Home Care Instructions for Pets Following Dew Claw Injuries

What to Expect

After coming home from the clinic, your pet should be kept in a warm, dry, quiet and ideally indoor location in the 24 hours following discharge. If your pet is discharged on the same day that he/she had the dew claw injury addressed, they may still be a little bit drowsy after they go home with you. There may also be some irritability or incoordination during this initial 24-hour period immediately after the procedure.

You will find that we may have shaved the fur around the affected dew claw in order to cleanse it thoroughly prior to trimming the affected nail back. Shaving the affected area around the dew claw also ensures that fur does not poke into the raw nail bed and that the area continues to stay clean after the surgery

The shaved area on your pet's front or back legs is the IV sedative and/or IV catheter site. Some bruising to this area may be seen when they go home with you; however, if this persists beyond 72 hours, please give us a call at the clinic. 


Bandage and Wound Care

Most, but not all, dew claw injuries may need to be bandaged. If your pet had a foot/paw bandage applied, this is usually removed by one of our veterinarians. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend that the affected paw remains bandaged and she will advise you the frequency in which your pet needs to come back to our clinic for bandage changes. It is imperative that the foot/paw bandage is kept clean and dry. Your pet should not be allowed to chew or lick at the bandage - if you notice him/her doing so, please place an E-collar on him/her. 

If you notice your pet licking or chewing at the foot bandage and/or dew claw, he/she will need to wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent this. E-collars may be purchased from our clinic reception. Ensure that pets are not allowed to roam outdoors without close supervision when they are wearing an E-collar, as this poses a choking hazard if it gets caught in a fence or branch.

We will also usually provide a foot bag to keep the foot bandage dry. Please place the bag provided over the foot/paw bandage when taking your pet outdoors, to prevent the bandage getting wet or dirty. This bag must not be left on while indoors as it can cause sweating under the bandage. 

Please check your pet's toes daily for swelling which would indicate that the bandage is too tight. A change in your pet's behaviour or demeanor is often an early warning sign that the bandage has become uncomfortable. If the bandage appears uncomfortable for your pet, becomes wet, oversoaked with wound discharge, is smelly and/oror shows signs of loosening, please contact us on (06) 3588675.

Once the bandage is removed, the affected area around the dew claw should be checked daily for persistent swelling and/or discharge. It is important that you keep your pet in a clean and dry environment so that the affected dew claw remains clean. Pets should not get bathed or allowed to get their feet wet in any way, until the dew claw has fulled healed. For cats - please only use shredded paper or non clumping litter in the litter tray to prevent the litter material from sticking to the affected dew claw.


Exercise Restriction

Confinement to a dry indoor area is necessary until all the the dew claw is fully healed and all bandages are removed. It is important that all dogs are toileted on a lead. Dogs should also only receive light lead exercise only until the dew claw is fully healed. Cats should ideally remain indoors until te dew claw is fully healed. No off-leash activity is recommended for 5-7 days following the dew claw injury. 



Unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian or veterinary nurse at the time of discharge, no significant change is usually required to your pet's diet following sedation to address his/her dew claw injury. A small portion of your pet's diet should be fed in the evening that they come home with you, and then resume feeding normal portions in the morning. It is not unusual for some loss of appetite to occur in the first 24 hours following discharge from our clinic; however, if this persists, please give us a call at the clinic on (06) 3588675. 



Some pets may have oral medications to go home with. Please administer all medications as directed on the label. Most antibiotics and pain relief medications are generally given with a meal.



Should you have any enquiries or further concerns about the post-operative care of your pet, please do not hestitate to phone us at (06) 3588675 to discuss.



Published by Cahill Animal Hospital on 25 July 2016
The team at Cahill Animal Hospital is here to provide you and your pet with the best possible medical, surgical and supportive care. Our motto "We care as much as you do" is a very important part of our day to day work. We are committed to providing you and your pet with the best options for care.

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