Many dog owners don't realise the importance of clipping your dog's nails, this can either seem like a pretty basic or impossible task to some people depending on their dog's personality and reaction to their paws being touched. Read on for reasons why it is important and ways to help you do it.
Why do they need cutting?
Most dogs need their nails trimming every 1-2 months or if they are clipping the floor.
They clip because when they are so long, they touch the ground which puts pressure back into the nail, creating pain. If this is left too long it can cause the joints to realign making the dog more likely to get injured, making walking and running almost impossible because of pain.
Other problems could be the nail tearing or splitting causing irritation and may need to be looked at by a veterinarian. The long nails if not split, can curve into the pad.
The quick can grow further down the nail, if you leave the nails to grow for too long meaning it is a trip to the vets
Some dogs may not need their nails trimming as often as most dogs if they spend a lot of time on hard surfaces such as concrete, this will wear their nails down itself and will need less nail grooming sessions.
Preparing ( Check List )
- Make sure the dog is relaxed before attempting this activity
- Nail clippers
- Have towel/tissue close by (in case you catch the quick*)
- Styptic powder or pencil is a recommended option to stop the bleeding
* the quick is the blood supply in the nail and cutting this can cause a lot of painful bleeding. It is easier to see in white claws.
This isn't a fun experience for you or your dog, therefore, reassuring them confidently can help ease their nerves as they trust you. If you are nervous this can make them worse.
- Hold the paw firmly but gently, push on the pad so the nails tick out
- Cut small amounts off the nail by putting the nail in between the nail clippers
If the nail feels squishy, this is the quick and you should move down the nail as you should not cut that high up
Don't forget the dew claw, which is further up the paw!
Dogs can react differently to this experience than others. Some dogs it may be possible to muzzle and restrain if they won't let you at their claws, and some will sit nicely for you.
However, if you physically cannot safely cut their nails, taking them to the vet for them to do is the best option.
The process is the same for other animals, including small such as rabbits! Make sure you are constantly reassuring them throughout the session, give them breaks if you feel necessary and give them something to reward them after so they see it as a good thing!
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Enjoy this? Why not read the benefits of owning a dog!