Splayed feet in dogs in Onalaska, WI

What are splayed feet? Why should you be concerned about your dog's splayed feet in Onalaska, WI?

Splayed feet is a condition that affects many breeds naturally, but can be caused by other factors. The condition where the toes of your dog are separated, usually with a noticeable gap, is also called “open toed” or “open feet”. With purebred dogs it can be something that is penalized in competition depending on the breed.


Some dogs have “slightly” splayed toes or “well-split toes”. It’s believed that this was due to the dogs original jobs, what they were bred for. The Irish Water Spaniel worked mainly in marshy, muddy areas, so for them that additional webbing was much like flippers for scuba divers. It allowed them to negotiate the terrain more readily.

The Alaskan Malamute is also prone to splayed feet. However, with the Malamute, the separation makes the padding or webbing between the toes very thin and in the cold weather that padding doesn’t retain the heat needed to keep the dog running.

Other Causes

While genetics can be a factor in splayed feet, the following factors can also cause the condition. 

  • Poor food placement: Larger dogs need their bowls elevated. Bending down to the floor to get to their food and water can cause their feet to become splayed.
  • Nutrition: A balanced diet is key to getting your dog the right nutrients they need to keep their bones healthy.
  • Under or over supplementing with minerals/vitamins:From the time they are puppies through old age, your dog may require supplements to keep their bones and circulation healthy. As dogs age, especially, the production of the enzymes they need to break down proteins, carbs, and fat slows down
  • Poor nail care: Overgrown nails can cause your dogs to slip, and put pressure on the feet as well as the legs.


Splayed feet can cause a variety of issues. Pain, balance issues, inflammation, poor circulation, and even broken bones can be caused by splayed feet in your dog making being a dog a hard thing to be. 

Splayed feet also make the pads more sensitive to heat and cold, and can give them greater risk of cuts and abrasions which can lead to infections. 

Dogs need to run, play, jump and exercise, and in most cases by taking time to ensure your dog is receiving the right nutrients, and keeping their nails trimmed, you can make sure they can play for years to come. 

Take into account your dog's breed when talking to your pet’s doctor in Onalaska, WI today, to make a plan for the right diet, get the proper supplements, raise those bowls, and learn how to keep their nails in good shape.