Why is nail trimming important for your dog’s healthy and long life?
Before I explain how well-trimmed nails connect to good health, I want to acknowledge everyone who has had the experience of trimming their dog’s nails too short, causing them to bleed.
The trauma is not just physical; it’s emotional because no one wants to hurt their dog! It is no surprise that many people delay or avoid nail trimming. It is not a lack of caring but a fear of hurting dogs that often leads to overgrown nails, which are closely connected to an overall decline in health.
Let me clarify:
- Long nails lead to an altered gait
- An altered gait leads to muscular-skeletal imbalance and injuries
- Injuries cause more imbalance that often results in back pain
- Back pain and muscle spasms block energy meridians to the skin
- Blocked energy meridians and restricted blood and nerve flow affect the health of organs and the body.
Knowing the above, I would like to give you this
5-step guide to easy, painless, and blood-free nail care.
- Walking may not always be enough to keep your dog’s nails at the perfect length. Concrete and hard surface walking may be sufficient for active dogs, but dogs that walk on softer non-abrasive surfaces may need a nail trim every two to four weeks, on average.
- Check your dog’s nails every two weeks. The perfect nail length is such that the claws do not touch the surface of a hard, non-carpeted floor.
- If your dog’s nails are long, test a nail or two by clipping or filing it off bit by bit, only 1-2 millimetres at a time.
- If your dog's nail profile resembles an upside-down letter ‘U’ when you make the first few small cut, then they are long.
- Long nails have a lighter center, but as you trim closer to the quick, the center will turn dark and dense. This is when you have to STOP.
Trimming large chunks of the nail at a time increases your odds of trimming too much and causing bleeding. At the same time, do not be afraid to continue trimming if the center of the nail is not dense.
Black nails are harder to trim than white transparent nails. With white transparent nails, you can see how far to trim by observing the extent of the pink quick, which you can view from the side.
Trimming nails when the quick is too long:
When trimming is not done often enough, the ‘quick’ of the nail gets longer and it is much more difficult to get it to recede. Some veterinarians recommend trimming nails further back while under anesthesia, but instead, I recommend using a Dremel file once a week to gradually recede the quick. This process may take several weeks, but it is important for your dog’s proper footing and overall health.
Which nail-trimming tool to use:
Nail clippers should be u-shaped on the top and bottom because this conforms to the shape of your dog’s nail and won’t squish it. Flat-blade scissors or trimmers are not ideal, nor are human nail clippers.
I generally prefer u-shaped plier-style nail clippers.
- If you buy scissor-style trimmers, they sometimes pinch the skin of your hand.
- Top-down guillotine-style trimmers don't work as well
- Make sure that your nail trimmers are sharp
Dremel Tools or other rotating files are my preferred nail-trimming tool. It's important not to set the RPMs too high though because this could cause the nail to overheat. Also, a medium-coarse tip should be used to keep the vibration level comfortable for your dog.
Keeping your dog comfortable and still during nail trimming:
To keep your dog comfortable and at ease during a nail clipping session, keep good quality natural treats on hand. When it comes to nail trimming, bribery is definitely allowed! Some dogs may refuse treats when they are upset, but remember, not trimming nails because your dog is unhappy for 10 minutes may result in poorer health and mobility.
What to do when your dog panics or wiggles away:
It's natural for a dog to want to move around. When this happens I suggest that you continue holding the foot gently and move it in the direction your dog wants to move momentarily, then gently return to the desired position. It is important not to let go of the foot, doing so will create a bad habit and your dog will learn to wiggle away every time you start trimming. Be gentle, do not fight with your dog, but do not let the foot go, simply move with your dog and then return to the desired position.
What to do if your dog’s nail bleeds:
- If you trimmed too far and you hit the quick this causes bleeding, but there is no need to panic, I am certain your dog will not bleed out.
- Just calmly apply a gauze pad soaked in herbal Skin Spray to stop the bleeding, and use steady pressure.
- The herbal formula has the ability to reduce pain and contract the blood vessel to stop bleeding.
- If the bleeding does not stop within five minutes, apply a bandage for four to 12 hours.
- As an alternative, you can purchase silver nitrate sticks to stop the bleeding by applying the stick to the injured area. These sticks should be available from your veterinarian or a pet store.
How often to trim nails:
I suggest checking your dog’s nails every two weeks as every dog’s nails grow at a different rate. Activity level and the surface they walk on play a role too. Ideally, trim your dog’s nails before they start clicking and touching the floor.
Weak and brittle nails that don't grow well:
In such cases, it may be a sign of a nutritional deficiency. Do your best to feed as much fresh food as possible. Brittle, weak nails are also a sign of a poorly balanced diet. Here is a link to the healthy dog food Recipe Maker.
I have seen a quick and dramatic improvement when natural essential supplements — the Fab4 — are added to your dog’s diet.
Good health begins with healthy nutrition and a perfect dog pedicure! ❤️🐶