

5. After you’ve completed trimming your dog’s nails, reward them with food and cuddles!

You’ll have to cut your dog’s nails on a frequent basis, so make it as pleasant as possible for your dog.

When you’re done, shower them with treats and comfort.

What is “Normal” for Canine Claws?

Although your dog does not have dog nail, their claws are very comparable in many ways.

Both, like hair and fur, are comprised of keratin (which are also different from each other).

Claws are often linked to the bone, making them more sturdy as well as more problematic if broken.

Because you now understand the technical distinction, I’ve used the terms ‘nail’ and ‘claw’ interchangeably in this text for the sake of simplicity.

If you’ve ever seen images of people who overgrow their nails, you may have noticed that they occasionally curl back on themselves or can be referred as brittle nails. .

Claws can be clipped by a groomer by nail trimming, but ingrown nail should always be handled by your veterinarian.

Depending on how deep the nail is, your dog may require stitches, and they will undoubtedly benefit from antiseptic ointment.

If there is an infection, the veterinarian can give medicines and, if necessary, pain relievers.

Answered: How Many Nails Should a Dog Have?

Dewclaw - Wikipedia
How Many Nails Should a Dog Have

It’s very common for most dogs to have five nails on the front and four at the back.

That makes a total of 18 claws counting the dew claw, which are sometimes called ‘thumbs.’

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Though, some dogs do have dew claws on the back feet.

Having extra toes is a genetic abnormality for a dog, but not a rare one.

Moreover, extra toes might help with traction and balance, depending on where they are.

These are not true dewclaws, but rather a form of polydactyly.

Just as I use both nail and claw to refer to dog’s claws, I’m going to keep calling the rear polydactyl toe a dewclaw.

These are not actually a dogs dew claws, but a type of polydactyly.

I’m referring to the rear polydactyl toe as the dogs dewclaw, just as I do to dog claws.

Extra dewclaws are a genetic relic most typically found in flock-guarding breeds such as poodles, Anatolian Shepherds, and Rottweilers.

The Great Pyrenees, often known as the polydactyl dog, are the most likely to have extra nails.

GPs may have six toes, with nails on their back feet.

Care and Removal of Dewclaws

Some dog owners choose to have the ‘extra dogs nail’ removed to keep their pets from snagging their dewclaws on things and painfully pulling them off.

This is especially common in dewclaws on the back legs.

Some dewclaws are attached by a bone, while others are simply skin with a quick and a nail, making it more difficult to remove some of them with nail trimmer.

Dogs with intact dewclaws may never catch them at all.

Unfortunately, dogs who catch and tear a dewclaw may require it to be removed to prevent further injury and infection.

Regardless, keep an eye on them and carefully cut them with dog nail clippers or a grinder to prevent the claw from developing into the skin.

The Function of a Dog’s Nails

Whether your dog has eighteen, twenty, or some other unusual number of claws, each one serves a job.

When running or walking, your dog’s toes and nails at the base of the foot provide balance and traction.

That’s why they slide about so much on smooth flooring.

Dogs who dig naturally use their claws to draw up dirt.

There are numerous breeds that were bred to hunt tiny prey such as rabbits.

A dog will dig its way inside a victim’s burrow if they fall to the ground.

This is useful for hunting and working dogs, but it might be inconvenient if you have a flower bed.

Colors of Dog Nails

Unless you’ve been panting their claws using nail polish, which you should definitely avoid, dog nails are either very pale or dark.

The color of your dog’s nails is determined by the color of his or her hair and skin.

A dog with a dark foot has dark nails, a dog with a light foot has light nails, and a dog with a piebald or patterned coat has multicolored nails.

The only true differences in canine nail color are their genetic history and the ease with which they can be clipped.

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Darker canines, like humans, are descended from ancestors who lived closer to the equator millions of years ago.

The dark pigment, known as melanin, protects them from the sun. Paler puppies were found further north or south.

Secrets of Dog’s Dewclaw

The extra nails on dewclaws may appear to serve no use, however this is not the case.

They allow a dog to have a better grasp on things like food, toys, and prey while they are on the front feet.

Furthermore, dogs that run at fast speeds can bend their legs so much that their dewclaw makes contact with the ground.

It provides them with additional traction and allows them to make quicker, more stable turns on the fly.

Dewclaws are frequently employed by certain species, such as Catahoula Leopard Dogs, to aid with tree climbing.

Extra traction and grip on the bark is advantageous, particularly for dogs hunting game that climbs or nests in trees.

They use the extra toe so well that they can frequently climb as well as cats.

Final Thoughts

It turns out that dog nails are a lot broader topic than I previously assumed.

While most dogs have only eighteen claws and use them for traction, that is not all they are capable of.

Digging, climbing, and even grabbing objects with a dewclaw are all within your pet’s capabilities.

Keep an eye on your dog’s feet at all times.

Problems with the claws aren’t the only thing that might go wrong.

Split paws, dried out pads, and bacterial infections are other typical puppy issues.

Keep your dog’s nails short but not too short. If you must seek the assistance of a dog groomer, do so rather than allowing their nails to grow out.


How many nails does a dog paw have?

There are four nails.

Your dog has four nails on each paw, one on each toe above the pad, facing forward.

Canine toenails, like human nails, are comprised of a protein called keratin.

The nails of a dog are oval, broader at the toe and thinner as they grow out.

Do dogs need their dew claws?

Although dewclaws aren’t as useful to a dog as a thumb is to a human, they do serve a role.

Some people believe that their dog’s dewclaws should be removed.

However, dewclaw removal is rarely required in severe cases of damage or sickness.

What is the extra toe on a dog called?

Dew Claw

The majority of dogs have four dog nail on each rear foot and five on each front foot.

The dewclaw is the additional nail on the upper, inner section of a dog’s foot.

Did you arrive at a different total?

Don’t worry, some dogs have dewclaws on their back feet, and some even have double dewclaws.

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