Your dog’s claws, just like your own nails, continually grow and therefore need attention. Although walking on hard surfaces wares down the claw they will still require cutting on a regular basis. Leaving the claws long can cause pain in toes, pads and legs, and could result in ingrown claws, splitting and infection.When is attention necessary?
The following are good indicators that your dog’s claws need cutting:-
- Does the claw touch the ground when the dog is standing?
- Is the claw well over the pad?
- Can you hear the claws on hard surfaces?
- Is there a long part of claw after the quick?
- Is there any splitting to the claw?
Your dog’s back claws usually require less trimming than the front. Unless your dog has had them removed remember to cut the dew claws which wear out less and are often longer than any of the other claws.DIY Claw cutting Whether you choose to cut your dog’s claws yourself or go to the groomers/vets is your choice. Cutting light coloured claws is much easier than cutting dark claws as you can quite clearly see the quick (the blood vessels and nerves of the claw).
Equipment necessary for home cutting includes:-
- Guillotine or scissor action cutters
- Styptic pencil or styptic powder
Try to cut the claw just after the quick, roughly 2mm, and file the edges smooth.
Position your cutters and without your dog moving cut in one steady motion. Have some treats handy to give after each claw is successfully cut but stop if your dog becomes fractious and continue another day. If your dog’s claws have grown too long trim them a little each week as this will help the quick recede. Then you will be able to resume monthly sessions.
It can be difficult to see the quick in dark claws. However, by wetting the nails the quick sometimes becomes more visible, or by shinning a torch from underneath the claw or looking at the claw from the underside. Cut dark claws in small stages and look for a black dot in the middle of the cut claw. Once you see this stop as this is the start of the quick.
Should you cut the nail too short and it starts to bleed use your styptic pencil or styptic powder to stop the blood flow, or hold the end of the claw tightly with a cotton pad/tissue. At the most it will bleed for a few minutes then heal itself. Apply a little purple spray or other animal antiseptic if you become concerned over infection.