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3 Health Benefits of Keeping Dog Nails Short – Based on Science

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Clipping dog nails

We’ve all seen those dogs with the long nails, and there’s probably a good chance you heard them before you actually saw them.

Hearing a dog’s nails go clickety-clack all over the floor is a dead giveaway that their nails need to be clipped.

But did you know that trimming their nails just isn’t for looks? There are actually some really great benefits for keeping their nails short for both you and your dog. In this article, we’ll go over why it’s best to keep your pooch’s nails trimmed and what are the best tools in order to do so.

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Health Benefits of Keeping Dog Nails Short

1. Pain-Free Walking

The clicking sound you hear from a dog whose nails are too long is more than just a simple sign. It’s an indication that your dog is experiencing discomfort. When a dog’s nails are so long that they bounce off the floor, they’re actually pushing back into the nail bed.

This may cause some slight discomfort or pressure at first, but this can rapidly turn into a very painful situation. The pressure can cause your dog’s toes to splay out while walking. Also, if you let their nails go too long without trimming, the nails can curl and grow into their footbed.

Keeping your pup’s nails short will help to alleviate this issue and keep your dog from experiencing undue nail and foot pain.

walking dog
Image By: Helena Lopes, Pexels

2. Less Chance of Breaking and Damaging the Quick

Controlled trimming of your dog’s nails is highly recommended. But uncontrolled breakages can be a very painful and messy event. And that’s because breakages are more likely to cause damage to the nail’s quick.

The quick commonly refers to the nerve and blood vessel that runs through the nail. When clipped, it can be a very painful and even bloody experience. And on top of that, a dog’s quick will actually keep growing. This means that the longer their nails are, the longer the quick is, and the more likely for damage to occur during breakage or controlled trimming.

This is why it’s exceedingly important to maintain your dog’s nails at a short manageable level at all times.

3. Promotes Proper Posture and Stance

When we have foot pain or injury, we can be seen limping around in poor postures. And while your dog may be your superhero, they’re still susceptible to this condition, just the same.

The abnormal shifting and limping will put undue stress on your pup’s hips, knees, and elbows causing joint pain. However, with properly trimmed nails, you won’t have to worry about your pup experiencing pain or joint conditions.

Dalmatian standing
Image Credit: skeeze , Pixabay

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How to Keep Dogs Nails Short?

Fortunately, there are a few different options available for cutting your dog’s nails. Now, keep in mind, your dog may not enjoy having their nails trimmed. In fact, they may resist you at every turn.

If such is the case, the best solution is to let the pros handle it. Your veterinarian or groomer will be more than happy to get your pup’s nails clipped and filed.

But with frequent practice, both you and your dog will more than likely grow accustomed to the process making for a simple addition to your standard grooming routine.

Guillotine Nail Trimmers

Dogs’ nails come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. And that’s why it’s important to use the right tool for the job. For smaller dogs with thinner nails, we recommend a guillotine-style clipper.

These clippers are designed with a single cutting blade that clips your dog’s nail against a stationary ring. The stationary ring is often curved to accommodate the natural curve of the top of your dog’s nail.

These are also much easier to operate as you don’t have to necessarily squeeze blades together to cut the nail. This fact makes guillotine cutters much easier on dog owners with arthritic complications.  .

Scissor-Style Nail Trimmers

Now, for thicker nails and bigger dogs, we absolutely recommend the scissor-type clipper. Instead of a single blade cutting against a stationary ring, these clippers have sharp curved blades on either side of the nail.

This makes for a much cleaner and easier cut for thicker nails. However, you’ll have to be sure to apply good steady pressure in order to properly use these, making them more difficult with elderly or arthritic owners.

dogs getting nails trimmed
Image Credit: Duet PandG, Shutetrstock

Nail Grinders

One of the coolest ways to keep your dog’s nails short is by using a nail grinder. These are rotary grinders that essentially file the nail without any cutting or clipping action.

There are several advantages to using a grinder such as minimizing quick damage, getting nice, smooth tips, and it’s virtually painless! However, your dog may take a much longer time to warm up to the vibration that’ll be pulsating around their feet.

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Disadvantages to Cutting Your Dog’s Nails at Home

Cutting your dog’s nails at home seems like a task that every dog owner should know how to do. However, it can be trickier than you think, especially if your pooch has dark-colored nails.

With dogs that have light-colored nails, it’s pretty easy to see where the quick is. And lighter nails tend to clip much easier. But with dark-colored nails, it can be pretty easy to nick the quick when clipping. This problem is then compounded with dogs whose claws have grown much longer than normal.

It may just be much easier to have your vet or groomer take care of it. They are pros and know exactly what they’re doing, ensuring that both you and Fido have an easy experience.

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Conclusion: Short Dog Nails

Keeping your dog’s nails trim isn’t just an aesthetic choice. It’s a health and safety concern. However, it’s not exceedingly difficult to do at home with the right tools.

But if you’re still having qualms about doing it yourself, be sure to ask your groomer or vet! It’s a quick and easy process that’ll ensure your dog’s happiness and comfort.

Featured Image: padu_foto, Shutterstock

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