Did you know that your dog’s long nails might be affecting his or her structure and potentially contributing to the development of arthritis?
A dog’s nails are not meant to touch the ground when walking. If they do, this can affect the way they stand and walk. Over time, this can place unnecessary strain on their joints. They can be more susceptible to injury or even more susceptible to joint pain and arthritis.
Keeping the nails short is very important, but many owners struggle to do so for two main reasons: either they are scared, or their dog is scared – or both!
“I’m scared to cut too far”
Have you ever tried to clip your dog’s nails and ended up cutting into the quick? It can be a terrible experience for both you and your dog. It is painful for your dog, and it is not a fun experience for the owner trying to stop the blood flow. This can be a major setback and cause both owner and dog to never want to attempt nail clipping again.
But if you pay special attention, it is easy to avoid making this mistake.
Be aware of the “quick”, or the blood supply inside the dog’s nail. This quick continues to grow as your dog’s nails grow. It will recede over time as you keep up with your dog’s nail length.
To avoid the quick, look closely at your dog’s nails. White nails make it easy to see the quick from the side, but black nails aren’t difficult either – the quick is easier to see from the bottom of black nails. Look for the lighter core of the nail.
Using a good quality pair of clippers is essential. Millers Forge brand nail clippers are a good choice, and you can get them on Amazon here.
Using a dremel tool instead of clippers makes it much easier to avoid clipping too far up the nail. Dremels let owners get the nail as short as possible, allowing faster progress in getting nails shorter and shorter over time. Dremelling weekly is recommended. Dremels can be purchased on Amazon: here’s one made specifically for dog nails.
If you just don’t want to try, you should let a professional – like a groomer or vet tech – handle the job.
“My dog won’t let me clip his/her nails”
Previous experiences with getting nails clipped may have been stressful or scary for your dog. This can make clipping nails a more difficult task in the future. If a dog has had a bad experience, they will be hesitant to allow their paws to be held or nails to be cut.
The trick is to make nail clipping a less stressful, more positive experience. This will require time and patience; it will not happen overnight. You might have to start desensitizing your dog to having their paws handled for a while before you even begin the process of clipping!
While some dogs might be fine until the clippers are visible, some dogs don’t like having their paws touched at all whatsoever. Find your dog’s comfort level and work from there. If your dog is stressed about having their paws touched at all, reward them just for putting your hand next to their paws. Work in short sessions and always end on a good note. Gradually progress until your dog is comfortable with their paws being handled, then start desensitizing them to the clippers or dremel.
Here is a great YouTube video about this process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3MFEbkcvYg