The Importance of Regular Pet Nail Trims

If you can recall your pets first vet visit, you will probably remember the importance your vet had put on regular nail trims and how getting your pet used to regular touching of the feet will benefit you greatly in the future. This message is typically reiterated every visit there on to ensure you take responsibility for your pets nail health and comfort.

If you have ever had an ingrown, overgrown, or torn nail, I’m sure you can sympathize with your furry friend’s pain. As many humans would agree, having your feet touched can be an odd, even uncomfortable experience. We want to help eliminate this negative feeling altogether and get your pet comfortable with nail trims from day one. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get you and your pet used to nail trims in the comfort of your home, and if all fails at home, we invite you to schedule regular nail trims with an experienced technician at your local vet.

Torn nails are painful and easily infected; they can require regular soaking, antibiotics, or even surgical removal. If your pet’s nails are too long, they are unable to walk correctly; this can put a strain on leg muscles, joints, and spine. Overgrown nails grow around and into the bottom of the foot, and the dewclaw nail can grow into the leg. These ingrown nails are often infected, painful, and can make even the nicest of dogs aggravated and mean. Nails are extremely important as they provide traction while walking, running, and playing; without this traction, your pet has an increased chance of slipping and falling, causing serious pain and injury.

Some pets nails seem to grow especially fast; this is not actually the case, often nails grow at a fairly consistent rate; however pets that do not get regular exercise by walking or running do not have the natural benefit of nail wear. We often see this in senior pets, arthritic pets, and pets with busy owners who are unable to give them adequate exercise.  Also, nail wear and the rate of regular trims will depend greatly on how much your pet walks or plays on concrete, asphalt, or grass.

The quick is the bane of a nail trimmer’s existence and is responsible for most of the negative experience we face during nail trims. The quick is the soft, fleshy section inside the nail; it contains sensitive nerves and blood vessels that, when cut or “quicked”, causes pain and bleeding. We need to remember a few simple tricks to help us avoid the quick and ensure a happy, effective nail trim.

  1. Purchase high quality, sharp nail clippers; go to your local pet store and ask which ones they recommend.
  2. Give lots of treats; food incentives are the easiest way to get your pet to sit still, also rewarding this good behaviour will keep them motivated to sit for all four feet.
  3. Go slow; clip a small portion of the nail at a time until you get close to the soft, dark area, or quick, and stop.
  4. If you do “quick” your pets nail; stop the bleeding by pressing and holding the nail in flour or cornstarch. If it doesn’t stop bleeding, contact you vet immediately.

Let’s ensure Buster’s pedicure is always maintained! Contact your local vet if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to schedule a nail trim.

Written by Breah Russell, CCR