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*In a message dated 95-11-27 05:43:56 EST, George O. writes:
*> But in
*>canids, it seems damn useless.. is anybody aware of any uses it might have?
*>in ways, it might be analogous to the theropodan hallux.. might... might.
*In the canid that owns our house and takes me for walks twice a day, I have
*yet to observe any purpose for the dew claw whatsoever, except on occasion to
*be a source of minor irritation when it becomes injured/scraped up after she
*chases squirrels, etc. Pet shops sometimes recommend having the dew claws
*removed for this reason.

A lot of people think that, and it is even a fairly common
procedure to get them removed if they're troublesome.

My dog (oops! canid...) actually _does_ use them, and with
quite a bit of dexterity, when he's trying to get a good
grip on something he's chewing, like a rawhide bone; they
seem to serve as an "anchoring" point, of some kind.

I have also observed him extending it for a wider "swath"
when he's taking a swipe at something - usually me, when we're

These uses may not be universal, but I know of at least one
dog who uses his "dew claws" for something.


*  Snake---------                                          *
*  sean.kerns@sdrc.com                                     *