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Do Shih Tzus Have Dew Claws: Complete Answer

As a dog owner, you may have heard about dew claws and wondered if your beloved Shih Tzu has them.

In this article, we’ll explore what dew claws are, their importance, and whether Shih Tzus have them.

We’ll also cover how to properly care for your Shih Tzu’s nails and paws to keep them healthy and happy. Let’s dive right in!

shih tzu dew claw

What are Dew Claws?

Dew claws are essentially the “thumb” of a dog’s paw. They’re the small, vestigial digits located higher up on the inside of the leg, just above the wrist or ankle joint. In some breeds, they are well-developed, while in others, they may be barely noticeable or even absent.

Do Shih Tzus Have Dew Claws?

The short answer is: Yes, Shih Tzus typically have dew claws.

However, the presence and appearance of dew claws can vary among individual dogs within the breed.

Some Shih Tzus may have more prominent dew claws, while others may have smaller or even “floating” ones, which means they’re not firmly attached to the bone.

Importance of Dew Claws in Shih Tzus

While some people may see dew claws as a mere evolutionary leftover, they do serve a purpose for our four-legged friends.

Dew claws can help dogs maintain traction and stability when running or making sharp turns. They also aid in holding objects, such as bones, while chewing.

Should Dew Claws Be Removed?

For Shih Tzus, it’s generally not necessary to remove their dew claws.

However, if the dew claws are loose or poorly attached, they may be prone to injury, and your veterinarian may recommend removal to prevent complications.

As always, consult with your trusted veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your specific dog.

Caring for Your Shih Tzu’s Nails and Paws

To keep your Shih Tzu’s feet healthy and pain-free, it’s essential to maintain proper nail and paw care. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

1. Regular Nail Trimming

Regular nail trimming is crucial for your Shih Tzu’s comfort and overall health. Overgrown nails can cause discomfort and pain, alter your dog’s gait, and even lead to joint problems. I recommend trimming your dog’s nails every 3-4 weeks, depending on their activity level and the surface they walk on. Don’t forget to trim the dew claws as well, as they don’t naturally wear down like the other nails.

2. Choose the Right Tools

Invest in a good-quality nail clipper or grinder designed specifically for dogs. There are two main types of nail clippers: guillotine-style and scissor-style. I personally prefer the scissor-style, as they provide more control and precision. However, some dog owners may prefer a nail grinder for a smoother finish.

3. Learn the Proper Technique

If you’re new to trimming your dog’s nails, consult with your veterinarian or a professional groomer to learn the correct technique. They can also show you how to avoid cutting the “quick” – the sensitive blood vessel inside the nail – which can cause pain and bleeding.

4. Make It a Positive Experience

To make nail trimming a stress-free experience for both you and your Shih Tzu, always use positive reinforcement. Offer treats, praise, and gentle petting to create a positive association with the process. Start slowly and gradually increase the frequency and duration of the sessions.

5. Keep an Eye on Their Paws**

In addition to nail care, regularly check your Shih Tzu’s paws for any signs of injury or irritation. Look for cuts, scrapes, or cracked pads, and keep an eye out for foreign objects, such as thorns or small stones, lodged between their toes. If you notice any issues, clean the affected area with warm water and mild soap, and consult your veterinarian if necessary.

6. Paw Maintenance

To keep your Shih Tzu’s paws in tip-top shape, consider using a paw balm or wax to moisturize and protect their pads, especially during extreme weather conditions. In the winter, ice, snow, and salt can be harsh on their paws, while hot pavement can cause burns during the summer months. Regularly applying a paw balm can help prevent these issues and keep your furry friend comfortable all year round.

In Conclusion

So, there you have it – Shih Tzus do have dew claws, and it’s essential to include them in your regular nail and paw care routine.

By properly maintaining your dog’s nails and paws, you can ensure their comfort and overall well-being.

Remember always to consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions about your Shih Tzu’s dew claws or paw health. Happy grooming!


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.