An Important Request


One of my idiosyncrasies is a loathing of long nails, especially in dogs. It is a common misconception that today’s dogs, in the main, are walking enough to keep a reasonable length.

The photos show nails (more correctly called claws but let's not split hairs) that are not trimmed back far enough to prevent the nail hitting the floor first. This causes the nail to be pushed into the sensitive nail bed; over time, a chronic cycle of discomfort and paw handling avoidance sets in.

An overlong quick can also be seen due to the lack of maintenance.

Although most dogs rarely complain and continue to walk apparently normally, there is research to suggest that the pressure of overlong nails in constant contact with the ground causes a twisting of the nail bed. There doesn’t need to be much rotation (especially in smaller dogs where microns are involved)to cause a counterbalance effect on the paw. Dogs will unconsciously shift their weight backwards onto the ‘heel’. This in turn can cause chronic changes in the delicate bone structures, leading to mobility or pain-induced behavioural issues or depression.

A good rule of thumb is to accustom your dog to have one paw a week lifted, inspected for imbedded grass seeds, hyperkeratosis etc and the nails clipped, including the dew claw if present (some dogs don't have dew claws) thereby giving all round maintenance every 4-5 weeks. Your dog will thank you for it.


References include The Kennel Club; Wood Green; The Dogs' Trust...


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