Trimming your dog’s nails

Nail trimming is an important part of your dog’s regular care and should be done every three to four weeks.  You can have your vet or groomer trim the nails or do it yourself.  Most vets or groomers will be happy to show you how it is done.  If you have a dog that puts up a major struggle or is a biter, you may want to leave it for the experts to do.  It is important to start your dog off with regular nail trims as a puppy, so that this behavior can be avoided.  Not cutting your dog’s nails can result in a few different consequences.  Your dog’s nails may grow too long and curl under, puncturing the paw pad, causing pain and infection.  It can also cause your dog to walk off kilter, causing joint pain and general discomfort.  If you can hear a click clack as your dog walks across the room, that is a sign that it is time for a nail trim.  You want to be sure not to cut the quick, a vein inside your dog’s nails, or the nails will bleed.  It is easy to see the quick on dog’s that have light colored nails. but in a dog with black nails, you cannot see it at all.  If you are unsure of where to begin on your dog’s nail trimming, be sure to ask a qualified expert to show you how it is done.  If you are still not comfortable trimming the nails yourself, then a regular trip to the vet or groomer is in order to keep your pet’s nails healthy.

Keep Your Dog’s Feet Healthy

When I first saw my older dog Suzie lose her footing on the hardwood floors and fall, it not only broke my heart, it also scared me. I knew I was going to have to make some changes around the house to both keep her safe and keep her interacting with the family. After taking a close look at Suzie I noticed that her nails were very long.

When Suzie was young and active she wore down her nails with everyday activity and nail trimming was a monthly chore. Now that she’s not as active I have to do it weekly. Because Suzie has always been a very high strung Border Collie (you might even call her a little unstable) I always muzzle her before I trim her nails. Suzie is one of those dogs that when you put a muzzle on her she just relaxes. She knows that she has to submit to whatever I’m going to do. I have also found that using a Dremel makes fast work of nail trimming.

Dr. Debra Primvic writes in her article How to Trim Your Dogs Nails with a Nail Grinder or Dremel Tool:

“Dog’s nails continue to grow and trimming them can be a challenge for some dog owners. This depends on the dog, his personality and the dog owner’s ability to trim the nails.”

While taking care of Suzie’s nails I also keep the hair that grows between the pads of her feet trimmed. This helps keep her footing more stable when walking on the hardwood floors in my house.

If you have an older dog and you see that they are frightened of walking or very cautious of walking on slick surfaces, take a look at their feet to see if their nails are too long or if they have long hair in between the pads of their feet.  Both of these can be easily maintained and will help keep your dog safe. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this maintenance on your own, just have your groomer do it. It is well worth the time and effort.

Have fun and be safe!