How to cut dog nails & look after their paws
Running, chasing and generally enjoying life as a carefree dog. Yep, life certainly has its perks as an outdoor pup. But do you ever wonder what all that running around on rough terrain is doing to your pal’s paws? A crucial part of your dog’s health and wellbeing lie within their well-utilised feet, so it’s important to take the time to look after them. From their pads to their nails, here is the ultimate guide to looking after your dog’s feet.
Trim those nails
A gentle pitter-patter of your dog’s claws as they click clack across your floor is a normal enough noise to hear, though ideally, your dog’s nails should just be long enough to touch the ground. If your dog’s nails become too long, this can cause all sorts of problems for them, including pain when they walk and over time, incorrect posture, which can lead to further health issues.
A good trim, or a special doggy pedicure will make this clicking sound less pronounced. Make sure to if clipping nails yourself at home. And if you aren’t quite confident enough to carry out the task, you can book Fido in to see their vet.
Take care of those pads
No matter whether your dog is making other doggy friends during his woodland walks or forever fetching sticks for you to throw back out, he may run the risk of catching certain nasties between their paw pads. So to help cater for your pal’s wellbeing, make sure to check their paw pads on regular basis and ensure nothing is caught where it shouldn’t be.
Always keep a pair of tweezers handy, in case your dog ends up with a potentially dangerous or uncomfortable item in his pads. This could be anything from small stones and bits of dirt to pieces of glass from broken bottles or other hazards. If you think the item may be stuck too far, book an appointment with your vet just to be on the safe side.
If your pal winds up with an infection as a result of something trapped within their paw pads, you can deck them out in some to promote healing as well as keeping their pads extra safe.
Look after their paws
Oh, and don’t forget about the hair on your dog’s paws. Spending lots of time outside in the rain and mud can cause this area of hair to become matted, which won’t be comfortable for your pooch.
To help prevent this from happening, and brush the hair between the pads out after each walkies, particularly ones where your pal has made an extra splash in puddles or been rolling around in the mud! It’s also important to trim the hair so that it sits evenly within their pads.
Moisturise and massage
Give your dog the gift of moisturiser for those tired paw pads - though bear in mind that moisturiser should really be for their daily life and not just a one off treat. Make sure to pick one that is made especially for dogs, as they will have different needs to that of their human counterparts. If you’re unsure of the right one for your pooch, speak to your vet and they should be able to recommend one.
As you moisturise your dog’s paw pads, why not give them a massage at the same time? Not only can this soothe your pooch and help to calm them down but it can also improve their circulation.
Cutting Dogs Claws Yourself Or Get A Vet To Do It?
Just like their human counterparts, dog’s nails grow continuously and sometimes at an alarming rate. And all pooch lovers understand that cutting their dogs nails is an essential part of doggy maintenance and hygiene.
It’s important to know that most dogs don’t enjoy this type of activity but there are steps you can take to make it a bit easier for them - and for you! If your pals’ nails get too long, it can lead to lots of pain for them. Ouch!
JThis leads to the all-important question - should you trim your dog’s claws yourself or take them to the vet each time the subject comes up?
Doing it yourself
You can trim your dog's claws yourself and should aim to do so once every month. And if you do decide to make the cut yourself, this can be relatively straightforward, as long as your pooch possesses clear or light-coloured nails. This brings you to the crucial part of the process. Finding out where the quick is. What's the quick, you say? It’s a good question and one that’s important for DIY nail cutting.
The quick is a cuticle, complete with a combination of nerves and blood vessels. Being able to spot the quick will help you with cutting because you’ll need to make sure you do so above that point. Guidelines states you should cut roughly 2mm away from the quick. Although it can be hard to spot this if your pal has black or dark claws. In this situation, it might be best to get your vet to cut them instead. You could also try to smooth out their claws.
So, you’ve made the decision to cut your dog’s claws yourself. What tools should you be using?
- Purchase “scissor” style clippers for your dog. If you opt for the guillotine type, you could run the risk of crushing your pooch’s toe, which is not going to be comfortable for them.
- Most dog owners will only need to use . The benefits of which give you greater control - perfect for more unruly pups! If you have a dog of a giant breed, then you can consider opting for
- Make sure to never put the whole nail inside the clipper. You could run the risk of cutting the nail too short, which could lead to bleeding of the quick.
- Make sure your pooch’s tools are kept sharp and clean. You can invest in more expensive clippers for long-term use or buy new clippers once the old ones have become too blunt.
- Once you’ve successfully cut your dog’s nails, you can smooth them out with a rotating nail file. Make sure to only file the part of the nail around the quick.
When it comes to the process itself, , or alternatively, you can speak to your vet or dog groomer to learn the best way to do it yourself.
The vet’s part
If you do decide to take Fido to the vet for the all-important event, it’s absolutely fine to do so. Your dog may not allow you to do it yourself! And whilst no animal owner wants to hurt their dog, no dog wants to be hurt by such a routine event either.
Cutting a nail too short or “quicking” is not something you want to happen as it can lead to pain and lots of bleeding. So, if you’re particularly worried about this for your pooch, or have had a bad experience in the past, book your pal in with the vet. You may even be able to get a discount if this coincides with a health check or you do so regularly.
You can also ask your vet to show you how to carefully cut Fido’s claws, and over time you can build up the confidence to do it yourself.