Pets Need Nail Care Too

Woman trimming her pet's nails

In this day and age, it seems like nothing is more important than our furry friends.  And just like us humans, grooming is an important part of a pet’s wellness regimen. That’s why nail care should be something every pet owner is educated in. Find out the best way to keep your pet’s paws happy and healthy ones.

Outdoor dogs climb, run and dig, keeping nails naturally short and worn down. This is not the case with domestic dogs whose nails may tend to grow long. Long nails are not just a cosmetic issue; they can change the way a dog’s paws interface with the ground, negatively affecting posture and gait. This can be taxing on a dog’s joints leading to chronic pain and making dogs more prone to injury. Dogs who do not have their nails cut regularly are also at risk for ingrown toenails and snags and tears in the nail.

Experts recommend this method for nail trimming on your dog:

  • Use a nail trimmer designed for dogs.
  • Arrange your dog comfortably. Some dogs might sit in your lap while you trim their nails but you can also sit next to them on the floor during the procedure.
  • Hold each paw and spread the toes as you work. Beware of cutting to the quick which may be closer than you think. The quick is the end of the toe’s blood vessel and if you cut it, the toe will bleed.
  • Trim dewclaws. These are remnants of fifth toes which only some dogs have. They will be high on the inside of each foot and can get easily torn in the field if they are not maintained.
  • Finish with a reward. This way your pet will understand the benefits of nail trimming and be cooperative when he’s due for his next manicure.

The need for dog nail trimming can vary in dogs ranging from one month to several months.

Nail care in cats is important too. Cats tend to scratch humans and furniture and eliminating this issue will make life more comfortable for owners. Cats will also benefit since broken claws can be painful and are less likely to happen if claws are kept trimmed. Experts recommends these methods for keeping a cat’s claws trimmed:

  • You can use either a trimmer designed for cats or a human nail trimmer. Each should work equally well.
  • Choose a chair in a quiet room where you can sit comfortably. Make sure your cat is in a relaxed state by massaging and talking to her; post meal works best.
  • Start by gently touching your cat’s paws. Be aware of her body language. If she starts becoming upset, withdraw until she calms down and then gently start again.
  • Press paws to expose the nail. Then slowing introduce the clipper by simply touching it to the claw, then putting it away.
  • Don’t try to cut all your cat’s nails at once. Aim for one at a time as the cat may get upset if you try to a full paw’s worth.
  • Beware of cutting the quick of your cat’s nails. If you do happen to make this mistake, bleeding can be stopped with a styptic powder or stick. It is recommended you keep this nearby during the cutting process.
  • Finish with a reward.

Note that cat’s claws do grow faster than dog’s and they may be due for another trim in just a couple of weeks.


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