Splayed Feet In Dogs [Guide]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

If you’ve ever noticed your dog’s feet spreading out to the sides when they walk, they may have a condition called splayed feet (not to be confused with east west feet in dogs)

Splayed feet in dogs are a common problem, but it’s one that can be corrected with the right treatment.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about splayed feet in dogs, from the causes to the symptoms to the treatment options.

We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about this condition.

By the end of this post, you should have a good understanding of splayed feet in dogs and how to deal with them.

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Splayed Feet In Dogs: What Are They?

Dogs with splayed feet typically have problems with their gait.

The toes spread outwards and the dog’s foot looks as though it is pointing in different directions at the same time.

This can cause pain and difficulty walking.

Treatment typically involves splinting or surgery.

If left untreated, the condition can worsen and lead to more serious problems such as paralysis of one or more toes, lameness, swelling, decreased appetite, increased thirst, weight loss, and changes in behavior (e.g., restlessness).

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Causes Of Splayed Feet In Dogs

Some breeds are naturally prone to the condition of splayed feet, which can be brought on by a number of factors.

It’s often referred to as having “open toes” or “open feet” if your dog’s toes are split, usually with a significant gap.

Depending on the breed, it may be something that purebred dogs are penalized for in competition.

Splayed feet can cause a number of problems for dogs, including pain, arthritis, and difficulty walking.

The factors that can cause splayed feet in dogs include genetic factors, environmental factors, and injuries.

Genetic causes of the condition include abnormalities in the way bones grow or function.

This is unfortunately out of our control, which is why it is important for breeders to stop breeding the line, and owners should inform their breeders if this issue happens.

Environmental factors that can contribute to splayed feet include lack of exercise or obesity, which can result in fatty tissues pressing against the joints and soft tissues around the anklebone, causing them to become misshapen.

If you have a bigger dog, you should also ensure that it eats out of a raised feeding bowl to prevent unnecessary splaying of its feet.

Injury may also lead to splayed feet as it can damage muscles and ligaments surrounding the anklebone.

Although it is common to think of injuries as a result of accidents, it can be as simple as an overgrown toenail.

When they get too long, it causes your dog to lose its footing and balance, putting extra pressure on its feet.

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Symptoms Of Splayed Feet In Dogs

If you’re a dog owner, you may have noticed that your pet’s feet are splayed outwards and this is the most obvious sign.

The other symptoms of splayed feet in dogs can also be very telling.

Keep a lookout for the following:

  • They may appear to be limping or holding up one leg more than the other
  • They may have difficulty walking on slippery surfaces or up the stairs
  • They may have trouble getting up from a sitting position
  • You may notice that their paws don’t touch the ground when they walk
  • They have difficulty balancing themselves

If it’s left untreated, splayed feet can become painful and make walking difficult for them. If you notice that your dog has splayed feet, you should take them to the vet for treatment as soon as possible.

Splayed feet can be a problem for dogs, as they can cause pain and difficulty walking.

If you notice that your dog’s feet are splayed outwards, the best thing to do is take them to the vet for treatment as soon as possible.

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Treatment Options For Splayed Feet In Dogs

Tendon release, osteotomy, and arthrodesis (joint fusion) are the most common surgical procedures that can be performed to correct this condition.

In each case, surgery will involve releasing the tension on the tendon or bone that is causing the foot to splay, then repairing or replacing it.

The earlier the surgery is performed, the better the chances are for a successful outcome.

However, depending on the type of surgery your dog undergoes, there may be some temporary discomfort or restrictions in their activity afterward.

Your dog will also need to wear a special boot or splint for four to six weeks while they heal.

If you’re ever unsure whether your dog requires surgery for their splayed feet, please consult with your veterinarian.

They will be able to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment options based on your dog’s individual situation.

How To Prevent Splayed Feet In Dogs

Splayed feet in dogs is a common problem that can be incredibly frustrating for both you and your dog.

If left untreated, it can lead to other health issues such as joint pain and lameness.

When this condition arises from a genetic point of view, there is really nothing you can do about it.

What you can control is ensuring that your dog:

  • gets regular grooming for its nails
  • eats out of a bowl that does not require it to bend too much
  • have a healthy and nutritious diet and not become overweight
  • does not get exposed to surfaces that can cause injury to its feet such as excessively rough, sharp, or hot grounds

When To See A Vet For Your Dog’s Splayed Feet

While splayed feet may seem minor, they can be very painful and debilitating for a dog.

If left untreated, they will often require surgery to correct them – which could cost quite a bit of money depending on the severity of the condition.

The moment you notice that one of your dog’s feet is splayed (spread out) or it is showing the signs mentioned earlier, you should get it checked out by a vet right away.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is splay foot the same as flat foot?

No, a splayed foot and a flat foot are two different conditions. Simply put, a splayed foot is when the toes become far apart from each other, while a flat foot is when the foot does not have a prominent arch.

In Conclusion: Splayed Feet in Dogs

Splayed feet in dogs is a condition that can be painful and debilitating if left untreated.

Early detection and intervention are essential for minimizing damage and ensuring optimal care for your furry friend.

If you notice that your dog’s feet are splayed, take them to the vet for an evaluation as soon as possible.

While there is no perfect solution, early detection and intervention are essential for minimizing damage and ensuring optimal care for your furry friend.

Check out other dog care tips such as does pine sol kill fleas, should you buy a puppy with an umbilical hernia, should you put a puppy pad in a crate at night, and many more on our blog!

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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