Dog Nail Trimming – Information for Clipping and WhyKeith
A Stress-Free Way For Trimming Your Dog’s Toenails
Consequences Of Long Toenails
The first consequence of long toenails is painful paws. When a dog’s toenails contact hard ground, like a pavement, the hard surface pushes the nail back up into the nail bed. This puts pressure on all the toe joints or forces the toe to twist to the side. Either way, those toes become very sore, even arthritic. When the slightest touch is painful to your dog, he will fuss when you pick up his paw to cut nails.
The second consequence of long toenails far more serious. All animals rely on information from nerves in their feet to move through the world and process gravity accurately. For millions of years, wild dogs have run long distances while hunting and worn their nails short. The only time their toenails would touch the ground was when climbing a hill. So a dog’s brain is evolutionarily programmed to associate toenail contact with being on a hill, and he shifts his body posture accordingly: leaning forward over his forelimbs, up the imaginary hill as reported by his toes. Since the hill is not real, a secondary compensation with his hind limbs is necessary to avoid a face plant. This abnormal compensatory posture can be called “goat on a rock,” because it brings his paws closer together under his body.
Normal neutral posture is a nice show dog “stack,” with vertical legs like a table. Recent research shows that standing with limbs “camped-in” is hard work to maintain. These goat-on-a-rock dogs get over-used muscles and eventually over-used joints, especially in their hind limbs, making it difficult to jump in cars, climb stairs and even hard to get up from lying down. Sounds like a lot of older dogs we know! Nail trimming toenails short can be like a miracle cure for your dog whose hind end has become painful, weak and over-used.
That’s the “why.” Now for the “what and how.”
How To: Nail Trimming
Claw maintenance requires a trim every two weeks, just like maintaining human fingernails. If you can hear nails clicking on your kitchen floor, they need sorting out.
The concept is easy: trim around, never across the quick, which is actually your dog’s finger.
Use only “scissor” type clippers. Guillotine style clippers crush the toe, which is painful. Never put the whole nail in a clipper.
Use small size clippers for better control. Only giant breed dogs will need large ones.
Keep your tools sharp: either replace or sharpen your clippers regularly.
“Quick-guards” obscure your view of the nail. If possible, remove them, or at least tape them back so that they won’t interfere with your work.
“Pedi-paws” type grinder: Smooth out your trim afterwards with a rotating emeryboard.
File only the insensitive nail around the top and sides of the quick: “Sharpen the pencil” where the nail is the wood and the quick is the lead.
Follow this link to find suitable nail clippers, just click on any dog related item on the list and then refine your search