Being subjected to a few scratches when your dog jumps up is a good sign that they’re in need of a trim. Some dogs need their claws trimmed far more often than others.
If you regularly take your dog for a walk around your neighborhood and stick to sidewalks, they’re less likely to need trims as regularly as dogs that head for the park or other grassy areas.
However, all dogs are likely to need their nails trimmed occasionally.
This can be done via clipping or filing, but whichever option you choose, it is vital to keep an eye on their claws. That way you’ll know when they need trimming.
There are many reasons why it is wise to regularly check the condition of your dog’s claws. We’ve highlighted the main ones below.
Long claws are painful for the dog
Human toenails don’t impede walking unless they are left to get extremely long. Dogs’ claws are very different. They point downwards and it doesn’t take long for them to start getting in the way.
If you can hear the dog’s claws tapping on the ground as they walk, chances are they need a trim. Keeping them to a manageable length means the dog can walk without pain.
If you notice your dog walking awkwardly – or worse, isn’t keen on walking at all – check his claws before you do anything else.
Longer claws mean longer quicks
The quick is the part of the claw that will bleed – a lot – if you catch it. Dark claws are harder to clip because of this, but any claw can be caught if you’re not careful.
Unfortunately, the longer the claws grow, the longer the quick grows too. That means it would take repeated clipping to reduce the length of the nails to a safe length without catching that quick. Regular trims reduce this risk.
Regular checks mean the process is less stressful for your dog
If you clip his nails regularly, he’ll get used to it over time. Some dog nail clippers are better suited to small dogs and others to large dogs, so be sure you know what you’re using is correct.
If he tends to stress over clipping, try a grinder instead.
These are noisier but tend to be safer to use, investing cleverly into a good quality grinder can make a huge difference, so we recommend checking out our best dog nail grinder reviews.
Either way, try just one or two claws at a time and praise your dog when he’s good and keeps still. He’ll soon learn to associate the process with positive things (such as a training treat or two).
Shorter claws are less likely to break or get caught in things
We’ve all caught a nail and ripped it off. We know how painful it is. Imagine how painful it would be for your dog if he did the same thing.
While you can never discount this happening completely, you can minimize the odds of your pooch losing a claw if you keep them short and manageable.
The longer they are, the more likely it is they will split or get caught in something when they are out walking or running.
Don’t forget the dewclaws!
Not all breeds have them, and those that do may only have them on the front paws. However, if your dog does have them, you should know they are even more prone to getting caught or being damaged in some way.
Be careful to keep an eye on them especially if your dog has longer fur. If they do, it is much harder to see the claw at all unless you’re looking for it.
Regular trimming sessions mean less issues for you or your dog
Some dogs freak whenever you go near their claws. A lot depends on the experience they have had in the past. However, most dogs dislike the experience anyway. The more you can do to make it easier for them, the better the outcome is likely to be.
Try using clippers and the grinder option to see which one your dog prefers, if you can’t decide which to try firs then check out our guide on grinders vs clippers. It might be the ‘least worst option’ rather than the one they like!
Keep plenty of treats on hand and start gradually – don’t force your dog to go through the experience. If all you manage is to successfully clip one nail, that’s great. Praise them and try another one tomorrow. Even if it takes several days to go through them all, it is better than forcing them through an experience they hate.
If in doubt or you are nervous of trimming your dog’s claws…
Don’t keep putting it off. You can pay a groomer to trim them for you. They’ll advise on how regularly your dog should have their claws trimmed. They are experienced at doing it and your dog may well feel happier with them.
Many owners feel stressed at the process and that in turn makes the dog feel stressed. If you cannot manage it yourself, don’t worry – just find a groomer near you who can get the job done instead.
Did you find this article helpful?