Nail Trim 101

Nail trimming is an essential part of regular pet health maintenance

by Dr. Christine Becker, PetIQ Veterinarian

Nail Trim

The frequency at which your pet’s nails should be trimmed varies from pet to pet. Some dogs and cats may need their nails trimmed as often as every 3-4 weeks. Pets that may need more frequent nail trims include older pets, pets with orthopedic or neurologic issues that affect their walking, or pets in households with children or people with fragile skin or lowered immune systems. One helpful way to tell your pet may need a nail trim is if you can hear the click-clacking of their nails as they walk across a hard floor.

A nail trim includes trimming your pet’s nails as short as possible without causing them pain, and if appropriate, includes using a file to round out and smooth the rough edges of your pet’s nails. Your pet’s nails grow continually. As many pets are often indoors and do not walk for hours on rough surfaces, their nails usually do not wear down enough on their own. When your pet’s nails become too long, they can actually curl around and puncture your pet’s paw pad, which is very painful! Even before that point, long nails can affect how your pet walks and cause soreness or pain in his or her feet and joints. Long nails make it difficult for pets, especially older pets or pets with orthopedic or neurologic issues, to walk on slippery surfaces. When your pet jumps, plays, or scratches an itch, sharp long nails can cause injury to your pet, other pets, or to the human members of your family. Finally, keeping your pet’s nails short and smooth significantly decreases damage to your floors and furniture.

Nail trimming is an essential part of regular pet health maintenance. A nail trim includes trimming the nails as short as possible and if appropriate filing them so that they are rounded out and smooth. Filing also helps us get your pet’s nails to the shortest possible length without causing harm. Feel free to stop by for us to take a look at your pet’s nails and discuss with you how often they may need a trim.

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