Part of your routine pet home care should involve taking a look at your pet’s nails. For most young animals this will be a routine glance over to check they are not too long and there are no cracks. Overgrown nails are more prone to getting torn or can curl back into the pad.
Most young dogs will wear down their nails running around, though occasionally dewclaws will need trimming as they don’t touch the ground. Long dewclaws are prone to getting caught and torn off. Torn nails can be quite painful – imagine if you had your nail ripped out!
Older cats that don’t scratch their post and older dogs that can’t walk as much are particularly prone to overgrown nails. Sometimes this can make walking difficult, which can be problematic enough if arthritis has started to set in. The nail can also curl around into the pad and cause pain and infection. Check the feet of your older pet every few weeks to prevent this occurring.
Small dogs like Chihuahuas and small Jack Russell Terriers often don’t have enough body weight or do enough walking on concrete to wear their nails down. These dogs may need life-long regular nail trimming. This can often be a traumatic experience for pet and owner alike. If you have a small dog puppy start out on the right foot by making nail trimming a fun experience. Even if your pup doesn’t need their nails trimmed, just make a cutting motion with the clippers near your pet’s nails. Give them lots of treats and praise for being calm and not reacting to the nail clippers. When your dog actually does need their nails trimmed it won’t be such a drama.
To trim your pet’s nails you can cut them 2 – 3 mm longer than the pink part of the nail. The pink part, or the quick, has the blood vessel and nerve. It can be painful and bleed if you nick it. Dark nails tricky to trim and I recommend getting a vet or groomer to show you where it is safe to cut these.