Once in a while, dogs need a pedicure, even though most four-legged friends probably don't enjoy it. However, cutting your dog’s claws isn’t just a cosmetic measure: claws that are too long have an effect on the dog's posture and can cause permanent damage to the joints. Today we will let you know what to look out for when caring for your dog’s paws and give you step-by-step instructions on how to cut your dog's claws properly. Also, please take a look at our how-to video.
Why do you need to cut your dog's nails?
Claws that are too long hinder the dog in his natural gait function and can cause pain. In order to avoid the pain and relieve the joints, the dog intuitively changes the load and posture. This can lead to joint misalignment and affect the entire musculoskeletal system. In the long term, this misalignment leads to posture and gait damage, which in turn causes disabilities.
If the dogs' nails are not trimmed in time, they will continue to grow, sometimes even into the pads of the paws, which can be particularly painful for your dog.
When are the dog's claws too long?
The best way to tell that your dog's claws are too long is whether he makes clicking noises when walking over laminate or tiles. Place your dog in front of you so that his paws are on the ground. When the dog's nails hit the ground, it's time to trim them. On the other hand, if the claws hover just above the floor while standing and a sheet of paper fits between the floor and the nails, then the claws are at optimal length.
Since cutting dog claws does not always go smoothly and your four-legged friend can defend himself, you should get your young dog used to this procedure early on. You can regularly touch your dog's paws, examine them and inspect the individual paw pads. In this way, your little friend gets used to being touched and builds trust.
Instructions for cutting your dog’s nails
You will need the following accessories for proper paw care:
- claw scissors or pliers, claw file
- rounded scissors to remove the fur from between the paw pads
- a (cell phone) flashlight
- paw balm
Your dog should sit or lie relaxed, if he is defending himself too strongly and is restless, you can ask another person to help.
Take a close look at your dog's paw. If there is dirt between the paw pads, clean the paws first.
If your dog has excess fur on the paw pads , you should shorten it with the rounded scissors.
Now enclose the paw with your hand so that you can hold it tightly. Make sure not to apply too much pressure and not to hurt your four-legged friend. Now look at the claws: if your dog has light-colored claws, you can easily see where life in the claw extends. You can cut black claws on dogs with the help of a flashlight (a cell phone flashlight is perfectly adequate). Simply illuminate the claw and mark with a pen where life ends.
Now hold clip the claw at a distance of 1-2 mm from your marking.
Filing the dog's claws: If life has grown too far into the claw, you should first file the claw with a special dog file. This can be a bit tedious and take time until the life in the claw recedes.
Don't forget to reward your darling afterwards, so he associates the annoying procedure with something positive and hopefully will be more relaxed next time.
You can also apply a paw balm for dogs to the paws, so they stay nice and supple and cracked paws are prevented.
Caution: Be careful not to cut into "life," it can lead to bleeding and cause pain to your dog. It can also reduce the dog's confidence and the next time he is no longer open to having his claws cut. If something went wrong, you can press your dog's claw against a piece of curd soap to stop the bleeding. If it bleeds very heavily and you cannot stop the blood flow, you should consult a veterinarian.
How often will you need to cut the dog’s nails?
How often the nails are cut varies greatly from dog to dog. In some dogs, the claws grow faster; in others, the length does not change over months. Weight, size and, of course, the nature of the soil also play an important role. If your dog often walks on asphalt, the claws grind off automatically.
Paw care and the cutting of the dog's nails are part of regular dog care. If your dog's claws are not shortened once they are too long, it can lead to incorrect posture and consequential damage.