5-6 minute read
First of all, why is it important to trim my dog nails?
When a dog's nails get too long, it can cause pain and other serious health issues. In general, nails that are too long can limit your dog’s movements. Over time, your dog can develop spine and posture problems including sitting or standing weirdly due to them frequently shifting weight because of their overgrown nails.
Nails that are too long can lead to difficulty walking, lameness or serious injury. This is especially true if the nails are so long that they touch the ground. As soon as your dog’s nails touch the ground and grow past the pad of the paw, it’s time cut them immediately!
How do I know when are my dog’s nails too long?
With your dog standing in front of you with their front legs under their shoulders, look at their nails.
- Are they touching the ground? If so, then they’re too long.
- Do you hear your dog’s nails clicking or see them turn sideways? If so, then they’re too long.
A good rule of measure is you should be able to slip a piece of paper between your dog’s nails and the floor.
Dog nail trimming: step-by-step instructions
Step 1: Prepare the equipment
- Dog nail clippers/scissors/grinder
- Flashlight (for dark nails)
- Optional: Paw balsam
When everything is ready. If your dog is nervous, calm them with treats, extra cuddles, and calming words - whatever works for your dog! This will give them a sense of security while you begin the nail trimming.
Step 2: Define the cutting range
Be extra careful when deciding where to cut, as dog nails are supplied with blood. An accidental clip in the wrong spot could lead to a lot of pain. It’s easier to find the right range for dogs with clear or light coloured nails, while it can be a harder with dark coloured nails. A torch can help you better see the blood supply area easier.
- The perfect cutting range ends right before the blood supply - see image above
- Front paws are more likely to get overgrown nails.
- You should always cut parallel to the bottom - see image above
Step 3: Get trimming
Have you defined the cutting range? Good! Hopefully your dog is in a relaxed position, and you have your equipment ready.
Trim by taking small steps at a time, and use rewards such as the treats and soothing words to keep your dog comfortable if needed. If there’s no blood at the end of the whole process and your dog behaves like nothing has happened, you’ve done everything perfectly.
Once you’re finished cutting, you can soften the skin around the nails with some paw balsam. It’s optional, but can be comforting for your pup. You can trim the hair between the paws for perfect results.
Step 4: Reward your good girl/boy
Don’t forget to reward your dog afterward. This way, your dog will associate the unpleasant experience of nail trimming with a positive reward, and this can reduce their fear for next time.
What if there’s bleeding after dog nail trimming?
Even if you’re very cautious, it’s possible that something goes wrong. Remember: do not panic if you see a little bit of blood on your dog’s nail. Instead, try to stop the blood flow and prevent any dirt from getting in contact with the wound. This will help avoid it from getting infected.
We recommend if the blood flow doesn’t stop after 30 minutes, contact your vet.
If you can’t contact your vet and need to act fast, use styptic powder or pencil, which you can purchase from most pharmacies, on the wound. If you don’t have any styptic powder or pencil, and you can’t go to the pharmacy, try applying some ice cubes as this can slow the blood flow.
How often do I need to trim my dog’s nails?
Dogs who are used to walking on soft ground like grass, parks, and forest, can have a harder time controlling the length of their nails, compared to dogs who walk on hard ground like concrete or asphalt.
However, dog nail trimming requirements are also affected by:
- Genetic factors
- Dog breed
- Feeding habits
- How active your dog is
- Age of your dog
However, we recommend looking at and trimming your dog’s nails every 2-3 weeks to maintain healthy nail length. Furthermore, the more you trim their overgrown nails, the more the blood vessel will retreat back into the claw. Therefore, frequent dog nail trimming is highly essential.
We only stock nail grinders due to ease of use and less chance of trimming too low. Plus dogs don't hate them!