Why it's Important to Keep Your Dog's Nails Trimmed

nail trimming for dogs


Your dog’s nails probably aren’t something that you give a lot of thought to on a day to day basis, but they are something that he relies upon every single day of his life. In humans, our nails can be useful for some things, such as peeling a sticker off of a purchase, scratching an itch or opening a tricky parcel. However, it wouldn’t really be a big deal if we didn’t have nails at all. In fact, countless people bite them too short for them to be of any use anyway.


It is a different story for your canine companion. Our dogs are heavily reliant on their nails. They use their claws to help them grip the ground when they walk, and especially when they run and climb. They also help them to scratch and groom themselves, and if the need were to arise, they would rely on their nails as one form of self-defense.


When a dog spends a fair amount of time outside, walking and running on hard surfaces such as concrete, gravel, and blacktop, their nails are naturally worn down. However, if your canine pal doesn’t get in a great deal of exercise and spends more time walking and sat on soft surfaces such as carpet and grass, their nails can become too long.


While some owners are happy to trim their dog’s nails themselves, nail trimming/clipping is a very common element of any dog grooming package. This is because some pet parents find it difficult to keep their dog still enough to accurately clip his nails.


Why is it Important to Regularly Trim Your Dog’s Nails?


If you notice that your canine’s nails are becoming quite long, it is essential that you take proactive steps to keep them trimmed to a healthy length. There are several reasons why you shouldn’t let your dog’s nails grow too long. These include:


  • They could get snagged on things such as carpets and rugs, causing damage to his nails.

  • His nails could accidentally hurt another pet or family member.

  • He could cause damage to furniture.

  • When long nails constantly touch the ground, they exert force back into the nail bed which can cause your pet pain akin to a human wearing shoes that are a size too small. Over time this can realign the joints of the foreleg and affect the position of the paw.

  • His posture could be adversely affected.

  • Overgrown nails could grow round and curve back into the paw pad.

  • Infections can develop in the skin around the nails.


Fortunately, all of these issues can be prevented by ensuring that your dog’s nails don’t get too long.


How Often Should You Trim Your Dog’s Nails?


Exactly how often you will need to trim your dog’s nails will vary depending on how fast they grow and how much they have naturally worn down as a result of use. As a general rule, experts agree that it is better to trim small amounts more often than cut off large portions of each nail once in a while. If you can hear your pet’s claws clicking on the ground when he walks, it is certainly time for a trim.


If you aren’t sure if they need trimming, or if you need advice on the best way to cut them down, your veterinarian will be happy to advise you. Please contact Elko Veterinary Clinic in Elko, NV to speak to our knowledgeable and experienced professionals 775-204-0400.