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Posted on 09-16-2015

            Trimming your dog’s nails may not be your dog’s favorite afternoon activity but it is extremely important to do on a regular basis. If your dog’s nails aren’t trimmed frequently it can cause a number of problems. The most common issue is torn or ripped nails, from dogs trying to play and getting their nail caught on something along the way. This often ends up in a last minute visit to the vet clinic and can be quite painful for your pet. Another common issue is nails that have become so long that they have begun to curl. This can cause a fair amount of discomfort and in more extreme cases where the nail actually punctures the pad, be very painful. When nails get this long on a dog it will alter the way that they walk, leading to more serious issues such as joint problems. All these issues can easily be avoided by maintaining your pet’s nails.

The frequency in which your pet will need their nails trimmed depends on a few factors. The easiest way to know when your pet needs a trim is when you can hear your pet’s nails “clicking” on the floor. Some dogs have longer quick's than others and require more frequent nail trims to make the quick recede to a normal size. Dogs that have nails that grow very quickly also have to be trimmed more frequently. Most dogs on average need a trim about every four weeks but some can go as long as eight weeks between trims. More active pets almost always require less frequent nail trims, since they tend to wear them down on their own.  Rough surfaces like sidewalks act similar to a nail file for your pet and allows them to wear down their nails while enjoying a walk. Taking a nice walk downtown can be beneficial for both you and your pet.

            Some dogs may be a little more difficult to trim than others, whether they have darker nails making it harder to see the quick (the flesh part of the nail), or they don’t handle restraint well. It is often alarming to owners who have dogs that squeal or squirm when getting their nails trimmed. Be assured that most of the time it is because they are afraid of restraint, not necessarily because they are in pain. One way to help your pet feel more comfortable with this is to get them used to having their feet touched. Next time you’re sitting on the couch with your dog, start to gently touch their paws. When they are calm and relaxed about you doing so, praise them for it! This will help your pet to feel more comfortable during their next pedicure. If you feel most comfortable bringing your pet to your vet clinic for trims, feel free to bring your pet in and we can take care of that for you. Or if you would like for us to do a demonstration so that you can maintain your pets nails at home, all you have to do is ask! 

        Thank you for reading! – Dani, Veterinary Technician

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