, February 08, 2023

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Dog Nail Clipping: When and How to Do It


  •   5 min reads
Dog Nail Clipping: When and How to Do It
by Mariana Burgos

Trim nails are one obvious indication of your dog’s good health and hygiene, and nail cutting is a crucial component of dog care. Professional groomers will handle the work for petrified owners. But if done correctly, clipping a dog’s nails is a straightforward procedure that owners can do too.

A poodle dog’s nails are being clipped. Photo taken from royalty-free images of Dreamstine

With our dog Milky and our other dogs in the farm, we do the clipping of their nails ourselves. We wish to have it done by professional pet groomers instead but, unfortunately, we do not have the budget for such. And so, we do not get to do it as regularly as we should because it is quite difficult with our dogs—they hate it when it is time for it and they tend to do all the acrobatics they can to get away from us every time.

However, I have noticed that since our dogs are roaming freely around the farm, they often do a lot of running, jumping, digging and many more activities that naturally keep their nails short. So, nail clipping is not needed as often for dogs who stay inside the house all day.

How to begin clipping your dog’s nails?

Start handling your puppy’s feet and clipping their nails while they are young, so they will get used to it, as nail trimming may be an anxiety-provoking experience for many dogs. While you are trimming a dog’s nails, some will sit on your lap or on a table, while others may require some type of restraint.

Fortunately, you can make the procedure more entertaining for your dog by allowing them to lick peanut butter off a silicone wall pad while you take care of the nails.

When should you start clipping your dog’s nails?

In accordance with Andrew Spanner’s article “When Do Dogs Need Their Nails Clipped?” in the Walkerville Vet website, a dog’s nails that are too long will have their tips in constant touch with the ground. The digit frequently rotates backwards and up or twists sideways in response to pressure. Similar to wearing shoes that squeak, this is probably uncomfortable.

When you see your dog have all these characteristics, he says that is the time to do clip the nails. Some of the toe deviation in the dog’s feet will become permanent if his nails are not trimmed. This is especially true when the digit is rotated in the opposite direction.

Spanner says there are two simple ways to determine whether the nails on your dog are the appropriate length. He says that when a dog’s nails are the proper length, they do not touch the ground when it is standing normally.

Typically, each nail will be 1mm above the surface and only makes contact while moving. Get your dog to stand on a flat surface while you either stoop down or take a photo to witness this.

Trimming a dog’s nails is easy for some, but can be a fearful experience for a dog who was injured during nail clipping when she was a pup. Photo from royalty-free images of Dreamstine

He goes on to say that the second “rule of thumb” is to imagine a line extending forward from the pad’s base. The nail must stay within the boundaries. The dog has kindly turned his digit over so that we can see it, although it’s simpler to accomplish if you pick up the paw. For both measurements, he advises adding an extra 1 to 2 mm in the case of a nervous dog to be safe.

How dangerous is it when nail clipping is not done properly?

Spanner says the quick is normally 1mm or less from the end of the nail in a normal dog. This is the area where the nerves and blood vessels of the nail are located. One must make sure not to trim too short because it will surely make a bloody mess bleeding if it happens.

A slip-up now and again is acceptable in dogs who are resilient and joyful. Any dog will begin to connect foot handling or nail clippers with pain if their nails are frequently over-clipped, though. Even one negative event could teach an anxious dog this lesson.

These dogs experience extreme stress when it comes time to have their nails trimmed because they develop a dread of having their feet handled. Any attempt to clip results in (at best) continuous foot pulling, which raises the possibility of further injury. A sedative is necessary for their own safety if they are, at worst, truly panicked.

Just touching the ground or hooking, though, isn’t enough proof for certain dogs since they have what Andrew and his colleagues refer to as “long quicks.” Older dogs frequently exhibit this.

The biggest hurdle, as Andrew claims, is presented by canines with black nails. He says, you should always get professional assistance before trimming these for the first time. Keep 2 mm below where you believe it finishes even if there are obvious quicks.

How true is it that some dogs don’t need any nail trimming?

Spanner claims a dog in its natural state doesn’t require nail cutting. A dog is considered “natural” if it resembles its wild ancestors sufficiently for the nails to continue to work as they were meant to.

The following characteristics are therefore indicative of a dog that rarely need nail trimming: over 10 kg in weight ;daily jogging and walking; and using ground other than grass but also hard surfaces to walk on.

To prevent a dog’s nails from growing too long, regular clipping is necessary. But if they walk or run on hard surfaces that naturally “trim” their nails, they will require less clipping or none at all. Photo from Royalty-free images of Dreamstine

I suppose that is why our dogs in the farm have short nails and don’t seem to need any trimming. Based on our experience, I suggest you have your pet dogs have as much time as the said activities above so you won’t need to wrestle with them for nail clipping time just like us.

About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She is a solo parent for 15 years now because she is wife to a desaparecido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.

This article also appears in the Manila Standard



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