Regular nail clipping, or trimming, should be part of the routine care of your pet. It is essential for elderly and indoor pets, whereas outdoor pets may wear their nails down naturally.
The requirement for nail trimming can vary depending on breed, age, level of exercise and the environment in which your pet is kept.
What you need to know about your dog's nails
Working and herding dog breeds
Working or hearding dogs are usually active and generally have compact feet with well arched toes that angle the toenails downwards towards the ground.
- If active on hard surfaces such as gravel, rock and concrete, their nails may not need trimming.
- With age they slow down and exercise less and may require more regular trimming.
- You will still need to attend to their dew claws (the little claws on the inside of their front legs that don’t touch the ground) regularly.
Other dog breeds
Inspect your dog's nails on a regular basis. (You may notice a change in the sound of your dog's nails on hard floors. This is a pretty good indication that it is time for a trim.)
What you need to know about your cat's nails
Cats also require nail clipping, with the frequency depending on their lifestyle. Indoor-only cats will need more regular nail trims whereas outdoor cats may naturally wear their nails and require less frequent trimming.
What happens if my pet’s nails get too long?
If a pet's nails are allowed to grow they can become a problem:
- Nails can split, break or bleed, causing soreness or infection in your pet’s feet and toes.
- Long nails can get caught and tear.
- Nails can grow so long that they can curl backwards into a spiral shape that can make walking very painful for dogs (it's like walking in shoes that are too small).
- Uncut cat's nails may curl so far that they pierce the paw pad, leading to infection and debilitating pain.
- The nail quick tends to grow out with the nail, making it nearly impossible to cut properly.
What to do when trimming your pet's nails
Nails should be inspected and/or trimmed on at least a monthly basis. It is very important not to cut the quick of a nail as this is rich in nerve endings and very painful for the pet. If you do accidentally cut into the quick, pressing the nail into a bar of soap will effectively stop the bleeding.
Make an appointment today at Sydney Animal Hospitals to have your pet’s nails checked. We can teach you how to do it if you would prefer to cut them yourself.