Zack Keithy, our author, has been a certified veterinarian technician 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. Learn more about us here.
Have you noticed that your dog’s feet are pointing outwards when they are just standing still? They might have a condition known as East West feet.
Does this pose a problem for them and what can be done when such a situation occurs? How to correct East West feet in dogs?
In this post, we will discuss the causes and how to fix east west feet in dogs effectively.
- What Are East-west Feet in Dogs?
- What Do Healthy Dogs' Legs and Feet Look Like?
- What Causes East West Feet in Dogs?
- What Causes East West Feet in Dogs?
- Will My Puppy Stop Turning Out Its Feet as It Grows?
- What Treatments Are Available for Outward-turning Feet?
- Is Easty Westy Feet Hereditary?
- In Conclusion: How to Correct East West Feet in Dogs
What Are East-west Feet in Dogs?
East-West feet, properly known as carpal valgus, is one of the names used to describe a condition that affects dogs and the orientation of their feet.
Also known as “ten twos” referring to hands on a clock, these are the names given when a dog’s paws are pointing outward rather than pointing straight ahead.
Though this isn’t necessarily a serious condition, a dog’s posture is an important indicator that they are strong and healthy.
If you notice your dog’s toes are pointing outward, there are a few potential reasons for this, as discussed later in the article.
Some puppies will have East West feet and then grow out of it, which is totally normal.
Certain breeds are also more prone to their toes pointing outward due to their genetics.
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What Do Healthy Dogs’ Legs and Feet Look Like?
A dog’s resting standing posture is an excellent indicator of its general health.
Ideally, a dog should stand with straight legs and its feet facing forward.
The front legs should be straight down from the shoulder and should rest slightly under the chest.
The joints in their front legs should not twist either inwards or outwards and the elbows should not stick out.
The alignment is important as it provides the correct support for your dog to walk, run, jump and live an active lifestyle.
You may notice your dog occasionally turns out their paws when they are propping itself up, scratching itself, or changing direction while moving.
These are all normal and help your dog to balance and stabilize themselves.
They should put their paws straight when returning back to normal movements.
It is only if the wrist and paws are permanently twisted outwards that indicates an issue.
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What Causes East West Feet in Dogs?
Sometimes genetic defects can affect bone growth in dogs.
For some, the front legs grow unevenly and may have some legs longer than others.
Some dogs may also be born with slight paw deformities which can cause them to have malfunctioning toes.
These would make dogs twist out their feet to find a better position to stabilize themselves.
Some dogs are also born with very weak pasterns.
Pasterns are the section between a dog’s paw and the lower end of the radius bone.
They work as a dog’s shock absorbers for the body and play a crucial role in a dog’s gait.
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Injuries and Joint Issues
Injuries from falls, slips, jumps, and accidents can result in chronic pain and trauma.
Injuries may disrupt normal bone development causing the leg to grow malformed or twisted.
Dogs may also form habits of limping or walking improperly due to pain.
Joint problems like Elbow Dysplasia, Carpal Valgus, Medial Patellar Luxation, Arthritis, and other joint instability issues may also affect a dog’s posture and cause them to turn out their feet.
If your dog’s nails are too long or overgrown, it can make it difficult for them to walk properly and can lead to long-term deformities if they are not treated.
Dogs with nails that are too long will have issues placing their paws flat on the ground, so they shift their weight to accommodate for the lack of grip and stability.
Over time, this may result in East-West feet.
This is why it is very important to keep up with your dog’s grooming requirements and make sure that their nails are trimmed regularly.
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Weight Gain and Obesity
Smaller dogs are already more prone to turning out their toes and they tend to gain weight more easily than larger dogs.
Either way, the increased weight on a dog’s spine forces them to change their postures in order to maintain balance, causing them to turn out its feet.
Diet plays a crucial role in your dog’s health and you must make sure they are eating the right foods that meet all of their nutritional needs.
Without getting the proper nutrients, your dog’s bones will be weak or underdeveloped which will make dogs have to shift their weight and change their posture, leading to East West feet.
Certain breeds of dogs have a body shape that makes them predisposed to East West feet.
The shape of a dog’s body can mess with its posture, usually when it is a small dog or a dog with a long torso.
They have a low center of gravity which forces their toes outwards to keep themselves stabilized.
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What Causes East West Feet in Dogs?
Dogs with turned-out feet occur more commonly in certain dog breeds due to their size and torso length. Smaller dogs and dogs with long bodies are most heavily affected due to their low center of gravity.
That’s why basset hounds, dachshunds, and corgis are perfect examples of breeds prone to East West feet because they have short stature and a long body.
Though these features add to their cuteness, it also causes them to turn out their paws.
Bulldogs and pugs also tend to have outward-pointing toes.
As their bodies aren’t as long, both of these breeds are small and close to the floor with heavy bodies and short legs.
The combination of short legs with a heavy body makes it difficult for the dogs to balance and support themselves.
Shih Tzus, Skye Terriers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Lhasa Apsos, and English Cocker Spaniels are all dog breeds that we see East West feet occur more commonly,
Doggy says, read this too: Dog’s Bones Crack When Getting Up or Moving [Causes]
Will My Puppy Stop Turning Out Its Feet as It Grows?
If you notice your new puppy has feet that turn out, don’t worry!
Most of them will grow out of it as they get older.
Some puppies go through a phase of pointing out their toes due to their bodies developing a little unevenly.
When their chests “drop” it will naturally correct the East-West toes.
Ensuring that your dog gets adequate exercise, as well as a balanced diet, will also play an important role in its overall development.
What Treatments Are Available for Outward-turning Feet?
Since many cases of East West feet are due to genetics and bone structure, they are not always treatable.
If weak pasterns are the cause, there are some exercises that can help strengthen the muscles around the pastern.
For example, you can take them for walks on loose soil, like sand or small rocks.
Maybe the turned-out feet are a result of a poor diet.
If your dog has East-West feet due to weak bones, you should consult with your vet and see if your dog’s diet is lacking any nutrients.
If your dog is overweight, reduce their food portions and do not give them too many treats or table scraps.
Also, make sure they are getting frequent exercise.
Finally, like with many other pets, dogs’ nails need to be cared for and should be kept short and constantly trimmed.
If you are not comfortable trimming the nails yourself then you should have the vet or a groomer take care of them.
Is Easty Westy Feet Hereditary?
Yes, Easty Westy feet can be hereditary, or they might be caused by an injury.
At the level of the dog’s wrist, one side of the leg (inside vs outside) grows faster than the other (carpus).
Puppies generally grow out of it, and it is important that they get good nutrition and regular low-impact exercise.
Another thing you should bear in mind is that you have to keep its weight under control at all times.
The worry is that it might develop arthritis when it gets older, so taking joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates can also help.
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In Conclusion: How to Correct East West Feet in Dogs
At first glance, you might be worried if there is some major issue with your dog when you see them having East-West feet, but in most cases, they do not cause any problems for them.
If you see your dog developing a limp or having an unnatural gait, then you should immediately take action and bring it to the vet. This is most so when dealing with adult dogs.
If you are adopting, you should look out for such behavior and flag it out to the administrator, and implement corrective measures as soon as possible.
Being a dog parent is not exactly a simple job, so I’m sure you can do with all the help you can get.
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