Should You Trim Your Dog’s Nails?
6 June, 2017
trim dog nail

Most dogs (like cats!) don’t love to get their nails clipped and if they are very active, the nails usually fall off on their own.  If you have a dog that spends a lot of time indoors, it’s important to keep their nails’ trimmed.  And, what better way to get them used to trimming than starting the process when they are puppies.

What happens if you don’t trim your dog’s nails?

Dog nails are constantly growing. Some dogs wear down their nails naturally from walking on the pavement. However, for those dogs that live indoors and don’t spend enough time on these surfaces, it is important to keep the nails short. This is especially the case with small dogs. If left to grow, some dog’s nails will curl under and actually start growing into the foot pads. This leads to painful sores and infections.

Even if they don’t curl under, long nails can make it difficult for dogs to walk, especially on slick surfaces.  Long nails can easily get caught on something and become partially torn off or split. Overgrown nails cause the foot to spread and change your puppy’s gait. The claws on the inside of the lower leg need particular attention since they never contact the ground. This is very painful for your dog and treating a torn nail may require sedation at your vet’s office.  Point being, keep them cut !

How often should you trim your dog’s nails?

It really depends on your dog. The rate of nail growth versus the amount of natural wear can vary from dog to dog. A good rule of thumb is to trim your dog’s nails if they touch the floor when he is standing. In general, most dogs will need a nail trim every month or two. The front nails tend to grow faster that the rear nails, so you may only need to trim the rear nails every other time you do the front (or just trim a smaller amount off the rear nails each time).

How you should start before trimming your dog’s nails

You should begin handling your dog’s paws from the moment you bring him home. Try to get you dog t used to the sensation and associate it with a positive experience (treats, toys, attention). Hold your dog’s paws and play with his toes several times a day. Keep your demeanor upbeat. Praise him and reward him with treats when he tolerates the handling.

Once you get comfortable with nail trims, begin trimming a tiny amount of the nail every week or two. Take care not to cut too short, or your dog will have a negative experience. Frequent, positive nail trims will teach your dog or puppy that there is nothing to fear. This will make nail trims much easier down the road.

When should you start to trim your puppy’s nails?

Nails at their longest should just clear the ground when the puppy stands in place. If you hear your puppy clicking on your kitchen floor, it’s time to trim those nails. Your groomer or veterinarian can trim your dog’s nails at routine visits, but it’s easy enough to do yourself.  In fact here are some tips to trim your dog’s nails without him hating you!

If you don’t have the time or are nervous about trimming your dog’s nails, your veterinarian or a groomer can do a great job for you!

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One thought on “Should You Trim Your Dog’s Nails?”

  1. If you are not absolutely sure about what you are doing, don’t do it! You can cause severe pain to the dog if you cut too short. I used to groom animals and so many people would bring in their dogs with bloody feet after the damage was done.

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