by Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM
WHY IS NAIL TRIMMING IMPORTANT FOR YOUR DOG’S HEALTHY AND LONG LIFE?
Have you ever wondered how the length of your dog’s nails are related to his or her health? If you are like most people, this question might not have crossed your mind until now.
Most dog lovers do not think about their dog’s nails until they need to be trimmed or if they wear out.
Things get more interesting when one acknowledges that every digit on the forelegs is the starting point of an energy line (a meridian) that is connected to internal organs and parts of the body.
These areas are the start and the end points of the mysterious circuitry of meridians described so well in Chinese traditional medicine. The energy channels could be compared to the most sophisticated computer. In fact, if you think about the body, it is an energy system put together from the same energy particles as everything else in the universe.
The only difference is that your dog’s energy particles carry a different program than yours, despite being made of the same building blocks; subatomic energy particles.
Reminding ourselves that the body is an energetic system and that toe tips are the starting points of energy meridians in the body makes the following connection easier to understand:
When nails are too long the foot gets out of alignment, which leads to disruption in the energy flow and a lesser degree of health.
In nature, dogs would wear their nails down by roaming and walking the whole day on a variety of surfaces. However, this does not happen as easily for a large majority of modern-day dogs.
I often see dogs with long nails and their people still do not know how to trim their dogs’ nails properly. I hope that the following seven steps will help you tackle this relatively simple, but often challenging part of canine health care.
Here are your 7 steps to awesome nail care for dogs:
1. See if your dog’s nails wear down enough on their own. If you mainly walk your dogs in rocky terrain or on the sidewalk, they may or may not wear down on their own. Nails that are too long have a U shape when you make the first small cut (1-2 mm).
2. You dog’s nails should be relatively short and the points should not be narrow, long and pointy.
3. Use a rotating file (Dremel tool) instead of nail clippers if you can because you can file nails gradually and reduce the chances of clipping into the quick. If you use a Dremel, make sure that the RPM’s are not too high as the nail may heat up. Use a Dremel tip of medium coarseness to prevent excessive vibrations for your dog's comfort.
4. If you use nail clippers, make sure that the top and bottom blades are in the U shape to reduce the unpleasant pressure on the quick.
5. Start by clipping one to two millimetres at the most. If your dog’s nails are black and the nails are long, you will see an upside down U with a darker margin and a lighter center.
Stop clipping when you see the darker (denser) center of the quick.
6. Reward your dog with treats during the procedure. I suggest that you do not let go when your dog tries to wiggle. Instead, hold him or her and follow the direction that your dog chooses to move in. Continue holding the foot and gently sway to the desired position. Letting your dog wiggle out repeatedly will create a bad habit that is hard to shake off.
7. In the event that you go too far and your dog bleeds, do not panic. Have a gauze pad ready to apply pressure. If the nail continues bleeding, bandage the foot for four to 12 hours and have Healing Solution handy to ensure problem free holding.
That is all! I can guarantee you that your dog will be much happier to walk on nails that are shorter and do not distort and affect your dog’s gait and energy flow.
Health and longevity of your best friend starts with long nails!
Thank you for sharing this post and making a difference in the lives of other dogs!
© Dr. Peter Dobias
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