Nail care for dogs…

There is something that really upsets me, and that is that nail clippers are for sale in pet supply shops. That might sound a bit extreme, but often the unsuspecting dog owner is not aware that a big vein, (the quick), runs most of the length of the dog’s nail, and when this is inadvertently cut, it causes the dog pain and bleeding (possibly quite severe), and often severe trauma and issues about having his feet handled or even being groomed at all. In bad cases the only humane way to deal with overgrown nails in the future will be under sedation at the vet.

Dogs vary enormously in how much or how often their nails might need clipping. Dogs that are walked regularly on pavements or hard ground often don’t need their nails cutting at all, and this is the kindest way of keeping the nails the right length. It is important that breeds that grow very  hairy feet (some grow hair between their toes and between their pads which then becomes prone to matting), have this hair trimmed short regularly, so they don’t walk on huge ‘slippers’ preventing the nails making contact with the ground.

Sometimes some toe nails need clipping but others don’t depending on the shape of the toe or the way the dog is walking. (Often back ones don’t need trimming as much as the front because the dog pushes off with the back feet).When the dog has white nails, the vein in the nail can be clearly seen, and the nail can safely be cut to within a couple of millimetres of this vein. With black nails it might be able to discern where the nail bed ends, as the nail forms a groove beyond it. If nails haven’t been cut for a while, they might have to be taken down over time, as the quick is likely to be very long. Regular trimming will cause the quick to retreat.

Where the dog has dew claws, they might in some cases need to be trimmed. Front ones are often ok, but can grow long in some cases. Back ones, where the dog has them, will often grow long and be prone to curling round and growing into the foot, which is quite painful. These have to be cut regularly (every 6 weeks) always erring on the side of caution. Sometimes people ask their vet to remove these when the dog needs to go under anaesthetic for another reason.

It is always wisest to get advice from a good groomer or a vet when clipping dog’s nails for the first time. This way puppies will not develop issues with having their feet handled which is important when in the future they need them to be inspected. It is a good idea for owners to pick up their dog’s feet regularly and have a good look at them so they get used to it, and this way reduce a cause for stress in the dog’s life.


 To book an appointment or discuss your requirements,
please call 01635 569591 or email


TopDog is a brand new mobile dog grooming company, serving pooches in a 20 mile radius of Newbury. TopDog offers dog grooming at excellent value and makes the grooming experience a positive one for dog and owner. Your dog will end up looking tidy and smelling fresh, either in the comfort of his home or at our grooming facilities, where we offer a pick up and drop off service.

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