We clip a lot of dog nails at Schuylkill Veterinary Hospital. It’s an important part of a dog’s health care. Really. It’s also a part of the dog’s health care that many owners neglect, thinking it is not a big deal. Will it kill a dog if you do not provide regular nail care? No, but, the quality of the dog’s life is greatly affected.
When nails are allowed to grow long, or, in reality, when nails are not kept short, stress from improper foot placement is generated that travels up the dog’s leg right up into the shoulder and neck. I have always been a proponent of good nail care ( for dogs, not so much for me :)). Dr Jones, our chiropractor at the hospital, also believes it makes a major difference in joint health.
The best way to ensure good nail care is to clip the nails regularly. Dogs need nail trims at LEAST once a month. Infrequent trims are the primary reason nails get too long. The quick grows out and then owners are afraid to cut the nails back where they should be.
If your dog’s nails are too long, start by taking the tips off weekly. Just the tips; gradually, the quick will shrink back and the nail will be a correct length. If your dog hates nail clips, as many do, you can plan to clip only one nail a day and work your way around the paws. Be sure to give your dog his favorite treat at this time. A little peanut butter goes a long way to decrease anxiety over nail clips.
Afraid or unable to clip your dog’s nails? The team at Schuylkill Veterinary Hospital can help. Many clients schedule regular nail clips for their pets with a technician. If your dog is very worried, we will be happy to pre- medicate to make the event less stressful. Area groomers also clip nails. Most groomers, however, do not seem to get the nail short enough in my opinion. If your dog is groomed regularly , check his nails as many times they are still too long.
Some people find using a dremmel on canine nails easier. I think this can be very helpful depending on the dog. Whatever way you choose, frequency is still the most important factor.
Photo at top courtesy of Bailey (& Muppet) via Flickr
Photo at bottom courtesy of cinnamonsnow via Flickr