Dog manicures--Or, clipping your dog’s nails.

Clipping your dog’s nails is essential if you want to maintain your dog in tip top health. Untrimmed nails will seriously impact on your dog’s ability to walk comfortably, and that isn’t good news for a animal that does mostly everything on all fours.

A dog's forefeet should have 5 nails, one to each pad, and the hind feet have four. Just above, and inside of the front paws are the dewclaws, or dog thumbs. They serve no useful purpose, and in many breeds they are removed a few days after birth. If your dog still has intact dewclaws these also need to be trimmed along with the other nails.

So we’ve established that a dog manicure is essential for a dog’s wellbeing--That only leaves the--when should I clip my dog’s nails? And how do I go about it?

When to trim your dog's nails.

This is dependent on the type of surface that your dog spends much of it’s time walking over. Dogs that dig, and are frequently walked over abrasive ground such as, pavements, asphalt and any other type of surface where friction plays a part, will rarely if ever need a canine pedicure. If your dog spends it’s time mainly on carpets or other smooth surfaces, then nail trimming is going to be a regular chore.

Barking Terrier

The surest sign that clipping is required can be heard as well as seen. You will hear your pets nails catching in the carpet fibres, and on wooden or tiled floors the distinct sound of the nails scratching on the surface. Through regularl fortnightly monitoring of the nails growth you’ll soon come to recognise when clipping is necessary.

How to clip your dog’s nails:

Get this clear--Dog’s do not like pedicures! So like all of the other necessary things a pet owner needs to do to maintain their dog in good health--you start at an early age. Right from the beginning get your dog used to having its paws handled and examined. Buy a good pair of custom dog nail clippers, and just pretend to cut the nails. A mixture of patience, kindness, sometimes firmness, and always a treat, will make canine pedicures a less traumatic experience for both of you.

The very best time to trim nails is just after a bath when the nails are softer than usual. The darker the nail the more difficult it can be to see where the nail ends and the quick begins. The quick is the pinkish area beneath the nail. This is living tissue and if cut can cause bleeding, and a very unhappy dog.

To overcome any accidents you can just nibble away at the tip of the nails on a regular basis. Just snip off the tip of the horn of the nail, around an 1/8th of an inch, and then repeat a few days later. Using a small file, or emery board smooth over any rough edges on the sides and the underside of the nail. Simple really--but obviously this is not something that every pet owner wants to do.

Therefore: If you take your dog to a grooming parlor nail trimming should be done as part of the overall service. If not do you have a friend or relative who would be willing to help you out? Or, the 3rd alternative is to ask your vet, who will usually be willing to trim your pets nails for you--some don’t even charge for this service.

If a dog's nails are not kept short and blunted, the toes frequently spread and splay the foot. Under severe circumstances nails can become so long that they spiral over in to the paw causing the dog extreme pain when walking. None of these problems should afflict your pet as long as you remember to clip your dog’s nails on a regular basis.

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Dog on the run
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