Dog parents have a fear of cutting their dogs nails.  Majority of dogs don’t like it either.  So dog parents don’t like doing it, dogs don’t like it = dogs nails don’t get cut!

Dogs are generally quite sensitive about their feet.  Ideally, we would’ve de-sensitised them to this when they were a pup but if that is not the case, you may find that the dog will battle you when you go near their feet.  We can counter condition this though  – that’s another blog!

Long nails on a dog can be a health concern.  It can cause problems walking as they won’t able to place their paw naturally on the floor, which could lead to other concerns in bones and muscles.  Think about if you have a sore foot, you naturally start walking differently to accommodate the pain and before you know it, you are walking in a different manner, putting other muscles under strain.  This can lead your dog to have long term health disorders – ligament and muscle issues, back and leg problems, deformed bones.  This could lead to long term medication or treatments.

You may find your dogs starts to bite their own nails which can lead to infection or swollen, sore pads. Worst case scenario, you have to stop walking your dog cause it becomes too painful.

So we get nervous cutting claws because of the quick.  That is the nerve ending that is in all their nails, including the dew claw.  Generally, it is 2mm from the tip of the nail but not always the case.  It depends on the length of the nail and regular maintenance.  If your dogs nails are black, it is harder to see the quick so you need to be even more considerate when cutting nails.

You also can’t cut a longer nail to a short nail in one go.  The quick is 2mm from the tip, you can’t just chop off a large chunk of the nail or that’s going to hurt as you will more than likely go right through the quick.  So, for extra long nails, only a little can be taken off any one time.  The quick will shrivel back within approx 10 days and then you can take another 2mm off.  It does take time if then nails are overgrown to get them short.

Your groomer should cut their nails at each groom.  So it may not look like they haven’t but remember they have been considerate around the quick.  If the quick is accidentally cut, it will bleed. It will look much worse than it is – remember it is a vein.There are a number of treatments available to stop the bleeding – Quick Stop, Trimmex or even corn flour!    It will nip a bit but shouldn’t cause any long term effects.  By the time you collect your dog, you may not even be aware that the quick has been cut but it is good practise for your groomer to tell you.

If you want to start de-sensitising your dog to clipping nails, there are a number of ways to do this.  Please get in touch for more information on this.

The easier, quickest way to keep your dogs nails short and manageable, is to walk them on concrete.  You will notice a difference very quickly.  Due to how they walk, they will naturally shorten their nails to the perfect length for them.  You can also train your dog with a scratch mat!  There are grinders available.  The better ones on the market that actually make a difference, are noisy so you may find that your dog can’t tolerate the noise or the sensation.  You can still grind the quick though so again, caution needs to be taken.

So yes, nail clipping is essential for your dog.  If you are not comfortable doing it, please ask me to help you.

I have an idea – if I were to have a few hours every month to put aside to have a “nail clinic”, where you can bring your dog along for nail clipping only – I can teach you or you can wait til I have done it, would you be interested?  Please let me know.

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Susan