Dog Nail Care

The nails of the dog are considered a specialized skin structure.

They tend to grow in a circular fashion which gives the nail a normal curve.  If allowed to grow, they may form a complete circle.  This is commonly seen in a dew claw.  If a nail is not trimmed, it will frequently form a complete circle and grow back into the leg.  This can cause a painful infection.

Many house dogs do not receive adequate abrasive wear to the nails and consequently they grow to dangerous lengths unless clipped.  This can lead to lameness.  It is important to trim the nails on these dogs to maintain attractive and safe lengths.

In trimming nails two major points must be understood:

1.    DOGS GENERALLY DO NOT LIKE TO HAVE THEIR FEET HANDLED.
Therefore, they may resist nail trimming.  When first trimming a young dog’s nails, use patience to get the dog’s confidence.  This extra time may prevent a bad memory experience which may make it a difficult procedure.  It is advisable to work with young dogs to gently file and trim only a small amount of each nail.

2.    AS A NAIL GROWS IN LENGTH – SO DOES ITS BLOOD SUPPLY.
Therefore, a long nail cannot be trimmed to its normal length at one time without causing bleeding.  If you trim an abnormally long set of nails, trim only the safe amount without causing bleeding and we advise repeat trimming at seven to ten day intervals.  During this period the blood supplies will recede so the nail will gradually reduce to a proper and safe length.
In white non-pigmented nails you can see the blood supply. Study these nails to learn the relationship of blood supply to nail length.  By such observation you will be able to judge the proper trim on the dark nail where you cannot see the blood supply.

Dog paws by shanon wise

Photo credit: “Paws” by shanon wise

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