Trimming your dog’s nails is one of the most basic procedures in canine grooming. Your dog’s nails will continue to grow over time, just as human nails do. Unlike human nails, a dog’s nails are in frequent contact with rough surfaces, such as concrete. While this does help to keep them at an appropriate length, they are more likely to break or splinter, which can lead to painful infections. If you can hear your dog’s nails clicking against hard floors, they’re probably in need of a trim.
Trimming the nails is very simple to do, but a few considerations should be kept in mind. First of all, be wary of cutting the nails too short. There is a blood vessel that runs down the center of the nail know as “the quick”. Cutting into the quick will cause bleeding. If you see a small black patch in the center of the nail as you cut, you’re hitting the end of quick. Hitting the end of the quick is okay, but be very careful not to cut any shorter. As the nails grow, the quick will grow with them, so it is best to trim the nails regularly to prevent this from happening. Regular clipping will actually cause the quick to become shorter, meaning you’re less likely to hit it.
To clip your dog’s nails, you will want to use canine nail clippers. They are very easy to find, and should be available at any nearby pet store for a reasonable price. Note that human nail clippers, or other sharp devices not intended for canine paws, will not work, and could damage the nail. You will also want to keep an antihemmoragic nearby to stop bleeding, in case you clip too short and hit the quick. Styptic pens or powder will work well for this purpose. You should clip at a 45 degree angle, while holding the paw firmly. If your dog’s nails are dark, and you cannot see the quick visually, you should consider making a series of small clips until you hit the black mark that indicates the end of the quick.
Depending on the amount of time your dog spends on sidewalks and other rough surfaces, your dog’s nails may be kept naturally short. A personal protection dog that spends a lot of time accompanying you on the street may not necessarily need their nails clipped at all. However, it is a good idea to keep your dog accustomed to the routine of clipping. Whether you have a German Shepherd, a Belgian Malinois, or a Dutch Shepherd, the process of nail trimming is more or less the same. It doesn’t take long, and it’s relatively easy to do.