Saturday, January 21, 2017

Do you need to trim your dog's nails? Probably.

I took Leopold to a low-cost vaccine clinic last month to get him updated on his rabies vaccine.  While I was waiting (and I had to wait a while...), I enjoyed some small talk with other fellow dog-owners who were also waiting around with their pups.
One lady had a pair of adorable shitzu puppies: one was taking a pup-nap (I'd say cat-nap, but that just seems wrong) in it's little stroller, and the other was snuggling with it's owner.
Apparently the snuggling pup had long nails, because the owner complained more than once about how sharp they were.  She said she wasn't sure if she should cut them, and that her veterinarian told her the nails would wear themselves to a short length just by the pup running around outside.

I wanted to laugh at the veterinarian's advice.  But I didn't.
So I'll laugh now.  AHAHAHAHAHA!

Woooo...! It feels good to laugh.

Halo enjoying a mid-afternoon nap.  Or was this her morning
nap...? Maybe her late afternoon nap?? I can't remember!
In my experience, most dogs need to get their nails trimmed by their owner (or a professional if the owner can't do it).  It's true that some dogs run around enough outside for their nails to self-maintain at the proper length, but it's rare.   In the four years I worked at an emergency veterinary clinic, dogs that came in with naturally trim nails were the exception, not the rule.  The truth of the matter is that a lot of dogs spend a good chunk of the day napping or just lazing about. According to an article on, the average dog spends about 50% of the day sleeping and another 30% lying around awake.

Sounds about right for my pups!  I let Leopold hang out in our back yard as often as he "asks" (so long as it's not too hot outside) and he'll wander around and sniff things, but mostly he's incredibly content to just lay in the sun and sniff at the wind or take a nap.  He likes to run and play, too, and we make sure he gets exercise every day, but the majority of his day is spent deciphering smells on the breeze, woofing at passing cars, and catching Zs.  Halo prefers to be where the humans are, so she ends up spending her time inside a lot.  But she, too, naps a lot.  There's stuff for her to do and she'll chew on a bone or toss around a toy if she feels like it, but again, she doesn't run around enough for her nails to self-maintain to a proper, short length.  

Leopold's nails could use a trim.  Ideally,
I would trim his nails regularly enough that
they don't touch the ground at all.  His nails
are a little long here!

Of course, the best way to know if your dog's nails need a trim is to look at them.  Do they touch the floor when they walk?  If yes, then they're probably too long and need a trim.  Do they cause your dog's toes to push out in funny angles?  If yes, then you definitely need to trim those nails and stat!  If you don't, your dog's nails could grow into their paw pad, which is very painful and could potentially result in an infection.

Having trouble trimming your dog's nails because your dog won't let you?  Check out this post for some tips on trimming your dog's nails.

Leopold partaking in his favorite activity: sun-bathing while sniffing the wind.

No comments:

Post a Comment