Nail Care

"Did you even cut his nails? OMG they are sooo long"

 

Occasionally we hear this from clients... And yes, we most likely did cut his nails. (unless of course we couldn't) And typically we will file them too, if your dog allows us to do it... But If he doesn't,  freshly cut nails can be sharp! 

When you walk your dog on the street or sidewalk,  the cement or asphalt acts like a natural nail file...keeping their nails trimmed to a healthy length. It will also keep them filed so they are smooth and not sharp. 

 

If your dog doesn't go outside to go potty or if he isn't walked regularly, the nails will be allowed to grow much longer. 

 

The more time that passes without getting the nails trimmed, the longer the "quick" or "kwik" (aka vein) inside the nail will grow.

If you clip too much off the nail and hit the quick, it will bleed. (Sometimes alot! - depending on how high up it was cut.)

It also can hurt. (have you ever cut your own nail too short?)

 

And It only takes one bad experience with a nail trim for a dog to be traumatized. 

Allowing the nails to grow too long can cause all sorts of health problems. Sometimes they get so long they start to curl inward and can cut into the pad of the paw which can lead to an infection. Excessively long nails can also affect how your dog walks and even affect his posture.

Not to mention they can also get caught on the carpet or other things and get ripped out. 

The ideal length for a nail is to be flush with the pad of the foot. Anything hanging over is too long. 

Depending on the length of the nail and the quick inside, sometimes we are only able to take the tip off without causing it to bleed.

 

The good news is that after clipping or filing, the quick will recede a little bit and in a few days or a week, more nail can be trimmed or filed...eventually getting it to a healthy length.


 

Severely overgrown nails. The one on the right has started to grow into the foot and is infected.

Occasionally when cutting a nail, the groomer will accidentally hit the quick. Sometimes it is unavoidable if the nail is black (because there is no way to tell where the quick ends) especially if they haven't been cut in a while and the quick has been allowed to grow. 
It is a pretty common thing so it shouldn't be cause for any alarm. We typically let you know and will send you home with some clotting powder (kwik stop or clot it) that you can apply to the nail in case it starts to bleed again. If you don't have styptic powder, you can use baking soda, or baking powder to pack into the nail bed. Just apply light pressure to the end of the nail and it should stop pretty fast. 
Another less common thing that can happen after a nail trim,  (since walking outside on the sidewalk will file it down more), it could cause it to bleed if the trim was a little too close to the quick. Just use the same instructions as above. 
Note that if your dog is overly excited,  the blood will pump faster. Try to keep him as calm as possible, 
*Pro Groomer Tip- To remove blood off the fur, just dab a cotton ball in some hydrogen  peroxide and apply it to the fur. Watch it magically disappear!
If for some reason the nail won't stop bleeding, you can put an ice cube in a plastic bag and apply it to the tip of the nail to slow the flow of blood. But If that doesn't work after several minutes, or if bleeding is profuse,  we would recommend you call your vet because it could be due to an underlying issue that won't allow the blood to clot. 
 
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