Do I need to take my dog to the vet for a dew claw injury? She was chasing a ball and skidded around to grab it and it ripped her dew claw. It bled a few drops at the base of the nail but is not swollen but is very tender. It appears to be sticking out a little bit more than normal. She is limping on this leg. Can this affect the leg bones or joint and should I take her to the vet?
This type of injury is not harmful long term but can cause considerable discomfort short term. It will not affect her leg bones or her joints, but if the nail is sticking out to the side, the nail itself is probably broken higher up. As this grows out, it will be more prone to recurrent injury. Also, because it is painful, dogs will often lick at the area excessively and that cause an infection to develop.
While this certainly isn't a life-threatening situation, I would have things checked out by your vet. It is often necessary to trim the nail back to where the break has occurred to allow things to heal better. This may or may not require sedation depending on the dog and how high up the break is. Your vet can also get some medication to help address the pain issue.
Please let me know if you need additional information.
I have over 20 years experience in small animal and emergency veterinary medicine