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What To Do About Splayed Feet In Dogs!

Have you ever come across the condition of splayed feet in dogs and wondered what causes this and what can be done to solve it? If you have a dog that suffers from splayed feet or you know someone who does, you might be looking to learn more about the condition so you can better understand how to handle it.

Dogs of any breed can suffer from this condition, and it has many different causes, including hereditary issues, nutrient deficiencies, weight problems, over-supplementation, and a lot of other things.

Although splayed feet in dogs is not a particularly serious issue in most cases, it can be problematic, and it is sometimes known as “open toed” or “open toed feet.”

Having the toes spread in this way can affect the dog’s weight bearing abilities and may reduce its traction, and it is sometimes a result of puppies being raised in a wire cage, as well as the above issues. If you are going to show your dog, it will count against it.

There are many reasons that you should pay attention to splaying in your dog’s feet, regardless of whether the dog is a show dog or not.

Like all health conditions, it’s worth knowing what’s going on, what’s causing the issue, and what you can do about it. This will allow you to keep your dog in peak condition at all times.

What Is Splayed Feet In Dogs?

Splaying is when the dog’s toes have spread out and there are visible gaps between each toe, as opposed to the way dog’s feet usually are, with every toe nestled against the neighboring toes.

Feet splaying can be caused by a whole host of different things, and it varies in severity; some foot splaying is serious, while in other dogs, it will be a minor aesthetic issue.

If your dog’s feet have started to splay, make sure you identify the cause so that you can correct it if possible.

Splaying can appear in any breed, but larger dogs are often at a greater risk of it, because there is more pressure on their feet, and they are therefore more likely to spread.

If you notice it appearing in your dog, you should discuss it with your vet or the dog’s breeder to find out what is going on and how you can correct it. Don’t ignore splaying, even if you don’t intend to show the dog and the aesthetics don’t matter to you.

You should note that some dogs have paws that naturally splay a bit more than others, particularly dogs that were bred for handling marshy and wet terrains.

However, problematic splayed feet are often more noticeable and distinctive and if you’re concerned, it’s worth comparing your dog’s feet with the standard for the breed using pictures online or other dogs that you know.

Are Splayed Feet In Dogs Bad?

Splayed feet in dogs can be bad, yes, although they are not generally a major problem. Most of the time, they are only an issue if you wish to show your dog, in which case splayed feet can be considered a fault, and in some breeds, they are strictly penalized.

However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore splayed feet if you aren’t planning to show your dog.

Splayed feet can cause a number of issues because they are inefficient and they often position the dog’s weight on the wrong part of its foot.

The pads on a dog’s feet are designed to be cushioned and hold the weight comfortably without getting worn, but if the weight shifts onto the wrong part of the dog’s foot, there is much more risk of wear and tear happening to the skin.

Dogs may develop blisters and sores, and might be uncomfortable if they need to stand or walk for long periods of time.

Foot splaying also makes it harder for the dog to run and walk because the traction of the paw pad will be reduced.

It can also be quite uncomfortable for the dog, and you might observe your dog trying to keep its weight off its feet, choosing to sit or lie down rather than run around and play.

What To Do About Splayed Feet In Dogs!

It’s important to try and correct splayed feet if you can, and while this condition is sometimes genetic, it is often caused by the environment as well.

You should always talk to a vet or breeder about splaying so you can identify the cause and correct it promptly, but here are a few things that you should look out for.

Firstly, you should keep your dog’s nails nice and short, as this reduces the risk of them pushing the toes outward.

Secondly, check that your dog is getting all the nutrients it needs from its diet, because splaying can often be a result of deficiencies, and correcting these may help to stop the splaying.

Talk to your vet before supplementing your dog’s food, however, because splaying can be a result of both over-supplementation and deficiencies, and you need to know where the imbalance lies.

Another suggestion involves feeding your dog from a raised dish, as this can help to reduce the risk of the dog putting a lot of weight on its front feet as it bends down to eat. Puppies should not be raised in crates with wire bases, as this can also increase the risk of toe splaying.


Splayed feet in dogs can be painful and problematic, so if you notice that your dog is suffering from this issue, it’s important to try and correct it as soon as possible, or at least prevent it from getting worse. Talk to your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s feet splaying, and make sure that your dog is getting the right nutrition, as this will help to ensure that its feet develop correctly. If your dog is overweight, work on getting it back down to a healthy weight to reduce the risk of its feet splaying.