Posted 2 months ago ago
Dog at the vets (Image: Monty Rakusen/ Getty Images)
By Chloe Bowen
Vets get asked lots of questions from concerned dog owners on a daily basis. And whether you are an experienced dog owner or a newbie, you’ll always have a question or two that you’re clueless about.
Caroline Reay, Head of Veterinary Services at national pet charity Blue Cross, says the question that’s asked most often is: “Do my dog’s nails need trimming?”
Here she shares her knowledge on clipping your dog’s nails at home:
Owners often worry about their dog’s nails as they can hear them clicking on the floor when they’re walking on a hard surface, but this is entirely normal.
If your puppy jumps up on people, then those puppy nails can be sharp. However the answer to this is teaching your puppy from a young age how to greet people with all paws on the ground.
For most dogs that have regular exercise, nails don’t need trimming. Walking on pavements or roads will naturally wear down their claws. The exception would be if your dog has dewclaws as they can’t reach the floor when walking. These are the little nails that are visible on the wrist.
Sometimes older dogs’ nails do grow overly long due to their weight and change in the way they walk. If they are arthritic then they may not properly weight bear on one or more feet so these nails become overgrown. They can even grow round into a circle and dig into the paw which isn’t comfortable for them. It’s best to keep an eye on them every so often and judge when they become uneven.
You can trim your dog’s nails yourself at home and it’s a good idea to get your dog used to having their feet handled from a very early age using reward-based training. Often dogs feel uncertain when having their nails clipped which makes it difficult if rewards aren’t involved as a distraction.
If you are going to clip nails, get a proper dog nail clipper appropriate for the size of your dog and avoid clipping the quick (that’s the pink fleshy bit running down the centre of the nail) or the nail will bleed.
It’s always best to take off less rather than more. If it’s your first time cutting your dog’s nails at home, start off with little snips. Keep calm and relaxed when you try to trim nails as this will help your dog to relax too. If this fails, try adding in a reward for your dog.
You can find more advice on caring for your pet on the Blue Cross website www.bluecross.org.uk