Trim Your Dogs Nails and
Avoid Paw Problems

Your dogs nails need care, as yours do, but he can't look after his.

You need to trim your dog's nails so that he doesn't catch a torn nail on the carpet or other loose material.

Nails that have grown too long can force his toes up when he stands, causing pain in his paws.

Check his nails daily to look for broken or infected ones.

If your examination finds some, even many, of his nails broken on one paw, there may be a fungal or bacterial infection, or an attack by demodex mites.

If most or all of the nails are broken on every paw, he may have an immune system problem.

In either case, take him to the vet for a diagnosis and to begin a treatment regimen.

Trimming His Nails

Trim any jagged edges caused by broken nails, and trim undamaged nail regularly to avoid problems.

You'll need a nail trimmer that's big enough and strong enough to cut through your dogs nails.

The blades must be sharp and strong, or you'll crush the nails instead of cutting them, causing pain to your dog.

There are Dremel tools also, which use a diamond coated drum to grind off the nail - some dogs hate them, others don't mind. 

Work up to it slowly, first with the Dremel off, treat the dog for sniffing, then with it on, treat for looking at it, and allowing it to touch them, before attempting to use it.

Always be conservative when you trim your dogs nails.

If you can see the quick in light-colored nails, leave an extra eighth of an inch to be sure you avoid cutting the quick.

If he has dark-colored nails, cut them even with the bottom of the pads.

There's no rule that says you have to cut all the nails at one time.

Stop trimming when either you or your dog becomes stressed.

If all you can do is one nail a day, that's one nail better than none.

Be sure to praise him while you're clipping, and especially afterwards.

Reward him when you're done. If you cut too close and cut the quick, apologize to your dog and stop the bleeding.

If he doesn't like to have his nails trimmed (mine hated it), you may have to restrain him or perhaps even muzzle him.

See dog handling for more information.

Or take him to a professional for his pedicure.

It's especially important to trim the dew claws properly.  These are the ones higher up on the leg, so they don't get worn off by regular running or activity.  Some dogs have them on the back legs as well as the front. 

They have an artery connecting them, and if torn by accident, a dog can bleed severely.

Nail Trimmers

There are two types of nail trimmers you can use.

Which type you use will be based more on which you prefer than on actual cutting differences.

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

Be sure to buy a quality nail trimmer that's the right size for your dogs nails.

If you're not sure which type you'd like to use, ask your vet or a professional dog groomer for a recommendation.

Set up an appointment to have the dogs nails trimmed, and ask if you can help to try out each type of trimmer.

Nails, like hair, keep on growing and growing. Trim the dogs nails regularly to avoid infections and broken nails, which can cause pain if he snags them on something.

You might detect a slight spring in his step after wards.

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