Have you ever worn a pair of shoes that are just a little bit too small for you? Can you remember the discomfort or even pain in your toes every time they pushed against the end of the shoe? Well that is how it feels to a dog when his nails are too long.
Not only do dogs use their nails to dig or to gain traction on muddy ground, their nails are very important to their proprioception too. When a dog places his paw on the ground he can work out how flat (or not) it is.
When their nails are too long , they push back into the toe joint. In order to avoid the pain a dog will push the weight towards the back of their pads. This then has a knock on effect to the angle of their leg and how they use or position their shoulder. You may well remember a time when you limped to avoid pain in one leg and due to compensating you may well have pulled muscles you never knew you had! This is the same in dogs. If left for long periods of time the change in their posture could bring on early arthritis or may cause behavioural issues.
So dogs that are walked on pavements regularly may never need their nails trimming as they are being worn down naturally. For dogs that don’t have this opportunity will need them trimmed at the very least once per month.
Okay, okay, I can hear you telling me that your dog wont let you trim his nails! Yes, it does hurt them if you cut their quick but not for long. Yes the quick bleeds loads if cut but that is only because it is hard for the body to clot that area so you can help stop the bleeding quicker by holding some cornflour over the nail. This will soak the blood up and help clot. Cutting the quick will also reinforce to your dog why he doesn’t want you to trim his nails so to start with its better to take just a bit off as opposed to risking it and catching the quick. The more positive experiences your dog has when his nails are trimmed the less stressed he will become.
If you are having problems trimming them yourself then book in with me. This is a free service I provide at Pinkfox. Call me on 07799004543