Nail Care for Your Dog

A dog’s nails are very similar to our human nails. When left long, they can hinder tasks and annoy your dog, much like we would experience if we grew our nails long. If your dog’s simplest tasks are hindered, they might try to bite their nails and that could cause other issues, so keeping your dog’s nails trimmed up, is better for their well-being.

Learn Before You Cut

One of the easiest clues that your dog’s nails are too long, is if you can hear them when they walk. The clicking you’ll hear on a hardwood floor is a great indication that it’s time for a trim.

You can cut your pet’s nails yourself, but you need to be careful and have the proper tools to do it. Never use the same nail clippers that you would use for yourself. Your nails are shaped differently than your pets, so a differently shaped clipper is necessary. You can pick up the appropriate clipper set at a pet store or talk to your local veterinarian about getting one.

Keep in mind that most dogs need a nail trim every month, but some can go longer. If your dog spends more time on hard surfaces that may help file their nails down, it may be longer between clippings.

Long nails can quickly become ingrown or hurt your dog when they walk. Long nails can snag and lead to injuries for your pet, especially if they have been chewing on them to try and shorten them.

Tips & Pointers

Some dogs will let you cut their nails, and some will do anything to get out of it. If you have help, someone can distract the dog while you cut their nails. Offering treats or a reward that they love can make it easier as well. Some dogs create such a fuss that you are better off taking the animal to your vet so the professionals can do it in a safe and controlled environment.

Be extremely careful of the quick in your dog’s nail, which is the skin that supplies the blood to the nail.  If you cut the nail too short, you could cut the quick and cause your dog to bleed. Spread the toes of your pet, to get at each nail more easily. Some dogs have black or white toenails. The white or more clear nails make it easy to see the quick. The black nails are harder to cut shorter, as you can be cutting blind. If your dog still has dewclaws, those need to be cut as well, they can also get torn if they catch them on blankets, cages, etc. and that can be extremely painful for your pet.

If you do clip your dog’s quick, you’ll know. Chances are they’ll yip or whine, or maybe bleed. If your dog bleeds, you can use a styptic powder to coagulate the blood. Some men keep it in their shaving kits, but it is sold at most pet stores and veterinary offices.

You can always have your dog’s nails cut when you get them groomed or when they visit your local veterinary office. They will do it for you, often for a small fee.

If your dog does tear a nail or dewclaw, take them to your local vet so they can take care of it. Ignoring long nails on your pet can lead to pain for them and more serious problems for you. If you’re afraid of cutting them yourself, take them to a professional. Either way, it’s best to keep their nails trimmed on a consistent basis.