Among the most important tasks in dog grooming is trimming their nails. Though often overlooked, trimmed nails make it easier for your dog when she’s walking, running, playing or out exploring. Failure to take adequate care of her nails can lead to a number of problems including splitting and breakage of nails which occurs when long nails get caught by objects. If the problem goes unchecked for a long period, your dog may even develop infections or joint and bone complications caused by continuously assuming an unnatural posture.
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You can cut your dog’s nails at intervals of 3 to 8 weeks depending on what kind of use your dog puts his nails to. The more active your dog is, the more often your need to do it. For example, city dogs that do a lot of walking on hard surfaces like sidewalks require less frequent trimming as the concrete and asphalt surfaces they walk on grind down their nails.
Conversely, dogs that spend more time on grass and other soft surfaces usually require trimming more frequently for obvious reasons. Of course, if your dog does a lot of digging up, she’s bound to naturally trim her nails in the process.
The two things to look out for are:
The quick is a blood vessel that runs through a dog’s nail. Knowing where the quick is located will help you to trim without cutting the quick. To achieve this, you’re best off giving an allowance of about 2mm away from the quick when cutting the nail, which can only be done if your dog has transparent claws that allow you to see the quick inside the nail. If the claws are black or dark colored, it may be almost impossible to see the quick.
Trimming your dog’s nails though important can prove to be a stressful and unpleasant task for both you and your dog. The reasons trimming can be difficult include:
When clipping your dog’s nails observe the following:
Dark claws pose a challenge when trimming nails because you cannot easily see the quick. To solve this problem cut the claws in several small slices to minimize the chance of accidentally cutting the quick. Keep checking the edges of your dog’s nail as you cut; look out especially for a dark spot at the center of the newly clipped edge because this is the area where the live quick starts.
Dogs with longer the nails naturally have longer the quicks. Again it is better to trim the nails a little at a time to avoid nicking the quick. Shave off a little bit of the nail from each toe and then give the quick a few days to recede before trimming some more. Once the claws have a reasonable length you can resume cutting on a monthly schedule.
Given that most dogs dislike having their nails trimmed, the best way to help your dog get used to the process it is to start trimming them at a young age if possible. You can use several sessions to trim the nails at first before establishing a regular schedule.
If you lack the confidence, patience or time to clip your dog’s nails, or don’t have the proper equipment to do it’s wise to get a vet or groomer to help you. This is especially the case if the nails are dark and difficult to trim. These are best left to someone with the experience and ability to treat the dog in case a problem arises.
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