Trimming your dog’s nails may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s actually essential to your dog’s overall health. Here’s why trimming your dog’s nails is important, and a few different ways that you can make the process easier on you both.
Why Trimming Nails Is Important
Your dog’s nails continuously grow. In the wild, your dog would naturally wear down his nails by traveling and hunting over different terrain. That’s not the case with domesticated dogs, though, since we’ve greatly changed their environments. Since domesticated dogs’ nails aren’t naturally worn down enough to keep up with their growth, we need to trim their nails for them.
If left uncared for, your dog’s nails can grow too long. You’ll notice this if you can hear every footstep click loudly as he walks across a hardwood or tile floor. Nails that are too long can chip and break, creating a painful condition that needs veterinary attention. Your dog can easily tear his toenails when playing outside. Additionally, nails left too long can make standing and moving painful and awkward for your dog. In extreme situations, the nails can continue to grow until they curl around and become embedded in the paws of your dog’s feet.
Different Trimming Methods
There are a variety of tools available to help you trim your dog’s nails. Nail clippers come in a wide range of styles, so you can find the one that works best for you and your dog. When selecting a nail clipper, be sure to choose one only as big as needed – buying an oversized pair of nail clippers makes it more likely that you might slip and clip more than just the nail you had wanted to.
Small Dremels provide another option for trimming and maintaining your dog’s nails. Equipped with a grinding tool, a Dremel can quickly and efficiently sand off some of your dog’s nail. This is advantageous because you can round and buff the edges of the nail for a softer finish, rather than dealing with the points that clippers sometimes leave behind.
Whichever method you use, be careful not to cut too much of your dog’s nail at a time. Dogs have quick in their nails, which contains blood vessels and nerves. The quick is sensitive and will bleed if cut. Only cut a very small amount of the nail at a time.
Trimming for Success
It’s important to introduce the process of trimming your dog’s nails as early on in his life as possible. Start by accustoming your dog to having his feet handled, and then gradually progress to handling just one paw pad and claw at a time. Make nail trimming a positive and enjoyable experience for your dog, and be sure to only hold nail trimming sessions during times when your dog is calm and focused. Give your dog treats whenever you expose him to the nail trimming process so that he associates nail trimming with a positive activity.
Trimming your dog’s nails is a task that you will have to do regularly throughout his life, so if your pet is proving challenging, consider enlisting professional dog training help to make the process easier on both of you. And, if you’ve never trimmed your dog’s nails before, ask a veterinarian or experienced dog person to show you how to do so safely the first time.