Is it safe to clip your pet’s toe nails?

Many clients are scared to clip their pet’s toe nails. I don’t blame them because if the nails are clipped too short you can cause your pet a lot of pain. Clipping them too short can also cause a lot of bleeding. If your pet has pigmented (black) nails, it will be difficult to know where the quick is located. The quick is the portion underneath the nail that bleeds and has sensation. With pigmented nails you have to be extremely careful not to clip the nails too short. Some people feel comfortable clipping their pet’s nails and do it well. Just be sure to learn how to clip the nails properly by visiting your veterinarian. Also be sure to have styptic powder available in case you do clip the nails too short. If you are not experienced and/or prepared you may end up rushing your pet to the veterinarian.

Something that you would never have to worry about doing wrong is filing your pet’s nails. In fact, you will probably have to do this anyway after clipping the nails since the nails always still feel sharp after they have been clipped. Filing will get your pet used to having their paws held and touched, will help soften the nail tips, and will also even help to push the quick back. You may not even need to file the nails if your pet walks on concrete regularly. The concrete works similar to a nail file if you take your dog out on long walks.

If your pet’s nails are not being maintained they can get very long. When the nails are long, it can increase the chance for them to crack at the nail bed and have to be surgically removed. The nails also can grow so long that they curl and grow into your pet’s paw pads. Both of these situations occur very often and are very painful for your pet.

Of most importance is that someone is checking your pet’s nails on a monthly basis to ensure that they are not starting to overgrow. If you are uncertain of what to do, you should never clip the nails; Filing would be the way to go. If you have learned from your veterinarian what to do, then clipping your pet’s toe nails should be safe.

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