How often should you cut your dog’s nails? How often you should cut your dog’s nails depends on a variety of factors, including the breed of dog, the type of clippers you use, and how fast your dog’s nails grow.
In general, most dogs need their nails trimmed every single week! However, if you have a short-haired breed or a dog with very slow-growing nails, you may be able to go longer between trimmings. If your dog’s nails are getting too long and start to curl under his paws, it is time for a trim! (READ MORE ABOUT TOENAIL PROBLEMS HERE)
DIAGRAM OF NAILS THAT ARE WAY TOO LONG, A LITTLE BIT TOO LONG, AND NICELY TRIMMED:
How Often Should You Cut Your Dog’s Nails?
Overgrown dog nails can be a huge problem for your pup. Not only can they be uncomfortable, but they can also lead to health problems. Dog owners should keep their dog’s nails trimmed to avoid these issues! (READ MORE HERE)
Pet parents should get in the habit of regularly trimming dog nails so that they don’t face overgrown nails. Trimming your dog’s nails is one of the primary grooming responsibilities of being a dog owner.
How often you need to do a nail trimming session depends on a few factors:
- Are your dog’s nails overgrown? (READ MORE HERE)
- Is your dog used to frequent nail trimming?
- Does your dog’s nails tend to cut/crack/break?
- Is your dog prone to having extra long nails that grow fast?
- Is your dog an older dog or a puppy?
- Does your dog’s paw match the standard for the dog breed that they are or are their overgrown nails impacting the way their foot sits?
Although there are factors for how often you should trim a dog’s nail, a good rule is to make sure you are trimming your dog’s nails every single week in order to ensure that their nails are not impacting their growth, conformation and health.
Do Dog’s Long Nails Hurt?
Both veterinarians and professional groomers will agree that dog nails that are long and overgrown can hurt a dog both in that moment and have permanent damage. (Is your dog having feet problems?)
Long nails can cause your dog pain when walking or running because the long nail puts pressure on the toe and bends it back. This causes the quick, which is the blood vessel in the nail, to grow longer and makes it more susceptible to injury. In severe cases, a deformed toe from long nails can even make it difficult for a dog to walk.
On the other hand, overgrown nails can also cause your dog pain when they are lying down or sitting because the long nails press into the flesh and make it uncomfortable. In fact, some dogs will try to alleviate this pressure by standing on their hind legs! (READ MORE HERE)
If you think your dog or pup’s nails are too long, try to check and see if the dog nails reach the floor when the dog is standing. If the nails touch the floor, the dog needs a nail trim.
- Joint pain
- Hip Dysplasia
- Inability to walk or run
- Deformed Toes
- Nerve Damage
Issues that long dog nails can cause:
If you want to avoid these health problems, make sure to keep your pet’s nails cut regularly!
How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails
Trimming your pup’s toenails regularly is not always easy. Dog nails can be sensitive, dark colored nails are harder to trim than clear nails, and some dogs simply do not like their nails being trimmed.
Here are some tips on how to make trimming nails a little bit easier:
- Start early! Get your puppy used to having his nails cut so that it is not a traumatic experience for him later on. (LEARN MORE ABOUT GETTING A PUPPY USED TO THEIR NAILS BEING TRIMMED HERE)
- Trim often! Trim your dog’s nails weekly and regularly. Too long nails can make it harder when you get to it. Start trimming even daily! Trimming your dog’s nails regularly can eliminate a ton of anxiety or angst.
- Use the right tools. Make sure you are using sharp, high-quality clippers specifically designed for dogs.Be gentle. Dogs have a quick in their nails, which is a blood vessel. If you cut too far into the quick, it will bleed and be painful for your dog. (READ MORE HERE)
- Give treats! Lots of positive reinforcement in the form of treats and praise will help your dog associate trimming with something good!
Get Your Dog Accustomed to Dog Grooming
Overgrown dog toenails are a pain- both physically to your dog and also can be a harm to your home! Not only can they be uncomfortable, but they can also lead to health problems.
Unfortunately, some dogs hate getting their nails cut. Dog nail trimming does not need to be a complete and utter pain every single time.
Try to start getting your dog’s feet used to being touched before you even begin to trim your pup’s dog nail. When you are sitting around watching tv with your dog, try rubbing their feet and playing with their toes. This way, when it comes time to trim their toenails they will be more used to having their feet handled.
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If you feel like your dog is ready to try, start with just one nail. They may be a bit nervous, but that is okay! Begin cutting or filing their front nails, one at a time. Be extra careful if they are still nervous to make it an overall positive experience.
As always, give lots of treats and praise during and after the nail trimming session! With a little bit of patience and these tips, you’ll have your dog working their way up to being able to get nail trims on more than one nail.
What Tool is the Best to Keep Your Dogs Toenails?
Every dog is different with what nail tool they prefer. Likewise, some pet owners prefer to use nail trimmers and some prefer to use a Dremel. (READ MORE HERE)
Try practicing with both tools to see which works better for your dog’s nail, their personality, and your own comfort level.
You may prefer using nail clippers to get your pup’s nails cut. Some dogs prefer clippers too, as it cuts the nail in one clean motion. Clippers are also less likely to cause the quick to bleed if you accidentally clip too far.
There are two types of nail clippers: guillotine style and scissors style. If you have a small dog, you’ll want to use smaller clippers designed specifically for them. For large dogs, you’ll want to use larger clippers.
Be sure to read more about how to cut dog nails and which tools we recommend for dog nail trimming here:
If your dog hates having their nails clipped, a Dremel tool may be a better solution for you both. A Dremel can file your dog’s toenails down instead of clipping them off. This method takes longer, but some dogs prefer it and it is less nerve wracking with accidentally cutting off too much nail. (READ MORE HERE)
Just take the dremel tool and start filing slowly where the nail starts, being careful to stop at the dog’s quick. The quick contains blood vessels and will bleed if you trim or touch it. Get a good grip on the nail dremmel and start filing in short strokes.
Be sure to read more about how to dremel dog toenails and checkout the tool we recommend for dog nail trimming here:
What Do Dog’s Nails Clicking Mean?
If you start to hear your dog’s toenails on surfaces like hardwood floors, this is a clue that you should trim your dog’s toenails.
Overgrown dog toenails will curve and start to grow into the pads of their feet. This can be painful for your dog and also make it difficult for them to walk normally.
If you hear your dog or puppy’s feet clicking, you should assume that they need a good nail file. Always remember that short cut toenails can and will help to keep your dog healthy and protect their joints, while longer toenails will lead to joint issues.
Frequent toenail trimmings can prevent so many issues and keep your dog healthy. This is a good time to pull out the toenail trimmers or dremel tool and get to work!
Is Going For a Walk Regularly Enough for Your Dog’s Trimming?
You might hear owners say that going for walks can keep their dog or puppy’s nails worn enough that they don’t ever have to even provide trims.
Unfortunately, even dog’s who go on walks regularly can and will have claws that are way too long if they are not frequently getting trimmed. Dog walks are just not enough to wear the nails down on their own.
This is especially true for senior dogs or ones with health conditions that make it difficult for them to walk frequently or at all. This length will need even more attention to prevent any discomfort.
What To Do If You Accidentally Cut the Dog Nails Too Short
Inside of each dog nail is something called the “quick.” The quick contains blood vessels and nerves, and if you accidentally cut it, it will bleed and be painful for your dog. The quick is harder to see in black nails or dark nails, but you can clearly see it in light colored nails.
If you do accidentally cut the quick, don’t panic! Use a styptic powder or pencil to stop the bleeding and then put a bandage on it. This will help the dog to stop bleeding sooner, and keep your dog from licking the wound and will also help to keep any dirt out.
If you’re not comfortable trimming your dog’s nails, we recommend taking them to a professional groomer or vet. They have experience trimming dog nails and will be able to do it quickly and painlessly for your pup.
Do Slippery Surfaces Play a Role In Dog’s Health?
Dogs who live in homes with hardwood floors or tile floors are also at a higher risk for developing calluses on their elbows and hocks (the joints on the back legs). These calluses can lead to joint pain and arthritis.
To help prevent these health problems, we recommend using mats or rugs in your home, especially in areas where your dog likes to lay down or sleep. You can also use traction socks or booties on their feet when they go outside to help them keep their footing.
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Slick floors are a pain point for most dogs. Pups with longer nails will have a hard time gripping the floor, and those with shorter nails or no nails will have a hard time getting traction. This can lead to falls and injuries, so always be cautious of your dog when they’re on slippery surfaces.
Adding both frequent nail trimmings as well as rugs and runners are two very easy solutions for this household problem.
In conclusion, dog nail trimming is an important part of dog care. Dogs need their nails trimmed every few weeks, and more frequently if they are active or have long nails. If you’re not comfortable trimming your dog’s nails, we recommend taking them to a professional groomer or vet.
Trimming your dog’s nails is important for their health and wellbeing. It’s a simple task that only takes a few minutes, but can make a big difference in your dog’s life. So next time you’re considering skipping a trim, remember how important it is for your pup to not develop overgrown dog nails, and go ahead and give them a quick nail trimming!
Your turn! How often do you give nail trims? Do you trim your dog’s nails weekly or monthly? Let us know in the comments!