Dog Feet Turn Outward When Standing?

All dogs occasionally turn their feet outside, but if you notice that your dog feet turn outward when standing all the time, it might be because of swimmer syndrome or other problems, and it can cause potential damage to their feet.

An average dog’s feet should form a straight line from their shoulders, and the joints shouldn’t turn inward or outward. However, many dogs have their feet turned outward when standing, which is unusual but relatively common.

Dogs have splayed feet for genetic or acquired reasons. It can be as simple as grown nails or as complex as arthritis and vertebral disc problems. 

Dog Feet Turn Outward When Standing

Whatever the case, splayed feet in dogs can cause long-term trouble to their health and should be discussed with their vet immediately. Rest assured, with a good diet, controlled weight, and exercise, your furry friend will be able to live a long and healthy life with his unique feet.

My Dog’s Feet Turn Outwards When Standing

A good posture is a sign of good health. So, if your dog’s feet turn outwards when standing, it is the cause of concern. You must immediately pay attention to your dog’s paws and see if he continues to stand like that for a few days. 

If he does, it is essential to look into the matter since his stance can have long-term consequences on his health. Some common reasons why your dog stands with his feet outwards may include the following 

Genetic issues

If you have adopted a shelter dog or received a pure-bred dog, they may have their feet facing outward due to genetic issues. The breeder and people at the shelter should have an idea about it, so you can connect with them and learn if this is a genetic problem.

Weight issues

Make sure that your dog isn’t obese, for it may lead them to walk with splayed feet, which can severely affect not only his joints but also paws. It is not healthy for dogs to be obese since it leads to many health issues, including diabetes, heart disease and other problems

If you see that your dog is obese and needs help, immediately consult your vet and ask for a weight loss program designed and curated only for your furry friend.

Dog Feet Turn Outward When Standing

Possible injury

Sometimes, a deformed foot has nothing with genes or weight but a hidden injury. It is not possible to keep an eye on your dog all the time, and it is possible that they ran into a pole or furniture or fell into a pit and hurt themselves. So, check for any swellings in their legs that may have caused them to walk strangely.

An injury also doesn’t have to be quite serious – even jumping on a hard surface, twisting his legs, slipping when running, etc., can also temporarily make them walk with splayed feet. In any case, it is advisable to take them to a vet and look for any trouble. If the wound or injury isn’t severe, your puppy will start walking generally after a few days.

Swimmer syndrome

Swimmer puppy syndrome is a condition where a puppy cannot stand or walk and has his hind legs extended behind and front legs in the front or sides. The only movement that such puppies are capable of showing is with their limbs in a motion that exhibits swimming.

During the first week of their birth, you will see their feet splayed, and by the second week, they will not be able to stand or walk. Physiotherapy helps straighten the legs, but the condition can continue for life.

Other problems

If your dog has arthritis in its paws, it can twist its feet outwards. Apart from arthritis, overgrown claws, weak wrists, elbow dysplasia, carpal valgus, etc., are other reasons your dog is walking funny with feet facing outward.

Dog Feet Turn Outward When Standing

How To Correct Splayed Feet Dog?

The first thing to correct splayed feet dog is to cut off his toenails – they cause discomfort for dogs to walk on their cushiony paws. The second thing to do is, consult your vet and discuss the matter with them. 

If your splayed feet dog has had his feet turned outward through genes, there is little you can do about it, but heat therapy, vet-approved exercises, and medication may help those with splayed feet caused due to other problems. 

In severe cases, such as those caused by arthritis, dysplasia, and carpal valgus, surgery can be recommended by your vet, and by all means, you should go ahead with it.

How to fix east-west feet in a dog?

East-west feet in dogs refer to a posture when your dog’s front feet point outward when standing or moving. Having turned-out toes isn’t a good sign for your dog’s potential health and should be fixed as soon as possible.

The best way to fix east-west feet in a dog is to ensure that your dog does enough exercise and is on a balanced diet.

Secondly, keep their weight in control, for it can put a lot of pressure on your pup’s feet, which can further deteriorate their condition. Please do not add a lot of snacks or high-protein food to their diet since it can contribute to weight gain. Also, consult your vet and get the ideal weight loss program for your dog’s body type.

You can also opt for heat therapy for your dog so that their cushiony paws can continue to support their feet for a long time. Treatment will also help your pup relax and remain calm for a few hours. If you don’t want to use heating pads, you can pour hot water in the tub and dip your pup’s feet in there.

You should also know that you may not be able to remove the east-west feet from your dog at all, but with regular therapy, exercise, and diet, you can still give your furry friend a happy and healthy life.

Dog Feet Turn Outward When Standing

What Is Cow-Hocked in Dogs?

Cow-hocked or cow-hocks is a term used to describe the relative position of the hocks and toes in the animal’s hind end. A dog is cow-hocked when its hocks are set inwards, resulting in splayed back feet. The hocks appear to be knit together tightly, with toes facing outward.

How to correct a dog with cow-hocked legs?

Many dog owners ask, “can cow-hocked be corrected in dogs?” The simple answer is that they cannot be corrected in most cases. As time passes, it might become more muscled, but its appearance can be reduced. 

Cow-hocked dogs are entirely normal and don’t threaten their bodies, and it doesn’t put a block in the flexibility, movement, or agility of your dog. Even so, many dog owners are worried about their pup’s overall appearance and want to get rid of it.

As mentioned above, cow-hocked legs in dogs may not go away entirely, but they can be reduced, and here’s why


Some examples are regular exercises that strengthen hind legs – uphill walk, swimming, walking on a treadmill in water, and low hurdles. Apart from supporting the legs, these exercises will also increase the muscle coverage on them, which will help in reducing the cow-hocked appearance in dogs.

Joint Health Supplements

Popular joint health supplements help in supporting the joint health of your dog. Glucosamine hydrochloride, sodium chondroitin sulfate, and MSM are common ingredients included in joint supplements. So, make sure that the supplement you are buying for your dog has all of those.

Dietary interventions

A good diet also helps keep your dog’s body strong and healthy for a long time. Thus, it indirectly affects your dog’s health and makes it more vital every day.

Dog Feet Turn Outward When Standing

Frequently Asked Questions

What are splayed feet on a dog?

If your dogs toes are spreading in several directions, it is called splayed feet.

Splayed feet, also known as open-toed or open-feet, is a condition that affects many breeds in dogs. It is a condition where your dog’s toes are separated with a noticeable gap.

As per the American Kennel Club, a splayed foot is flat and has toes spreading in all directions. It can be genetic or due to an injury or underlying condition. It is relatively common in dogs, but a vet should be consulted if your dog has it.

What does it mean when a dog is knuckling?

A knuckling dog’s feet roll under him when he tries to walk.

Knuckling is when a dog’s foot rolls under when it tries to stand or walk, and it looks like they are trying to walk on their paws instead of feet. Even though it is pretty standard in dogs, your furry friend might end up getting injured because of this condition since the foot rolling give space for dragging the foot.

Knuckling is usually the result of an underlying condition. It can be anything from wobbler syndrome, degenerative myelopathy, intervertebral disc disease, IVDD, etc., to a typical twist in the leg. You should consult a professional to learn about dealing with your dog’s knuckling and give it a better life.

What does dog knuckling look like?

The dogs’ paws will be bent while walking.

Knuckling is when a dog walks with his paw bent over as if trying to walk on the top of his paw. It can happen to a single foot or all four of them and usually happens when your dog has suffered some injury and thus, should be taken to a vet as and when you notice him limping.

Your dog can get back to normal in a few days, but he can still be in pain and might need immediate medical assistance.

Why are my dog’s front legs splayed out?

It can be due to both genetic reasons, an injury or one of many diseases.

The reason behind your dog’s splayed feet can be genetic or acquired. There are several acceptable reasons for your dog’s splayed feet, including long nails, heavyweight, joint problems, underlying injury, improper nutrition, weak pasterns, keeping puppies on wire surfaces, etc.

You should consult your vet to learn more about the splayed feet of your dog so that you can come to a solution to reduce its discomfort.

A Few Final Words

Your dog deserves to live a happy and healthy life, and as their owner, you wouldn’t want anything less for them either. Your dog’s splayed feet might not go away forever, but they indeed can be reduced and help your dog walk with more confidence and balance. So, take them to a vet today and help them live everyday life with the help of medicines and therapy.

Thank you for reading, we hope we were able to answer your questions. If there are more, please let us know in the comments. You might also like to read: Why Do Dogs Eat Toenails? And Should Dog Nails Click On Floor?