As every owner will attest, dog nail trimming is just part of ownership and something we all must do from time to time. In terms of good hygiene, nail trims are essential to promote good health for your dog. Nail trims are often included with professional bath packages or as an add-on service.
In our pet care center, a dog bath, nail trim, and ear cleaning is the standard bath; we do the same service for cats. However, pet owners may not be aware of a choice in how the nails are trimmed: clippers or Dremel. Here are four common questions customers have about dog nail trims.
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Is it necessary to trim dog nails?
Trimming your dog’s nails can help to prevent injuries and infections. Long nails can easily be snagged by carpets and other materials, and even be town off when playing, digging, running, etc… you know, the everyday activities of a dog. Long nails can be a health risk and lead to more serious problems for your dog. Long nails can become brittle, which are more likely to break or tear causing a lot of pain for your dog, and often a hefty vet bill. Regardless of possible injuries, long nails can be painful, lead to more serious health problems, and limit your dog’s physical activity. In short, dog nail trimming should be part of every owner’s routine.
How often should you trim your dog’s nails?
If you hear your dog’s nails on the kitchen floor, a nail trim may already be overdue. a dog’s nails should be just above the ground, so when you hear the clicking noise, it is time to book a dog groom, or at least a nail trim. As nail trims are often part of a bath service, owners may wait until the next bath. Intervals between baths maybe 1 to 3 months, whereas dog nail trims may be needed much more often depending on activity levels and environmental factors.
According to the American Kennel Club, a dog’s nails should be checked and trimmed as needed every 1-2 weeks. Dogs who are active, who may walk on the blacktop of concrete often (as well as rock or other hard surfaces) will need nail trims less often, as nails will be naturally worn away as they walk.
But how long between cuts?
The time varies greatly, but monthly trims are common for many dog owners. Ironically, some owners avoid regular nail trims because the dog may not like them. Owners also avoid regular trims because of a lack of skill or fear of hurting their dog. Getting a dog used to nail trims and other grooming procedures is essential and will help to facilitate the routine care that your dog needs. If you have a young pet, or perhaps one that is not comfortable with procedures, start with small things daily or speak with your groomer about a plan to help your dog become used to grooming procedures.
Does Trimming a Dog’s Nails Hurt?
Unlike our nails, dogs have a sensitive part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. This portion of the nail is called the Quick and can be painful to the dog if cut during a nail trim. In the image to the left, you can see a pink portion on the white nail. This is easy to see on white nails but can be difficult at best with darker nails.
Nail trims performed by a professional groomer will most often result in cutting the nail just below the quick and will be pain-free for the dog. However, it is important to note that even a professional groomer can only go so far, as they have to avoid the sensitive area.
Frequent Nail Trims Are The Key
As nails are trimmed, the quick will recede and thus allow for shorter nail trims. The key is to get frequent nail trims to ensure that the nails are short, and there is no chance of causing pain from breaching the sensitive portion of the dog’s nails.
To address the question, it can be painful for your dog to have nails trimmed if not done properly or if the nails are allowed to grow too long. Conversely, if a dog’s nails are cut regularly by a professional, there is little (if any) risk of injury to the dog. Professional groomers can also trim nails as short as possible and provide some insights on how frequent you may need to visit to maintain a healthy nail length.
What is a Dremel Nail Trim?
A Dremel is a handheld rotary tool that allows a groomer to essentially file or grind down the do’s nails. Using a Dremel is often the preferred method for groomers, as the tool will help to not only get a closer cut but also a smoother finish and much less risk of cutting into the sensitive Quick of the dog’s nails.
The Dremel is a great solution for thick nails, and will often lead to short nail trims and longer periods between nail cuts. However, the tool does make sure noise, which may be a challenge for some dogs to tolerate; meaning the clippers may have to be used with dogs who may be more anxious about grooming or sensitive to the noise of the tool.
The image on the above left is nails that need to be trimmed. They are long and are clearly hitting the floor as the dog walks. You may note that this dog has both light and dark nails, which is somewhat common in many breeds. While nails are a bit easier, the quick can sometimes be seen inside the nail.
The image on the above right shows both a standard nail trim (right paw), as well as a Dremel nail trim (left paw). The nature of the Dremel tool allows a groomer to cut much closer to the quick, with less risk of injury. Dog nail trimming with a Dremel tool also allows a groomer to create a smoother finish on the nails, as well as shorter. By maintaining shorter nails, the quick will recede within the nail over time, which will in turn help to facilitate short nails without pain or injury to your pet. Talk with your groomer about a Dremel tool for nail trims and you will see a big difference.
While some dogs may not need much in terms of grooming, every dog will need nail trims. If you hear clicking when your dog walks across the kitchen floor, give us a call and we can help with a quick. While nail trims are not difficult, they can sometimes be tricky if not done correctly.
Make nail trims part of your regular routine for your dog; they will be happy you did too. You can book a nail trim on our reservation portal by clicking here, or just give us a call to set up a quick nail trim for your dog while you wait.