Although many people do not do it and are not aware of it, cutting the nails of the dogs is something important, since it brings greater comfort to the animal to carry out its daily activities. If you still do not know the importance of this hygiene habit, we invite you to continue reading this article, where we give you the most important reasons why you should do it.
Why do dogs need to have their nails trimmed?
When dogs spend a lot of time outdoors, running on different hard surfaces, such as asphalt, their nails wear out gradually and there is less need to trim them. But, nowadays, and more in the times of confinement that we are living, dogs move on softer surfaces such as the lawn of the garden, the interior of the home, or in case of living in the field, the earth.
Long, sloppy nails on dogs not only look unhygienic, but over time can bring health problems to the dog. When the nails are so long that they constantly touch the ground, they exert a force against the base of the nail creating pain. Imagine wearing a tight shoe and having to walk with them all day … wouldn’t it end up hurting you? The same happens with them, in addition, producing a constant pressure on the joint of the fingers. Over time, this can change the alignment of the front leg joints and make the foot look flatter and more extended.
As you can see, it is not only an aesthetic problem, but also a functional one: poor weight distribution can be a problem and the unnatural alignment of its joints can make your dog more susceptible to injury, or make running and walking more difficult painful for him. Therefore, nail hygiene is very important in dogs of all ages (taking special care with those of advanced age), since that simple gesture can help them dramatically improve their posture.
In more extreme cases, overly long nails can curl and grow toward the paw pad. Also, they can break or split, which is very painful, and depending on the severity, will need to be treated by a veterinarian.
Basics of your dog’s nails
We know what you have started thinking since you started reading this article: what is the correct measurement of a dog’s nail? Although it is true that in some breeds (such as the Doberman Pinscher) the nails are so short that they can hardly be seen, as a general rule you should bear in mind that when a dog is standing, its nails should not have contact with the ground. That is, they should not be standing on them. If you can hear your dog coming, his nails are too long. Therefore, it will be sufficient for them to remain above the ground. Cutting them too much can also hurt your dog, so be very careful.
Mammalian nails are made of a very resistant protein called keratin. And in fact, technically, we should be talking about “claws”, and not nails, even if we use the last term colloquially.
Their nails differ from ours in that theirs are made of two layers. The first (unguis) is a hard outer covering where the keratin fibers run perpendicular in the direction the nail grows. The second (subungi), softer and more flaky, whose grain is parallel to the direction of growth. Exaggerated growth of the first coat is what gives the curl look to the dog’s claw when not trimmed.
In addition to the four nails on each of the dogs’ fingers, we find a fifth: the famous spur. It is located inside the leg, and for many it is a matter of debate about whether or not it should be removed surgically, since some consider that the spurs are vestigial, that is, that they have no function, and that they may tear or break if they are not removed. On the other hand, the defenders of the spurs argue that they do have a function, since it helps them to better grip objects, such as bones or food, and to provide important traction when the dog runs and needs to change its direction of blow.
Regardless of the debate that arises in many places because of the spurs, there is something that must be clear: that nail must also be taken care of and trimmed like the others, maybe even more. The spurs do not usually touch the ground, so they do not wear out and tend to be sharper than other nails. Trim the tip so that it is flat and cannot cause any damage.
Useful tools for cutting dog nails
Nail clippers use blades to remove the tip of the nail. There are a couple of different models to choose from, but no matter what type is used, their effectiveness depends on the blades being sharp and clean.
Guillotine trimmers have a hole in the end, through which the dog’s claw is inserted, then, as you squeeze the tool, an internal blade trims the end of the claw. Many people find it easier to cut thick nails with this type of utensil, but others find it difficult to pass each nail through a hole at exactly the correct distance from the end of the nail so as not to harm the animal, especially if the Dog moves too much, still it’s one of the fastest ways out there.
Scissors or pliers type dog nail cutting tools are probably the easiest to use, but likewise, your blade should sharpen from time to time.
Finally, polishers are relatively new to canine manicures. It is a tool that, with a round piece capable of sanding surfaces with friction, turns like a grinder and gently trims the end of the dog’s nail. It is another of the easiest ways to trim your furry’s nails
Nail maintenance routine is crucial
Do you care about your dog’s good health? Then stop making excuses. It is possible that the moment of cutting your dog’s nails is very heavy, and you are avoiding it at all costs: your dog does not enjoy it, neither do you and it becomes hard for both of you, but if you make nail maintenance a habit, and you use rewards for your dog every time you get to do the sanitation, it is very possible that he will end up getting used to it and it will become easier and easier.
If you still have problems cutting your dog’s nails, and you think that it is impossible to do it by yourself, do not hesitate to go to the vet to have him do it or teach you the best way to do it.
Keeping your dog’s nails short is a matter of health and comfort, and it is your responsibility to commit to it.