Taking Care of your Dog’s Nails and Paws

a satisfied dog holds a nail clipper, a dog and a nail clipper

Taking Care of your Dog’s Nails and Paws

Practising proper nail and paw care is important to ensure your dog does not suffer from any injuries and can go about his daily activities. Nails that have overgrown or paw pads that are dry and cracked can seriously irritate your dog, and make walking more painful. If you notice your dog is always licking or chewing his paws, it could be a sign that something isn’t right.

In this blog, I will talk about some common health problems dogs may experience with their nails and paws and caring for your dog’s nails and paws at home.

Michelle Walsh, Professional Dog Groomer

Michelle Walsh, Professional Dog Groomer

Michelle Walsh is a Professional Dog Groomer with over 10 years experience caring for puppies and dogs at Petmania Grooming Studios. She is also a Grooming Trainer for the Petmania Grooming Academy. Michelle is the human companion to Luna and is based a Petmania Grooming Studio in Santry.

Nail & Paw Problems To Be Aware Of

Overgrown nails can cause a healthy paw to turn into a splayed foot and reduce traction. They can lead to deformed feet and, over an extended period, injure the tendons. As your dog’s long nails come into contact with the ground, the pressure puts force on the foot and leg structure.

Some signs your dog may be suffering from a nail disorder are…

  • Broken nails
  • Licking at nails and paws
  • Biting nails
  • Discharge around nail
  • Swelling/redness of paws or tissues around the nails
  • Difficulty walking
  • Nail splitting
  • Ingrown nails
  • Change in colour of nails

If you notice any of these signs, I recommend contacting your local vet as multiple symptoms can display at once. They will be able to assist in a diagnosis and relevant treatment plan.

Puppy husky licking paw closeup

What Can Cause Nail and Paw Problems?

  • Bacterial/fungal infection
  • Allergies/sensitivities to food
  • Trauma
  • Tumours/cancer
  • Cutting nails too close to the nail bed
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Neoplasia (the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells or tissues in the body)

Caring for your Dog’s Nails

There are many ways to care for your dog’s nails and paws and ensure it does not get to the stage where your dog finds it painful to walk.

  1. Regularly inspect your dog’s nails. Here at Petmania Grooming Studios, we inspect every dog’s nails that come into us, but it is important for you to keep an eye on them too to make sure your dog is comfortable in between grooming sessions.
  2. Use paw balm during hot and cold weather to protect those delicate paws from the elements, such as HOWND Hemp by Hownd Skin, Nose and Paw Balm with Sun Protection, which protects, soothes and moisturises all year round. The balms can be used in the summer months to protect the snout and outer ear areas from UVA and UVB rays, as well as any exposed skin; and in the winter period to protect a dog’s soft paws on ice and salted pavements
  3. Clean your dog’s nails and paws often. Wipe or wash your dog’s paws when they come in from outside, and make sure no dirt, grass, snow or any other debris is stuck between the nail beds.
  4. Know when it’s time to trim; if you can hear the click-clacking of your dog’s nails on the floor, it may be time to trim.
SAFARI Nail Trimmer for Small Dogs
Safari Nail Trimmer For Small Dogs

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

It is important your dog is used to having his paws touched, as this will help them get accustomed to the sensation of nail trimming. Play with his feet or give him a nice, relaxing massage; it’s a good idea to try and make the experience fun so it will be easier for you to cut his nails. Let him sniff or inspect the nail clippers and give lots of praise and treats during the nail trimming process.

What You’ll Need:

  • Nail Clippers

Make sure they are suitable to the size of your dog;

Step by Step Guide:

  1. Make sure your dog is in a comfortable position during nail trimming. Hold him firmly, but gently.
  2. Be extremely careful when deciding where to cut, as dog nails are supplied with blood. It can be very painful for your dog if you clip in the wrong spot. Clip just the tips to avoid an accident. It can be less tricky to find the correct clipping range for dogs with clear or light coloured nails, while it can be more difficult with dark nails. Always cut parallel to the bottom.
  3. Trim the nails slowly and gradually, taking small steps at a time. Keep a plentiful supply of his favourite treats and give him lots of praise; this will make the experience less scary and more fun for him.
  4. File the nails afterwards with the SAFARI Nail File-A few strokes on each side of the nail will remove burs and leave your pet’s nails smooth and healthy.
  5. Soften the skin around the nails with some paw balm.

Any more questions?

Whether you’re a new puppy parent or want to know how to take care of your adult dog, one of our Pet Care Advisors or Professional Groomers will be more than happy to assist you. Just contact your local store to find out more.

Cutting Dogs Claws. Clipping a dogs long nails

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