Posted 19th Jul 2016 by Peter Byrne
Cutting your dog's claws is not an attractive prospect for many owners. Not only a highly stressful experience, for both you and your dog, there is also the ever present danger of clipping too close to the quick and drawing blood.
Clipping is not even necessary for some dogs - if they're active enough they will probably wear their nails down naturally, from walking on hard surfaces. However, it is not always practical for owners to get their pet out often enough to wear their nails down. This can result in excessively long toenails, which can cause your dog some serious problems.
Not only can they lead to some incredibly painful paws - walking on hard floors can push the protracted nail back into the nail bed - but this can also put heavy pressure on the toe joints, forcing them to twist to the side. In severe cases, it can result in arthritic joints - if it reaches this stage, you should be able to tell, as your dog will likely fuss when you touch his paws.
However, there is another, more serious consequence. As a result of evolution, a dog associates toenail contact with hill climbing, meaning that he will shift his posture accordingly. For instance he will lean forward on his forelimbs, but in the absence of an actual hill, his hind limbs will have to compensate to avoid face planting. This position can over-use muscles and joints, which in the long-term could make it harder for the dog to jump in cars, climb stairs and in severe cases, even hard to lie down.
Now that you know the whys, be sure to check back later in the week for tips and tricks to make your clipping an easy experience!
Image courtesy of Getty / E+ / sidneybernstein