Regular nail clipping, or trimming, should be part of the routine care of your pet. It is essential for elderly and indoor pets, whereas, outdoor pets may wear their nails down naturally. The requirement for nail trimming can vary depending on breed, age, level of exercise and the environment in which your pet is kept. Working and herding breeds of dogs are active and generally have compact feet with well-arched toes which angle the toenails down towards the ground. If these dogs are active on hard surfaces, such as gravel, rock, and concrete, their nails may not need trimming until they slow down with age and exercise less. You will, however, still need to regularly trim their dew claws (the little claws on the inside of their front legs that don’t touch the ground).
Other breeds may have nails that grow more forward than downward, and therefore, no matter how much exercise they get on rough ground, it is unlikely that they will wear down naturally. Some dogs may benefit from having the tips of their nails trimmed once every week or two, however, for most it will be longer than this. You will have to decide what is right for your dog by inspecting their nails on a regular basis. If you notice a change in the sound of their nails on hard floors this is a good indication that it is time for a trim.
Cats may also require nail clipping, with the frequency depending on their lifestyle. Indoor-only cats will need more regular nail trims, whereas, outdoor cats may naturally wear down their nails and require less frequent trimming.
What happens if my pet’s nails get too long?
If nails are allowed to grow, they can split, break, or bleed, causing soreness or infection in your pet’s feet and toes. Long nails can get caught and tear, or grow so long that they can curl backwards into a spiral shape that can make walking very painful for dogs (like us walking in shoes that are far too small). Cats are able to retract their claws, so this is less common for them, however, cats do still need to have their nails regularly clipped (especially if they do not get much natural wear and tear). Uncut nails may curl so far that they pierce the paw pad, leading to infection and debilitating pain. Nails should be inspected and/or trimmed at least once a month. If not, an area called the “quick” tends to grow out longer within the nail, making it nearly impossible to cut properly and without bleeding. It is very important not to cut the quick of a nail as this is rich in nerve endings and very painful for the pet. If you do accidentally cut into the quick, press the nail into a bar of soap or apply some flour to stop the bleeding.
We have a variety of nail clippers that suit different pets — from the very small to the very tall.
We can also show you how to do it if you would prefer to cut them yourself at home.
Come in and see us today to have your pet’s nails checked.