You hear them clanging around as your dog walks on your hardwood floors and you feel how surprisingly sharp they are whenever your pet wants your attention. What are we referring to here? Of course, we are referring to none other than your dog’s nails.
Dog nails don’t garner as much attention as cat nails, but they remain important to keep in mind all the same. To be more specific, you have to be mindful of the maintenance requirements for dog nails.
In this article, we’ll discuss why keeping your pet’s nails neatly trimmed is absolutely essential. We’ve also included some handy nail trimming tips so stay tuned if you want to learn how to groom your dog better!
Why Trimming Your Dog’s Nails Is Important
To get this article started, we want to highlight the reasons why trimming your dog’s nails regularly is so important. Nail trimming should not be an optional part of your dog’s grooming routine. You should view it as something as important as baths and brushing.
As you’ll soon learn, neglecting your dog’s nails can have a significant impact on their quality of life.
First off, your pet developing ingrown nails is a possibility if you neglect trimming them. Nails that are left to grow continuously may start to curl back into the paw. That can be a real issue for your dog.
Ingrown nails that dig into the paw can cause significant discomfort. They could even break the skin on your dog’s paw pad and cause even greater issues.
You should never let your dog’s nails grow to the point where they are starting to curl back. Those ingrown nails can cause plenty of trouble so get rid of them as quickly as possible.
Overly long nails are more susceptible to breaking. Your dog’s nails may catch on to a rug or carpet covering the floor. If that happens, the nail may snap.
Broken nails are incredibly painful. Your pet may start limping around in pain because their broken nail hurts so much.
Furthermore, broken nails are also problematic because the pain they cause does not go away immediately. The broken nail will continue to hurt your dog whenever it makes any contact with any surface.
You may need to take your dog to the veterinarian to address their broken nail.
One of the more troubling side effects of letting your dog’s nails grow out of control is the possibility of an infection developing.
Ingrown nails may start to curl back into the paw pad if they are left unchecked. If they break the skin, they can open up a wound.
The wound that opens up after a nail breaks is also highly susceptible to infection. In that case, the infection can even work its way further up your dog’s paw.
You can tell that your dog is dealing with an infection if their nail appears discolored. A claw that feels softer than normal is also a troubling sign in that regard. Additional symptoms to watch out for include the appearance of pus and swelling of the pad.
Any infection that affects your dog’s paws must be treated immediately. Infections can cause serious complications and they could put your pet’s life in danger.
Go to the veterinarian right away if you suspect that your dog’s paw has been infected. Do not delay care because the infection could do more damage if you decide to wait.
Poorly maintained dog nails are problematic not just because they can cause pain. You should also prevent the emergence of overgrown nails because they can make moving around way harder for your pet.
Long nails make it harder for your dog to get good footing. If you have newly polished hardwood floors or tiles, your dog may struggle to move around because their nails are constantly getting in the way. Even standing in one spot can be a bit tricky because their paws are slipping out from under them.
Unless you want to see your dog struggling to walk around your home, you should make it a point to keep their nails neatly trimmed at all times.
Long-Term Health Issues
We’ve already mentioned that overgrown dog nails can cause excruciating pain. We also noted that dog nails can cause infections if they are left untrimmed.
Those health issues that stem from the presence of long nails clearly illustrate the immediate threat they pose. What many pet owners may not understand is that long dog nails can also have adverse effects that last for a long time.
Your pet has a distinctive way of walking. After their nails grow past a certain point, your pet may no longer be able to walk like they normally do. That may not sound like much of an issue, but it can be problematic if it persists.
Walking differently can change the way that pressure is distributed throughout your dog’s paws. Some parts of the paw may have to carry more weight because of the new way that your dog is walking. Those parts of your dog’s paws may experience more strain and they also become more susceptible to injuries.
The issue will also not stay isolated to your dog’s paws.
Slowly but surely, other parts of your pet’s body will be affected by the additional strain. Their joints will likely have to bear a greater burden. Soon enough, your dog may start to experience chronic joint pain.
Arthritis is another condition that could develop as a result of your dog changing their gait. According to the ASPCA, symptoms of arthritis in dogs include increased body stiffness, difficulty jumping and navigating stairs, and a reluctance to go on walks.
Managing canine arthritis is a life-long endeavor. You want to protect your pet from that for as long as possible.
Overgrown nails can cause serious long-term complications. Save your pet from those problems by keeping their nails trimmed at all times.
Long Dog Nails Can Harm Pet Owners
Dogs are not the only ones who will suffer because they have long nails. Pet owners will also be affected by them.
If your dog likes to jump onto you whenever you return home, you may feel their sharp nails dig into your skin as you catch them. They may also scratch your skin whenever they paw at you.
Don’t underestimate those dog nails because they can be surprisingly sharp. Kids, in particular, could sustain scratches from long dog nails.
Trimming your dog’s nails is important for them and for you. Keep up with that part of your dog’s grooming routine so you can minimize that problem.
Choosing the Ideal Tool for Trimming Your Dog’s Nails
Now that we’ve established the importance of trimming dog nails regularly, we can turn our attention to a different but relevant topic. More specifically, we can focus on selecting the right tool for your trimming your dog’s nails.
Selecting the right tool is critical because your dog may not be comfortable with all types of nail-cutting implements. You may have a hard time getting them to sit still during the trimming process.
Evaluating your available options is also important because you need to find something you can use properly. Nail trimmers vary in terms of how user-friendly they are. You have to be certain that the tool you’re wielding is one you can use properly.
There are three general types of nail trimmers that pet owners can use on dogs. Let’s examine them along with their pros and cons in the section below.
Guillotine-Style Nail Clippers
Let’s start by talking about the guillotine-style nail clippers.
A pair of guillotine-style nail clippers comes with a ring that is supposed to house the dog’s nail. Once the nail is inside the ring, you can press the handles of the clippers together to cut it.
Guillotine-style clippers should be used slowly. Otherwise, users are more likely to remove too much of the nail.
- Suitable for Pet Owners with Hand Problems – Pet owners who have hand injuries should look to use guillotine-style clippers on their dogs. These nail trimmers don’t require pet owners to exert plenty of force. They will still execute a clean cut even if you cannot apply too much pressure on the handles.
- Very Affordable – You should also consider getting guillotine-style nail clippers because of how affordable they are. Many of the guillotine-style clippers available today are priced below $10. Getting a hold of some guillotine-style clippers will be easy.
- Not Suitable for Beginners – Avoid guillotine-style nail clippers if you’ve never trimmed your dog’s nails before. They don’t offer much in the way of guidance so it’s easy to make a mistake while using them. You could easily injure your dog if you use guillotine-style nail clippers improperly.
- Working Slowly Is Necessary – You cannot work too quickly if you are using guillotine-style nail clippers because it’s too easy to make a mistake and trim too much. Work slowly so you can avoid injuring your dog.
- Should Not Be Used on Thick Nails – Do not use guillotine-style nail clippers if you have a large dog. The blades will struggle to cut their thick nails cleanly. Consider using a different tool for that job.
Scissor-Style Nail Clippers
The scissor-style nail clippers are aptly named because they look and function just like a regular pair of scissors. Of course, you’ll be using them to cut your dog’s nails instead of paper.
Scissor-style nail clippers are fairly simple tools. You should be able to use them without any issues even if you don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to trimming dog nails.
- Usable on Dogs of All Sizes – Scissor-style dog nail clippers are quite versatile. They will work on your pet’s nails regardless of how thick they are. You should be able to get plenty of uses out of them thanks to that.
- User-Friendly – If you’ve ever used scissors before, then you should quickly understand how these clippers are supposed to work. They also feel more natural to use compared to the other options.
- Full View of the Nails – Unlike guillotine-style clippers, you can get a full view of your dog’s nails while using scissor-style clippers. That should make it easier for you to cut your pet’s nails cleanly.
- Guard Included – A standard pair of scissor-style clippers comes with a guard that keeps your pet’s nails safe while you are trimming. New pet owners will benefit greatly from the inclusion of that feature.
- Inexpensive Clippers – Scissor-style nail clippers are budget-friendly pet grooming tools. They are in the same price range as the guillotine-style clippers we discussed earlier.
- Jagged Nail Edges – Dog nails trimmed using scissor-style clippers tend to end up jagged. You have to work carefully to prevent that from happening.
- Frequent Maintenance Is Necessary – You have to sharpen the blades of your scissor-style clippers consistently. They tend to dull quickly so make a habit of sharpening them.
- Requires a Good Amount of Force – Scissors-style nail clippers are not for everyone simply because they require more power to use. You must be able to squeeze the blades together forcefully to get the cuts you need.
Last up, pet owners can also trim their dog’s claws using a nail grinder.
At first, you may be intimidated by the prospect of using a nail grinder on your dog. That’s understandable since it looks more like a power tool instead of something that can neatly trim a dog’s nails.
Rest assured that nail grinders can work just fine on your pet’s long claws. Some would even argue that they are the best tools for that particular job.
- Can Be Used on All Types of Dog Nails – Nail thickness does not matter if you are using a nail grinder. The size of the nail does not impact the grinder’s performance because no actual cutting takes place. You will be better served to get a nail grinder if you have dogs of different breeds at home.
- A Nail Trimmer for Everyone – Nail grinders are easy to use for everyone. You don’t need plenty of experience or hand strength to use this type of trimmer properly.
- Rounded Nails – You won’t have to worry about jagged edges if you’re using a grinder to work on your dog’s nails. This tool allows you to easily smooth down the edges of your dog’s nails so they won’t hurt anyone.
- Avoid Accidents Completely – It’s easier to avoid a potential nail-trimming accident if you’re using a grinder. You can see exactly how much you are grinding the nail at all times so you should be able to stop before going too deep. Even if you go a bit too far, you can still stop grinding your dog’s nails immediately.
- Expensive Nail Trimmers – Nail grinders are significantly more expensive than the nail clippers we’ve already discussed. Most nail grinders are available for around $20 to $30. You’ll have to make a more substantial investment if you want to use a nail grinder on your pet.
- Nail Grinding Sessions Take Time – Working slowly is a requirement if you want to use a grinder to trim your dog’s nails. Expect to work around 30 to 40 minutes if you’re grinding down thin claws. You may have to put in an hour of work if your dog’s nails are on the thicker side.
- Grinders May Scare Dogs – Grinders are noisy while in use and your dog may not be fond of that. They may even be scared of the machine producing that loud noise. You’ll have to get your dog used to the grinder before you can use it properly.
How to Trim a Dog’s Nails Safely
Trimming your dog’s nails is a task you must complete on a regular basis. So, how should you approach that important task?
Detailed below are some of the tips that will help you trim your pet’s nails safely. Try them out and see how well they work for you and your dog.
Figure Out What Type of Nail Trimmers Your Dog Is Comfortable With
Dogs have different preferences when it comes to nail trimmers. Some are okay with all types of nail trimmers while others are more selective. It’s your job to figure out which one your dog likes.
To figure out what your pet likes, you can take them to a professional groomer for their first trimming session. Ask the groomer to try out different tools to see how your pet reacts to all of them. Gauge your pet’s reaction so you will know which tool to use when it’s your turn to handle the nail trimming.
Test the Trimmers before Using Them
Before trimming your dog’s nails, you should first check if the tool you’re planning to use is in good condition. Grinders should be fine as long as they’re moving properly.
The blades of the nail clippers may require more testing. Test them on paper to see if they’re cutting properly.
Go ahead and sharpen the blades if they appear even slightly dull to you. They must be as sharp as possible so they can cut through your dog’s nails with ease.
Look for a Suitable Grooming Spot inside Your Home
Dogs that aren’t used to nail trimming just yet may get spooked during the process. They also won’t sit still if the room you’re in is full of distractions.
Look for a room inside your home that is free from distractions so you can work on your dog’s nails without worrying about them moving unexpectedly. Make sure the room is nice and quiet so your dog can relax while you trim their nails.
Hold Your Pet’s Paw Carefully
You need to ease your pet into the trimming process before you actually start it. To do that, grab one of their paws gently and rest it on your lap. After that, you want to push down on one of their paw pads gently to reveal the nail.
Being gentle while you’re going through those steps is crucial. If you are too forceful, you might scare your dog. They may pull back their paw and bark at you because they feel unsafe.
Offer them reassurance that they will be safe during the trimming process so they will cooperate with you.
Use Treats to Calm Down Your Pet
Is your pet getting restless ahead of nail trimming? If so, you need to work on calming them down first.
Give them some treats and some pets so they can feel more at ease. Continue being gentle with them until such time that they are unbothered by you grabbing their paw. They should allow you to cut their nails without issue at that point.
Soften Your Dog’s Nails before Trimming
Trimming your dog’s nails will take a long time if they are completely stiff. You can speed up the process by softening your pet’s nails before trimming them.
Softening your dog’s nails is easy enough. They should already be quite soft right after a bath so that would be an ideal time to trim your dog’s nails. You can also keep your dog’s paws submerged in some water for a few minutes to soften them up adequately.
Trim Your Dog’s Nails Regularly
How often do you need to trim your dog’s nails? The answer to that question will vary based on a dog’s breed and habits. Even so, PetMD notes that trimming every three or four weeks should suffice for most dogs.
Notably, you shouldn’t shy away from trimming more often if that proves necessary. If your dog’s nails already look pretty long, go ahead and trim them even if you haven’t hit the three-week mark yet. Trimming once a week may even be necessary for some dogs.
Still not feeling comfortable with trimming your dog’s nails? No problem! Tailored Pet Services offers nail trimming and buffing services in the convenience of your own home. Simply call 425-923-7791 or contact us through our website to schedule an appointment today.