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Why your dogs nails need to be clipped and how to do it.

Nail clipping is an essential part of maintaining your dogs health and well being, but it is a task that is often dreaded but many pet parents (and even some professionals).

Why do we need to cut dogs nails?

  • One reason is evolution. Previously, dogs were bred for a purpose- to herd, hunt, chase, retrieve or guard and were very active. Dogs nowadays are generally less active and spend less time on their toes. 
  •  The lack of friction. The modern dog now walks on softer surfaces such as grass, flat floors or carpets and don't have to grip uneven terrains. The surfaces they walk on are not abrasive enough to create that friction that helps wear the nails down, or they are not active long enough. 

What happens if we let the nails grow long?

  • Long nails are prone to injury. There is a higher chance that they will split or break. They are more likely to get caught on things and torn off (ouch). Not to mention that they can cause injury to people by scratching the skin and damage floors, carpet and furniture.
  • Long nails can actually change the way the dog carries its body weight, which can cause damage to the skeletal system. E.g. it can cause the bones in the feet to flatten and alter the joints in the foreleg. Think of constantly wearing high heel shoes.
  • Long nails are painful for dogs. Each time the nail touches the ground it exerts pressure back onto the nail bed causing pain. Think of your toes stuck in a too tight shoe.
  • Long nails are unattractive.

" Senior dogs are more prone to growing long, brittle nails, which makes it hard for them to grip slick floors. It compromises their weight distribution and can leave them open to injuries and arthritis."

How to cut your dogs nails

How often do my dogs nails need to be cut?

There is no correct answer for this question as factors such as how active your dog is and the surfaces they run/walk on will effect how often they need to be cut. A good rule of thumb is if you can hear your dogs nails tapping on the ground when they walk then they are too long and should be trimmed.

How short should I keep them?

They should not touch the ground when they are standing still on a level surface. They should be cut as close to the quick as possible without touching it.

Check out our how to cut your dogs nails video

  • Use good quality clippers.
  • Use small sized clippers as they give you more control. Only use large clippers on giant breeds.
  • Hold the paw firmly but don't squeeze it.
  • Cut at a 45% angle.
  • Don't panic if you cut the quick and it bleeds, otherwise the dog will panic too. You can put a bit of cornstarch on the end of the nail to stop the bleeding.
  • Use lots of verbal praise and treats.
  • Get someone to hold the dog if they don't stand still.
  • Get a professional (us) to cut them for you.

Try and keep an upbeat, positive attitude about cutting your dogs nails. Dogs are incredibly in tune with our emotions so if you dread cutting their nails then they will too.