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Dog Grooming: Do Dogs Really Need Their Nails Trimmed?

Dog nail trimming is always named as one of the top, most important grooming procedures for canines. To first-time owners, it seems like everyone keeps stressing its importance; your vet, the internet, and even other pet owners. With all the emphasis being laid on trimming your dog’s nails, and the fuss your puppy makes every trim day, it’s not out of place to wonder if your pup can actually get by without it.

To put it plainly, you’ll be doing your pet a great disservice if you don’t trim their nails regularly. This article will help you understand why despite the hiccups you might encounter during the process, you still have to trim your dog’s nails. It will also give you tips to smoothen the rough journey and make sure you can do it by yourself at home easily.

A photo of a dog paw with nails that need trimming
Keeping your dogs nails trimmed is an important part of pet ownership

How Often Should You Cut Your Dog’s Nails?

Once or twice monthly is recommended. However, you should never let your dog’s nails grow so long that they touch the floor when they are standing. 

The question of “how often” also depends on a number of factors like;

  • Surfaces they spend time on.

Dogs that spend most of their time outdoors on rough or hard ground tend to wear their nails naturally. The harder the surface, the more their nails will wear down. So, you will not need to trim their claws as often as dogs that spend most of their time indoors. This factor, however, depends on your pup’s environmental situation.

  • Activities they engage in.

Digging, scratching, running, sports, hunting and a lot of outdoor activities will wear down the nail of your dog. So if your pup takes part in these activities, they may not need a trim as often as once a month. This opposes dogs who don’t engage in so many activities. 

  • Nutrition.

 The food dogs eat play a role in how fast their nails grow. If your canine is well nourished, their nails will naturally grow stronger and faster.

  • Health conditions.

Nail bed infections, auto-immune disorders, allergies, and other health issues can slow down the growth rate of your puppy’s nails.

What To Do When Faced With Common Trimming Problems

Most people would trim their dog’s nails every day if they had to, but the struggles make it hard to be consistent. Here are some of the bumps in the road most owners hit when trying to trim their pet’s nails and how to remedy them.

  • The claws won’t cut or they are too hard.

It is not uncommon for pups to have tough nails. However, if your dog’s nails won’t cut, chances are you’re using an ineffective tool. Most dog nail trimmers are built to slice through the toughest of nails easily so if it’s a nail clipper, a sharp one will do the trick. If it’s a grinder, a bigger or faster grinder is recommended.

  • The nails grew too long.

A lot of owners make the mistake of letting their dog’s nails grow too long before trimming them. This could be very hazardous for your pet and would definitely be harder to trim later. The solution is to cut off the excess part with a dog nail clipper and then grind it to the desired length. Also, don’t wait too long in between trims.

  •  Causing their dog pain.

You probably squeezed their paw too tight. Also, if you’re using a nail clipper, most times your dog cries out because you used a blunt tool and too much force which ended up squeezing the nail instead of slicing through it. 

That can be very painful. If it’s with a nail grinder, chances are you touched the grinder to the nail for too long and ended up burning your dog. Either way, you can correct that in future trims by getting a sharper tool and putting less pressure on your hold.

  • Dog won’t sit still.

Your dog is probably not used to trims or has been traumatized by past experiences or you let too much time pass and they’ve forgotten that trims can be fun.

The solution to the first is to start trimming as early as the puppy stage so they get used to it. For the second and third reasons; with treats, reassurance, and patience, help them understand that trim days are not scary.

Why You Don’t Want to Let Your Dog’s Nails Get Too Long

Leaving your dog’s nails to grow without grooming can cause physical and health problems for your pet. Here’s why you have to trim them regularly;

  • Nail trauma.

Long nails are at risk of being caught on something. They can be cracked, split, or even worse, torn off completely.

  • Injuries from nail trauma are at risk of being infected and can lead to further complications.
  • Long nails are breeding grounds for germs and can make your dog sick from ingesting those germs.
  • Untrimmed claws can grow into your dog’s paw and hurt them.
  • Long nails can make movements painful for your dog.

Tips To Make Dog Nail Trimming Easier

The main reason most owners have a hard time during trims is that their dogs won’t sit still and get their nails cut. Your dog does this because they are scared. 

Here are some tips to make them more comfortable and make the process stress free for you and your pup:

  • Conceal the process.

 Using a barrier like a towel to cover your pug’s paw will help them stay calm.

  • Condition them to the sound of grinders.

 To a pup, the buzzing of a grinder may sound like an earthquake. Leaving your grinder on over time will help them adjust to its sounds.

  • Let them play with the trimmer.

 Help them see the dog nail file as something harmless by letting them explore and touch it by themselves.

  •  Go at their own pace. 

Never force your pet to get trimmed. Habits aren’t formed in a day, so you’ll need patience to help them come around. You can trim a nail a day or as many as they will let you trim.

  • Reassure and reward them with soft words and treats.

What to Do if You Cut Your Dog’s Nail Too Short

Although it’s advised to cut away from the dog nail quick to avoid injuries, sometimes mistakes happen. Here’s what to do if you ever cut into the quick of your dog’s nail;

  • Stay calm. 

The sight of blood can be scary for both you and your dog but you have to maintain your cool because your dog will mirror your panic. You have to reassure them by stroking them and sweet words.

  • First aid.

Apply a clotting agent like styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding. In case of severe bleeding, visit the vet.

Conclusion

Long dog nails are unhealthy and proper nail trimming is how you keep your pup’s paws healthy. To keep your puppy safe, healthy, and happy, you have to commit to grooming them regularly. His overall health and well being depends on it.

These tips on how to cut dog’s nails are easily helpful and could make cutting dog nails fun. You don’t have to be filled with dread the next time you hear the click-clack of your dog’s nails on the floor.