We know trimming your dog’s nails isn’t your favorite thing to do, and your pup is probably not a fan either. But most people don’t realize that your dog’s unkempt nails can cause them health issues and discomfort.
Why is trimming your dog’s nails important?
- Dogs are not able to fully put their weight on their paw pads when their nails are too long causing muscle strain and discomfort.
- Infrequent nail clippings can cause the quick (soft cuticle in the center of their nail) to grow long making it more difficult to trim nails in the future.
- Longer nails are prone to breaking – think hangnail – sometimes requiring antibiotics or even surgical removal.
- Dewclaws can grow into the paw and cause your dog to be in a great deal of pain.
How often should dog’s nails be clipped?
Nail trimming is recommended every 2 weeks. The growth of the nail depends on your dog’s lifestyle. Dogs that spend more time outside on rough surfaces like cement tend to grind down their nails naturally vs. dogs that spend the bulk of their time on grass or indoors.
Many people know that their dog’s nails are long, but are nervous to clip them at home.
Here are a few tips to help you conquer your fear of nail trimming:
- Set up a station with clippers, cotton balls and septic powder in an area with good lighting so you can see what you’re doing
- Use sharp, correct sized nail clippers. Some dogs have larger nails, so you want to make sure you have the correct size clippers for the job (ask your retailer or groomer to help you)
- Take note of the length of your dog’s quick so you don’t cut the part that contains blood vessel nerves. If your dog has dark-colored nails it can be harder to see the quick.
- Make sure your dog is in a comfortable position and relaxed
- Hold your dog’s paw in a firm grip but don’t squeeze
- Clip the nail before the quick at an angle – never clamp down on the entire nail. If the quick is really long, clip a little bit at a time, and then try to clip the nails again every 5 to 7 days to reduce the length of the quick.
- If you cause bleeding, don’t worry! You can stop the bleeding by applying flour or cornstarch or if you have Quick Stop (antiseptic powder), that is usually the best option.
- Give treats and love after the nail trimming.
If you’re still nervous about trimming your dog’s nails, set up an appointment with our groomer. We are always here to help!
Originally posted 4/13/2016. Updated 3/2/2020.