Home Dog Care Nail Neglect: Importance of Dog Nail Trimming

Nail Neglect: Importance of Dog Nail Trimming

Importance of Trimming Dog Nails

Today, let's tackle the importance of dog nail trimming.

We all know that trimming or grooming, in general, is not a fun experience for our dogs. But is getting their nails trimmed that important?

Pet grooming is not just about haircuts and bath time. It's also about dog nail care. Clipping their nails will not only protect you from playful scratches but can also prevent them from harming your dogs.

Dog nail trimming is one of the basics of dog care. You as the dog owner must know how to clip their nails or if you're too nervous to do it, schedule an appointment with a groomer.

So how long should dog nails be? A general guideline is that when a dog is standing, the nails should not make contact or touch the ground.

You'll be able to hear this when your dog is walking or running.

The importance of trimming dog nails is for their safety and health. What kind of a dog owner wants their dog to walk around with pain in their cute little paws?

Let's begin to discuss why do dog nails need to be trimmed?

how to trim dog nails

What is the Importance of Dog Nail Trimming?

So do we need to trim our dog's nails? The quick answer is, OF COURSE YES. Not only because it is an aesthetic problem, but if you neglect dog nail trimming, there can be consequences.

Long Nails Are Painful for Dogs

The first thing that comes to my mind when they ask me the importance of dog nail trimming is that it is mostly about their safety.

Failing to trim your pet's nails can cause pain and can even trigger irreversible injury to them.

A few harmful side effects of not trimming their nails are a splayed foot, reduced traction, deforming feet, and even injuring their tendons.

The growth pattern of a dog's nail is not the same as humans. Dog's nails form a curved shape that will eventually bend under the dog's paw.

In the long term, if your dog's nails are touching the ground, it can realign the foreleg joints and make the foot look flattened.

Nail-Clipping Will be Harder Next Time

Keep in mind that when you start to hear the clicking sound across the floor, you know it's time to get those clippers or take them to the groomer.

In short, when the dog's nails are extra long, it makes contact with their paws. And this is not a pleasant feeling for them. This is rather painful, and not only that, they'll be more protective with their nails.

Now it'll be more challenging for you or the groomer to clip them as they will avoid having them touched.

Furniture Claw Marks

Most inexperienced dog owners think about scratches on hardwood floors or claw marks on their furniture. However, this is not the case.

Longer nails can get caught on the fabrics of carpets, which can lead to the quick exposure (the pink tissue in the center).

How Often Will I Have to Trim My Dog's Nails?

A good rule of thumb is to clip your dog's nails every three to four weeks. But it all depends on the situation.

You'll need to trim nails more often on inactive dogs that their feet rarely touch the ground unlike dogs that constantly run on pavements or a rough surface like asphalt.

A good thing to remember is that you must prevent their nails from touching the ground when they're standing.

How To Trim Dog's Nails without Clipping the Quick

Now that we've tackled the importance of dog nail trimming let's discuss how to cut dog nails properly and what even is the “quick”?

Why is it essential to not cut the quick you ask? Quick contains blood vessels and nerves that's why it will be very painful for your dog and will bleed for a bit if you clip it by accident.

Clipping your dog's nails requires skill, focus, and patience. You'll need to cut it slowly as it can cause pain to our dogs.

Firstly, gather all the tools that you need. Get your clipper or nail grinder, styptic powder for possible bleeding, and dog treats as a reward for being a good boy.

Also, remember that you have to be relaxed. Don't be nervous. Your dog can tell if you're worried, which will also make them uncomfortable.

Step #1

Begin by touching their paws, letting them get used to this sensation and make them feel comfortable. Let your dog see and smell the nail clippers until they're not interested in them anymore.

Step #2

If your dog is comfortable, pick up its paw firmly. Gently place your thumb on the pad of a toe and your index finger on top of the toe above the nail. Make sure to get your dog's fur out of the way.

Step #3

Push your thumb a little bit upward and backward on the pad while pushing your index finger forward to extend the nails.

Step #4

Clip only the tip of the nail until you can see the beginning of a nail-colored circle appearing on the trimmed surface. This circle indicates that you're nearing the quick.

Keep in mind the circle in dogs that have black nails are harder to spot.

3 Types of Dog Nail Clippers

If you're a dog owner that wants to take care of your dog's nails all on your own, know that there are different kinds of nail clippers for dogs.

Scissor Clippers

Well, to make it easier for you to understand, these kinds of clippers are used as a scissor! Who would've thought of that!

This type of nail clippers is recommended for large-sized dogs with thicker claws. With the proper force, you'll be able to quickly get rid of excess nails that can make them uncomfortable.

Remember that some dogs wiggle around a lot when they're nervous. Making this task harder. You'll have to be more precise to avoid harming your dog.

Scissor clippers are recommended for more extensive and calmer dogs. But if you have a small dog, do not worry. There are now scissor cutters for them and an example of this is the Safari Professional Dog Nail Clippers.

Guillotine Clippers

With guillotine clippers, as the name suggests, you're going to place your pet's nail inside the hole, and you will press down a blade to clip off the end of the claw.

Just like any other clippers, you'll have to be precise in placing the nails only on the needed part. If you've extended the nail too far inside the hole, it can cause some injury.

This type of clippers is recommended for small to medium-sized dogs. Pet owners worldwide find this option to be easier than the scissor clippers.

On the other hand, the downside of these clippers is that it's not always smooth at cutting. This can cause a blunt edge on the nails, which can be a problem.

Nail Grinder

Out of all kinds of clippers, this is the newest, or should I use the most modern. These trimmers are probably the safest route as there are no blades necessary.

Dog nail grinders are battery or electricity-powered trimmers that have a small cylinder covered in sandpaper utilizes friction to wear down your dog's nails.

One downside is that dog nail grinders tend to take longer than the other two clippers. You will have to hold your dog's paw while the grinders work their way down their nails.

But on the other hand, it is less likely to harm your dogs with this kind of trimmer. A great example of this is the Petural Dog Nail Grinder.

how to sharpen dog nail clippers

What To Do If You Cut the Quick

Suppose you've accidentally cut your dog's quick. Best not to panic. The quick is easier to find in dogs with white nails rather than black or brown nails.

As dog owners, we must be prepared in any situation. We recommend that every pet owner have a styptic powder or styptic gel. This will help the blood vessels to stop bleeding quickly.

A great natural alternative is corn starch, baking soda, flour, or scent-free soap if you don't have that.

Apply light pressure with a clean cloth or paper towel for at least 2 minutes. After that, dab styptic powder or any alternatives above on the end of the nail.

It is also essential to keep your dog from walking or running around as it will cause the nail to bleed again.

My Dog Doesn't Like Nail Cutting No Matter What I Do

Some adult dogs are fearful of the sound of nail clippers. Maybe they had a horrible experience in the past where you or a groomer have accidentally trimmed their quick.

If you're having a hard time cutting your dog's nails and you've done everything you can do. Don't just let them be. It's time for you to seek professional help.

Please consult with your vet or a professional dog groomer as they'll know what to do or can have more success on clipping their nails.

Safety Tips for Cutting Dog's Nails at Home

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sedate my dog to cut his nails at home?

In some cases, if nothing seems to help calm your dogs when it comes to nail clipping or grooming, some dog owners tend to use sedation.

Medication for anxiety that can mildly sedate your dogs can be beneficial in these times. Some of the most popular drugs used are trazodone, Benadryl, and gabapentin.

It is best to consult with your vet first because some sedation can interfere with other possible health problems. They will also know the correct dosage to give for sedation.

Do vets sedate dogs to cut nails?

Yes, vets can sedate your dogs to groom or cut your dog's nails. But this will all depend on the situation. Some dogs are calmer in this environment, and some are not. Vets are most likely to use sedation when a dog is aggressive.

On the other hand, this will cost more. You'll have to pay for the exam fee, sedation, and then the trimming or grooming services.

Is it better to cut or grind dog nails?

To determine which is the better method is all up to your pup. It's all about their preference and where they'll be able to feel safer and less stressed. Many dog owners want the traditional way, but a growing population of pet owners says grinding tools are smoother and safer than the classic ones.

Grinders will cost more for sure, but if that's where your dog feels comfortable, it is worth the investment.

How To Cut Dog's Nails

The Importance of Dog Nail Trimming Final Thoughts

You should know that dog nail care is one of the most important things as a pet owner and one of the most crucial parts of the pet grooming process.

But first, how long should a dog's nails be? A good rule of thumb is that when you see or hear their nails constantly touching the floor, this is the right time to get their nails clipped.

Long nails are not just bad aesthetically but can also harm your dogs. If the nail is too long that it constantly touches the ground, they exert force back into the nail bed, which can cause pain for your pups and pressure to their toe joint.

In the long run, it can also realign the foreleg joints, making their foot look flattened and spread apart. The importance of dog nail trimming is that no harm will come to our dogs.

If you're a newbie in dog nail trimming, knowing the tools needed for this process is essential. These tools are, of course, the clippers that you're going to use.

But there are different kinds of clippers. We have the scissor, guillotine, and the newest one, the nail grinder.

There's no telling which is the best out of these three. It is more of the preference of your dogs. Where they will be most comfortable with is the most crucial part.

If you're too nervous about these tasks, luckily for you, you can quickly go to the vet or a professional groomer for this. But of course, it will be more costly rather than buying said clippers yourself.

But the safety and health of the dog are what's most important here.

Toby loves spending time with his dog and two cats. They are the best stress reliever and affectionate pets, especially his Belgian Malinois, Shawie. Shawie's favorite activity is running or jogging. But their go-to spot is to chill and swim around a nearby river.