Nail Trimming Makes Your Dog Happy
How Often Is Enough?
Like many such questions there are of course several factors that affect the answer. With regard to the frequency of nail trimming, these factors can include, amongst other things:
The type of surface your dog spends most of their time on. Are they indoor mostly and only touching carpet? Outdoors on grass or dirt? Or do they go for frequent walks on asphalt or concrete?
How much time their feet actually spend on the ground. Do they spend most of their day in your arms or on the couch? Or do they get around under their own power?
What they eat. Your dogs nutritional plan, particularly the balance of certain minerals and vitamins can have an impact on the health and growth rate of your dog's nails.
Certain health conditions. Dogs can get nail bed infections, auto-immune disorders, and tumors that can affect the health and growth rate of their nails.
The Rule of Thumb
A good rule of thumb (pun definitely intended!) is that you should trim your dog's nails, or have them trimmed, as often as it takes to prevent their nails from touching the ground when they're standing (just like in the inset photo). And while this frequency will be different for each dog, the more often you do it the more accustomed to and amenable to it they will be. Especially if you start young, go slowly, and take care to avoid the nerves and blood supply to the nails. So if it's possible and practical to trim your dog's nails weekly or at least every other week, you'll likely see better results, have a much less stressed dog, and experience less stress yourself in the process.
Why Trim Your Dog’s Toenails
The most common reasons for avoiding nail trims are that the owner is afraid of “quicking” the dog, or that the dog fusses and creates bad feelings around the procedure.
Nail cutting becomes an event surrounded by angst and drama. For very active dogs who run all day long on varied surfaces, cutting nails may not be necessary. High mileage wears them down naturally.
But among city or suburban dogs who are lucky to get a mile or two walk daily, excessively long toenails are more common than not.
Consequences Of Long Toenails...So what’s the big deal?
The first consequence of long toenails is painful feet. When a dog’s toenails contact hard ground, like a sidewalk or your kitchen floor, the hard surface pushes the nail back up into the nail bed. This either 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 is 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!
Cutting toenails short can be like a miracle cure for your dog whose hind end has become painful, weak and over-used.
Nails Trims... when we walk or board your dog...$20.00
Nails Trimmed without walk or boarding...$25.00
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