While dogs have the advantage of trimming their nails naturally by walking or running, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need nail care from their owners.
Failing to provide proper nail care to your dog can expose them to the risk of excessive pain and medical issues.
Do Dogs Trim Their Own Nails?
Dogs trim their nails while they’re grooming, walking, or running. But that doesn’t mean that their nails are taken care of. In this article, I will explain how you can make sure that your dog’s nails are properly taken care of and how you can avoid them from getting an infection.
Does Walking Your Dog Trim Their Nails?
Yes! Walking your dog does trim their nails! But not to the extent where you can ignore their nails altogether.
For your dog’s nails to trim themselves, they have to constantly walk and run on a hard surface.
Most dogs are kept inside for the most part now, and usually only have the opportunity to walk/run on grass. This means that you still need to be attentive to clipping your dog’s nails.
Why Do Dogs Eat Their Nail Clippings?
Dog’s eat their nail clippings for a multitude of reasons!
- Dogs like the smell of their own nail clippings. – Weird, but dogs are known for liking weird smells.
- Dogs can’t distinguish between edible food and inedible food. – If it drops to the ground, more than likely your dog is going to at least investigate whether or not they can attempt to eat it.
- Your dog is sick. – When dogs are sick, they will start searching for food that contains a nutritional value. Once again, it’s hard for them to distinguish between what is and what is not food. So they will go after almost anything.
Do Dogs Bite Their Own Nails?
Dogs bite their own nails during the time they are grooming their paws. Word of caution though – if your dog is starting to obsess over their nails, then you need to ask yourself these three questions;
- Is my dog anxious about something? – A lot of the time, dogs may become anxious if you’ve recently moved, or added a new addition to the household.
- Is your dog having an allergic reaction? – If you think that this is the case, I would check the ingredients in the food you’re feeding them and take them to the vet.
- Are your dog’s nails too long? – If your dog’s nails don’t naturally trim themselves even a little bit, or if you haven’t thought about clipping their nails, chances are it might be time to have them clipped.
Is It Ok To Let Dogs Chew Their Nails?
While it is not “not ok” to let your dog chew their own nails, there is enough risk that comes with it that may persuade you to avoid it happening as much as possible.
Your dog’s nails are not digestible and can be dangerously sharp. If they get caught in your dog’s mouth, throat, or stomach – your dog could suffer from the risk of infection or other major health issues.
Why Does My Dog Keep Pulling Its Nails Out?
Similar to the reasons that dogs bite their own nails, dogs will try to pull their nails out for a multitude of reasons.
Most of these reasons are an extension of what could happen when you don’t find the reason why your dog was just biting their nails.
- Your dog has a broken nail.
- Your dog has excessive pain in its paw.
- Your dog has a nailbed infection.
- Your dog has a flea, mite, tick, or lice infestation.
- Your dog is developing a medical issue such as diabetes, or hypothyroid.
- Your dog has gotten something stuck in between their nails.
Can A Dog File Their Own Nails?
Theoretically yes, your dog could file their own nails, but you would need an accessible emery board for your dog to use.
If you wanted to train your dog to file its own nails, you could purchase an emery board that you could lay on the floor. This way you could use treats to train your dog to scratch the emery board to file their own nails.
What Happens If You Don’t Clip Your Dog’s Nails?
If you don’t clip your dog’s nails, you will run into a multitude of problems;
- Nailbed Infection
- Hangnail/Broken Nail
- Excessive Pain in Your Dog’s Paw
If you let your dog’s nails grow out to the point where they’re too long, your dog has a higher risk of getting a hangnail or even a completely broken one. This could lead to your dog getting a nailbed infection.
Regardless of whether or not any nails hang or break, having your dog’s nails too long will cause them excessive pain in their paws. This could make it difficult for them to enjoy their everyday life.
Is It Better To Cut Or File Dog Nails?
Whether it’s better to cut or file your dog’s nails depends on a lot of factors;
- How long do you normally let your dog’s nails get before you trim or file them?
- Is your dog indoor, outdoor, or both?
- How often does your dog walk or run on hard surfaces (concrete, rocky territory)?
- How often do you trim or file your dog’s nails (if you don’t trim/file by length)?
If you’re very consistent about taking care of your dog’s nails and their nails are never very long, filing them might be the better option of taking care of their nails.
If you’re not very consistent about taking care of your dog’s nails and find that their nails are sometimes very long, cutting would be the better option for you and your dog.
If your dog already has very long nails, filing them would take a great amount of time. Time that most dog owners don’t have. Cutting is the quicker and more efficient option in this case.
How Often Should You Cut A Dogs Nails?
The average dog needs its nails trimmed every three to four weeks.
While this is the average and recommended, it really depends on how fast your dog’s nails grow and how fast they get worn down.
If you have a more active dog or a dog that is outside more, you will probably have to trim or file their nails more often.
On the flip side, if you have a dog that stays indoors and doesn’t move around a lot, you probably won’t have to worry about trimming or filing its nails as much.
Can I Use An Emery Board On My Dog Nails?
Yes! You can definitely use an emery board on your dog’s nails!
You can get an emery board, similar to what humans use on their nails, and use it to file your dog’s nails for them.
Or, you can buy an emery board that is easily accessible for your dog and train them to scratch the board to file their own nails.
Why Do Dogs Hate Nail Trims?
Most dogs hate nail trims because of the pain that it can involve.
A lot of dogs have been in a situation where someone may have cut the nail too close to their paw. Because of this, the dog is usually instilled with the fear of having their nails trimmed again.
You may also have the case where your dog is a short-legged breed. With these dogs, their initial fear and pain probably came from them having to extend their legs at a weird and uncomfortable angle.
Either way, no matter what type of breed your dog is, when it comes to nail trims – their hate stems from pain.
Does Cutting A Dog’s Nails Hurt?
When done right, cutting a dog’s nails will not hurt them at all. To make sure that you are not causing your dog any pain, make sure you take the following precautions;
- Make sure you are cutting a good distance away from their paw. Cutting too close to the paw will cause your dog immense pain, and make them afraid to have their nails cut ever again.
- Make sure that you don’t let their nails get too long. When they are too long, this will make it painful to trim.
- Make sure that your dog never feels afraid or trapped when they’re getting their nails trimmed. This can trigger their fight or flight response, and therefore might cause them to have fear of getting their nails trimmed in the future.
How Do I Know If My Dog Needs His Nails Clipped?
You can tell if your dog needs his nails clipped just by looking at its paws. If its nails are protruding from the paw, then it’s time to clip them.
If you live in a home that has hardwood or tile flooring, you can also listen to the sound of your dog’s nails on the floor. This is another indicator that it is possibly time to trim your dog’s nails.
Do Dogs Naturally Trim Their Nails?
Yes! Dogs do trim their nails naturally. Not to the extent to where you can let their nail care go, but depending on different factors, this can help you not have to trim or file their nails as often.
For example, if you have a dog who spends a lot of time outdoors and is very active – there’s a higher chance of them being able to naturally trim its nails. Especially if they spend a lot of time on hard surfaces like concrete or rocky terrain.
On the other hand, if your dog spends most or all of its time indoors – there is a lower chance of them being able to naturally trim its nails. This is because they don’t have the hard and rough surfaces to scratch their nails on as they walk or run.
Is Nail Trimming Painful For Dogs?
No! Nail trimming is not painful for dogs as long as you’re doing it safely.
The only time that trimming or cutting a dog’s nails becomes painful for them, is when they already have an infection or an overly long nail that you have to trim down.
This is why it is so important to make sure that you are consistently taking care of your dog’s nails.
When you neglect your dog’s nails, taking care of them will become twice as hard due to the pain and fear that it will cause your dog.
Do Outside Dogs Need Their Nails Trimmed?
Yes! Even though outside dogs’ nails tend to be in better shape than indoor dogs’ nails, you still need to trim your outdoor dog’s nails.
Outdoor dogs have the advantage of having a higher chance of being able to trim their nails naturally through walking or running on hard surfaces such as concrete or rocky terrain.
But this doesn’t mean that their nails don’t need human care.
Do You Ever Have To Trim Your Outdoor Dog’s Nails?
Yes! You still have to trim your outdoor dog’s nails.
Because your outdoor dog’s nails have contact with concrete and rocky terrain, you probably won’t have to trim your outdoor dog’s nails very often.
You still need to trim them though.
Keep an eye on your outdoor dog’s nails, and check to see if they need to be trimmed every four weeks. This way you can make sure your dog is not in danger of experiencing pain or medical issues with their nails.
Should I Cut My Dog’s Nails Myself?
You should only cut your dog’s nails yourself if you feel comfortable and if you have the correct tools to do so.
If for any reason you don’t feel comfortable cutting your dog’s nails, call a groomer.
This is for your dog’s and your safety. An accident with nail clipping can lead to a massive fear with nail care in your dog, which will prevent anyone from being able to easily clip your dog’s nails.
How To Cut An Uncooperative Dogs Nails?
More than likely, if your dog is uncooperative, it’s because it had a bad experience with nail clipping.
Make sure that before you start cutting, you familiarize your dog with the process. Make sure that your dog feels safe, and help them to associate the process with things that make them happy.
This will help them to feel calm.
To make sure that calming feeling stays throughout the process, try taking breaks during the nail trimming. This can help to make sure that your dog doesn’t feel so overwhelmed by what’s going on.
How Much Does It Cost To Sedate A Dog For Nail Trimming (Is It Safe)?
If you take your dog to the vet or the groomers to get their nails trimmed, the cost of sedation may either be included in the price, or it may cost extra. Depending on where you go, this can cost anywhere from $7-$20.
If you’re sedating your dog by yourself, depending on what sedation and brand you’re using, the cost of sedation may vary.
Sedating your dog is a safe procedure as long as it is done by a professional.
When sedating your dog by yourself, it’s hard to know the correct dosage. If you end up overdosing your dog with the medication, it can lead to dangerous side effects.
My Dog Won’t Let Me Cut His Nails What Can I Do?
If your dog isn’t letting you cut its nails, you can try one of two things;
- Try getting your dog to associate nail cutting with something that is a positive connotation for them – a favorite toy or treat. Your dog may be more willing to let you cut its nails if it feels safe and not in danger or trapped. By associating nail clipping with their favorite treat or toy, they may be less reluctant in letting you clip their nails.
- Take them to the vet or the groomers.If your dog is really being uncooperative, take them to the vet or the groomers to let the professionals take care of them. This way, if the vet or groomer decides your pet needs sedation, they will be able to sedate your dog safely.
How Long Should Dog Nails Be?
There is no specific length when looking at how long your dog’s nails should be because it is specific to each individual dog.
A good way to think about it though is that your dog’s nails should never be long enough to where they are protruding out of their paw.
If you can clearly see their nails sticking out of their paw, it’s time to cut them!
How To Deal With Extremely Overgrown Dog Nails (Rescued/Inherited Dog)?
If your dog has extremely overgrown dog nails, take them to a vet or a groomer.
Overgrown nails cause dogs to have pain in their paws, and will make cutting their nails a painful experience for them, so make sure that they are with a professional who can sedate them safely if they need to.