The Dangers of Your Dog’s Nails Being Too Long

Published on January 22nd, 2024

The Dangers of Your Dog’s Nails Being Too Long

Whether you’re new to the world of owning a dog or you’ve had one your whole life, it’s important to keep your dog’s toenails trimmed. While long nails may be a nuisance for you, they can be downright painful for your dog.

Think about if your toenails were too long and touched the ground every time you walked. It sounds uncomfortable, right? Your dog feels a similar sensation when his or her nails are too long.

Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your dog’s nails healthy and trimmed.

Can Long Nails Hurt a Dog?

Long nails can become very painful for your dog as they start to curl under and grow into the paw pad, which can eventually lead to an infection. They can also catch on toys and furniture or rip off unexpectedly.

What Happens If You Don’t Trim Your Dog’s Nails?

Your dog won’t be able to walk or run correctly when their nails get too long. This may cause them to put stress on different joints which can lead to problems like arthritis. As we stated earlier, long nails can also be painful for your dog. They may experience pain while walking, and their paws may eventually become infected.

Are My Dog’s Toenails Too Long?

If your dog’s nails are too long, you’ll likely hear them click-clacking when they walk across the floor. Visually, you can tell if your dog’s nails are too long if their claws jut out past their paw pad or if their nails touch the ground while standing.

What’s the Proper Nail Length For Dogs?

Your dog’s toenails should be short enough that they don’t touch the ground when walking. However, you should not cut past the “quick” in your dog’s nails, which is the living tissue that exists beneath the nails. Cutting this tissue can cause bleeding and pain.

You can typically see the quick, which looks like a dark blue or black vein beneath the surface of the nail. If your dog has dark nails, and you cannot see the quick, play it safe and cut off only the very tip of their nails.

How Often to Clip Your Dog’s Nails

How often you clip your dog’s nails will depend on how fast their nails grow.

Additionally, if your dog often plays outside or runs around on hard surfaces like concrete, you may find that their nails naturally wear down on their own. But if your dog is typically on softer surfaces such as grass or carpet, there is not enough friction to naturally wear down the nails.

It’s a good idea to schedule time for regular nail trims, even if your dog’s wear away naturally. This will give you the chance to look over your dog’s paws to ensure the nails and paw pads are healthy and in good shape.

Do Vets Trim Nails?

Some vets offer nail clipping as part of their wellness exams. If your dog’s nails are in need of a trim, don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian if they offer this service. Many vets will provide a nail trimming along with instructions on proper technique as part of your first visit.

Schedule Your Dog’s Wellness Exam

Portage Park Animal Hospital is your trusted source for veterinary care in Chicago.

Our veterinarians are knowledgeable and compassionate. They will help make your dog’s nail-trimming experience as easy and painless as possible. Call us today to schedule your vet appointment in Chicago.

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