How Long Toe Nails Affect Your Dog

Most dogs dislike nail trimming. Others simply put up with it, while some can’t stand it. Some dogs sleep through the procedure without a care, while others need tranquillizers to make it through the process without biting. Regardless of your dog’s own take is on nail clipping, it’s one thing you need to do for your dogs to avoid damaging their skeletal structure.

Having long nails alters the way a dog carries themselves. Dog claws are not weapons, unlike cats, but are used to grip the ground when speeding up and turning corners. A dog’s nails are important parts of their anatomy. Outdoor dogs run around enough over different surfaces and wear their own nails down. But our house-bound companions don’t get that natural wear from carpet, hardwood, or vinyl flooring.

How Long Toe Nails Affect Your Dog 1

The diagram shows how a long nail makes the bones in the foot flatten. The metacarpal, phalanx I and phalanx II bones become more angled each time time the dog walks or stands. The different angle of the bones when pressure is applied causes joint stress and can cause joint pain and arthritis. It also leads to dropped wrists that make the dog look flat footed.

Changing the normal alignment increases the probability of broken legs and makes the dog less stable on his feet. The dog can’t catch himself from falling or landing if his joints are not in place.

The image reveals how the bones of the paw and wrist angle back when a dog has long nails, yet the damage doesn’t end there. Each bone in a dog’s body is connected to another and the leg bones connect all the way up to the spine. Unfortunately, our dogs can’t tell us when they have a headache or shoulder ache and many times we miss the slight signals that they are in pain. It’s up to us to make sure this dog maintenance is performed before the pain sets in because dogs can’t trim their own nails.

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Where to cut a dog’s toe nail

How Long Toe Nails Affect Your Dog 2Some dogs need their nails cut every 2-3 weeks, if not more often. Walking can help wear down the nails and reduce the frequency of trimmings. The blue line in the diagram shows where to trim the nail. The nail comes straight out, and at the point where it begins to bend downward, you need to cut at a 45 degree angle. It’s always a good idea to have a blood stopping product on hand if you hit the quick.

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