Grooming is an important part of any dog’s life. This includes even short haired dogs because all dogs need regular nail trims. It’s not just important to keep your dog looking good, but nail growth and trimming actually plays a very vital role in the wellness of your dog. We're discussing the why, when and how of maintaining your dog's nails.
Why Are Nail Trims Important?
What is so important about nail trims? It’s just to avoid that annoying clicking sound, right? While yes, that is a plus to nail trims, overgrown nails can seriously harm your dog’s joints, feet and paw pads.
As you can see in the graphic below, when the nail is touching the ground, the foot does not lay correctly and the constant pressure puts train on the foot and leg structures. If this happens over a long period of time, especially in young and still developing dogs, the foot splays out and the dog loses traction and can injure tendons. Another risk if the nail growing all the way around the paw and cutting into the dog’s pads, making it incredibly painful to walk.
When Should I Trim My Dog's Nails?
So how often should you trim your dog’s nails? There’s no definitive answer for this as it can vary with your dog’s activity level, breed and surfaces walked on regularly. Most professionals suggest weekly or biweekly, but some dogs are fine going the 4-6 weeks between grooms.
For dogs that have long quicks, you should trim or grind the nails more often.The more often you trim, the more the quick will recede, allowing you to trim your dog’s nails shorter and shorter over time. The goal is to prevent the nails from touching the ground when walking.
How Do I Trim My Dog's Nails?
To trim your dog’s nails, a pair of sharp scissors-type nail cutters or a grinder is recommended. Each nail has soft, pink tissue in the center called the quick. The quick supplies blood to the nail and will bleed if cut into. To avoid this, cut small pieces of the nail off at a time at a 45-degree angle (with the slant of the nail growth). When you start to see a white “bullseye” in the middle of the nail. White and clear nails are much easier than black nails.
Other Things To Note
You should always trim your dog’s nails at their pace. Start as a puppy, as it is easy to acclimate them to the trimming process. As they get older, it can be more difficult to acclimate them and your dog may put up quite a struggle as it is a very unnatural feelings for them.
If you are having a hard time trimming your dog’s nails, consult with an experienced groomer or vet to help you. Some dogs can be reconditioned to allow nail trims, but some may need sedation or a professional to trim their nails every time. But that’s okay! You can use their grooming appointments as an excuse to show off your favorite fashionable pet carrier (or two! 😉)