Your dog’s nails are very important. They help your dog walk and run, explore and play. And if they aren’t taken care of they can cause a host of problems ranging from mild discomfort to punctures or even joint and bone problems. We see a lot of torn / broken nails due in part to the excessive length of the nails and they get caught in something that breaks the nail. This is very painful for your dog.
This can easily be prevented by keeping your dog’s nails trimmed by cutting and / or grinding. The question is, how frequently do you need to do it? Well, it depends. A lot of factors affect this number and it can range anywhere between three to even eight weeks.
Two things that affect your dog’s nail trimming schedule are where the nails are and the breed of your dog. The more active that a dog is, the less frequent their nails may need to be trimmed. Walking on rough surfaces can grind down the nails so city dogs and dogs that frequently walk on sidewalks and asphalt need less frequent trimming. Dogs that are primarily on grass or soft surfaces as well as dogs who spend little time outside typically need more frequent trims. Some breeds and individuals have nails which grow faster than the average and may need to have their nails groomed more often.
A good rule of thumb is that if you can hear your dog's nails "click" on the kitchen floor when walking, they need to be trimmed. You should also keep an eye out for any changes in your dog’s walk as this might also indicate foot pain from lengthy nails.
Trimming your dog's nails is a must. But often, it is a stressful and unpleasant task for both you and your dog. What do owners dislike most about clipping nails?
• Most people said their dogs made it difficult. Whether their dogs were scared or simply uncooperative, it was hard to safely trim their nails while struggling to restrain them.
• Pain and bleeding are a common complaint. There is a blood vessel running through your dog's nails called the quick. It is easy to see on light-colored nails (somewhat harder on dark-colored ones). When you cut into the quick, the nail bleeds. This is painful for your dog and it can also be a little scary for you.
• Painful cuts make dogs fearful of nail trimming. So they struggle and resist, making a tough job even tougher. Some dogs hate having their nails trimmed so much that they actually bite their owners.
It's not surprising that most dog owners would rather not cut their dog's nails. Veterinarians and groomers have the experience and abilities to clip your pet's nails and can show you how to do this at home. (Hopefully) Just ask!
One more thing - when you start, be patient so your dog will get used to having their feet held. Praise when they are calm and relaxed. Do a little at a time and reward your dog for his good behavior! If you have a puppy, the best thing you can do is to start early. I would also recommend that you have something at home just in case you cut the nail too close and it bleeds. Various "nail stop" products are available at pet stores that will stop the bleeding. If you cut too much and the bleeding is excessive, a trip to the veterinarian may be needed. Looking at the nails should be part of the daily care for your dog along with brushing, feeding, playtime, going for walks and picking up their mess.