Let’s talk about nail care for a minute….

PAWidcure time!!

Long, unkempt nails not only look unattractive, but over time they can do serious damage to your dog (not to mention your floors). When nails are so long that they constantly touch the ground, they exert force back into the nail bed, creating pain for the dog (imagine wearing a too-tight shoe) and pressure on the toe joint. Long term, this can actually realign the joints of the foreleg and make the foot looked flattened and splayed.

Again, this isn’t just an aesthetic problem, it’s a functional one: Compromising your dog’s weight distribution and natural alignment can leave her more susceptible to injuries, and make walking and running difficult and painful. This is especially important in older dogs, whose posture can be dramatically improved by cutting back neglected nails.

In extreme cases, overgrown nails can curve and grow into the pad of the foot. But even if they are not that out of control, long nails can get torn or split, which is very painful and, depending on severity, may need to be treated by a veterinarian.

And in the end, unattended nails create a vicious cycle: Because the extra-long nails make any contact with his paws painful for the dog, he avoids having them touched, which leads to unpleasant nail-cutting sessions, which makes both human and dog avoid them, which leads to longer intervals between trims, which leads to more pain …

Here’s a step-by-step guide that can help you get started:

  • 1. Handle their paws often. Even when you’re not trimming their nails, touch your dog’s paws so they get used to it. Reward them with treats to form good associations with having their paws touched. The earlier in life you start to practice this, the more comfortable they’ll be.

  • 2. Always use a nail clipper designed for dogs. Human nail clippers don’t work well because dogs’ nails aren’t flat like ours. Scissors can also cause injuries. There are different designs pick what works best for you and your dog.

  • 3. Arrange yourself and your dog comfortably. Some dogs will sit right down in your lap for a nail trim, but you can also sit on the floor next to your pup during the procedure.

  • 4. Reassure your dog. Even if they don’t seem nervous, talking to them in a soft, calm voice will help make nail trimming more pleasant for both of you.

  • 5. Hold each paw as you work, and spread the toes. Be careful to stay away from the quick, which is easier to cut into than you think. The quick is the end of the toe’s blood vessel, so if you cut the quick, the toe will bleed.

  • 6. Trim dewclaws. If your dog has dewclaws, which are remnants of fifth toes, you’ll need to trim those too. Look for them high on the inside of each foot. Not all dogs have them; in many breeds, it is common for dewclaws to be removed shortly after birth. These can get torn easily in the field and are painful.

  • 7. Finish off with a reward. Give your dog their favorite treat and a lot of praise when you’re done, so they learn that nail trimming has its benefits. That way, they’ll be more apt to cooperate next time

Some dogs need a nail trim every month or so; others can go for several months without little or no trimming, usually because they do a lot of walking and running on hard surfaces.

Active dogs will wear down their nails on their own, but most dogs need regular nail trims. When nails grow too long, they can make it uncomfortable for the dog to walk and lead to painful, bloody snags and tears.

Without trimming, nails can quickly become ingrown or long enough to make walking uncomfortable. Long nails snag easily on carpet, upholstery, and even your clothes.

One of the main reasons dogs don’t get regular nail trims is because pet parents are afraid to do the job. They fear cutting into the “quick,” or nail bed. This sensitive, pink area at the base of each nail is full of nerves and blood vessels and will bleed profusely if cut.

But if you know how to go about it, you can care for your dog’s nails yourself.

How To Trim Your Dog’s Nails

If you hear your dog’s nails clicking against the hard floor or see them snagging the carpet, then it’s definitely time for a trim.