A common question going rounds among pet owners is, does walking your dog trim their nails? Walking your dog is a daily routine and an opportunity to bond, exercise, and explore the great outdoors together.
Yet, is this simple walking possibly contributing to maintaining their nail health? If you regularly walk your dog, does it mean you won’t have to trim their nails?
Well, there’s more to it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see many nail-trimming tools for dogs. We’ll look at how effectively walking your dog trims its nails, why you must cut your dog’s nails regularly, and much more. Continue reading to the end to learn more.
Does Walking Your Dog Trim Their Nails?
While walking can help maintain or shorten the length of the nails, it does have its limitations as a nail-trimming method.
The extent of wear and tear on the nails will vary depending on various factors, such as the type of surface your dog walks on and their activity level throughout the day.
Therefore, additional nail trimming methods may still be necessary to properly maintain your dog’s nails.
Why You Need To Keep Your Dogs Nails Trimmed
Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is essential to their overall grooming routine. You need to keep your dog’s nails trimmed for several important reasons.
- Prevent overgrowth
When left untrimmed, nails grow excessively, prone to breakage, splitting, or curving back into the paw pad.
It can cause pain and discomfort for your dog, affecting its ability to walk properly and leading to potential deformities in the paw structure.
Regular nail trims help maintain optimal length, promoting healthy paw function and reducing the risk of related issues.
- Protect your floors and furniture.
Overgrown nails may scratch and damage your floors, furniture, and even your skin during playtime or casual walks.
Regularly trimming your dog’s nails can minimize the risk of these types of damages occurring in your home. And this will save you money in repairs and help maintain the aesthetic appeal of your living space.
Imagine walking around with long, uncomfortable nails digging into your skin or getting caught on things. It is not a pleasing experience; the same applies to our furry friends.
Overgrown nails can pressure their toes and paw pads, causing discomfort and pain. That’s why you must routinely trim your dog’s nails to ensure they are comfortable and can move around freely without any pain.
- Prevent infections
Long nails create the perfect environment for accumulating dirt, debris, and bacteria. The accumulated grime under the nails can lead to infections and other related issues, such as nail bed inflammation. You can avoid this by trimming your dog’s nails occasionally.
- Proper posture
Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed promotes proper posture. Overgrown nails can alter your dog’s gait and cause them to walk on the sides of their feet instead of using their pads properly.
It can lead to improper weight distribution and unnecessarily strain their joints and muscles.
The proper nail length can help your dog maintain good posture and minimize the risk of developing orthopedic issues.
Nail Trimming Tips For Your Puppy
Trimming a dog’s nails can be challenging, but you can make it easier with the right tools and techniques. Here are some tips for you.
- Use the right tools.
It is vital to have a good quality pair of dog nail clippers that are sharp and sturdy. This will ensure that you trim the nails cleanly and efficiently. Additionally, having a styptic powder on hand can be helpful in case of any accidental cuts.
- Start at an early stage.
You should introduce your dog to nail trimming when they are still a puppy, as it will help them become familiar with the process and make them more comfortable with having their nails trimmed as they grow older.
- Locate the quick
A quick is the sensitive part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. Cutting into the quick can cause pain and bleeding.
To avoid this, familiarize yourself with your dog’s nails and understand where the quick is. You will want to trim small amounts of the nail at a time, gradually working toward the desired length.
- Use positive reinforcement
Rewarding your dog with treats or praise after each successful nail-trimming session can help create a positive association with the process. It will make future nail trims easier and more enjoyable for you and your dog.
- Make your dog used to handling.
Regularly handling your dog’s paws and gently touching their nails will help them become comfortable with the sensation.
This can be done during playtime or while giving them belly rubs. They will be less likely to resist or become anxious during nail trimming sessions by making them used to handling.
- Make it a routine.
Establish a consistent nail trimming routine, trimming your dog’s nails every 2-4 weeks. Regularity helps maintain the appropriate nail length and prevents overgrowth, making the process more manageable.
- Know your dog’s limit.
Some dogs may have more sensitive paws or may be more resistant to having their nails trimmed. Understanding your dog’s needs and limits will help you determine the best approach for trimming their nails.
Consulting with a professional groomer or veterinarian can provide additional guidance and support if necessary.
How Often Should You Cut Your Dog’s Nails?
A general guideline is to trim your dog’s nails approximately once a month. However, this frequency can vary depending on your dog’s activity level and the surfaces they regularly walk or run on.
Dogs often active on pavement may need less frequent nail trimming (except for dewclaws).
On the other hand, dogs that spend most of their time indoors or on grass may require more frequent nail trimming, possibly every few weeks.
Neglecting regular nail trimming can have long-term consequences. As the quick grows longer with overgrown nails, it becomes challenging to trim the nails shorter in the future.
To avoid this, you should maintain a consistent nail trimming schedule to keep your dog’s nails at an appropriate length.
Remember that properly trimming your dog’s nails contributes to their comfort, mobility, and overall well-being.
When Are Your Dog Nails Too Long?
If you observe any of the following signs, it’s a clear indication that your dog’s nails are too long:
- Audible clicking – When your dog’s nails make clicking sounds while walking on hard surfaces or the sidewalk, it’s a sign that they are overdue for trimming.
- Slender curves – If you notice long, slender curves protruding from the nails, it indicates that your dog’s nails have grown excessively, and you need to take action.
- Extending past the quick – In dogs with white nails, if the nail extends considerably beyond the quick, it suggests that the nails have become too long and require attention.
How To Cut Your Dog Nails Step By Step
To ensure a stress-free experience for you and your furry friend, follow the step-by-step guide below.
- Gather the necessary tools – Collect the appropriate nail clippers or grinders for dogs. Choose tools suitable for your dog’s size and nail thickness to ensure safe and effective trimming.
- Ease your dog into it – Gradually introduce the clippers or grinder to your dog. Let them sniff and inspect the tools while offering treats. It helps create a positive association with the equipment.
- Pick up the foot – Gently hold your dog’s paw and lift it off the ground. Make sure your dog is relaxed and comfortable before proceeding.
- Isolate the nail to cut – Identify the nail you want to trim and gently isolate it from the other toes so that you can focus on one nail at a time, reducing the risk of accidental cuts.
- Decide where to cut – Determine the appropriate length for the nail before cutting. Aim to trim the nail at a 45-degree angle, avoiding cutting too close to the quick.
- Don’t forget to declaw – While cutting the main part of the nail, make sure to also trim the dewclaw if your dog has one.
The dewclaw is a small, non-functional claw located higher up on the leg. Neglecting to trim it can lead to ingrown nails and other complications.
- Grind the nail – After cutting the nails, use a file or grinder to smooth out any rough edges to prevent any snagging or discomfort for your dog.
- Reward your champion – Offer praise, petting, and even a tasty treat for your dog’s good behavior during the nail-cutting session.
The positive reinforcement will help create a positive association with nail trimming and make future sessions easier.
Walking your dog is not only a great way to provide exercise and mental stimulation, but it may also have the added benefit of helping to trim their nails.
However, regular walks on different surfaces can naturally wear down a dog’s nails, reducing the need for frequent trimming.