Don’t ignore your dog’s toenails |

Don’t ignore your dog’s toenails

Nadine Lober

Dogs’ toenails are constantly growing, and care needs to be taken to keep them clipped to an appropriate length to avoid problems and to keep your dog comfortable.

You can clip your own dogs’ nails or have your veterinarian or groomer clip them for you.

Dogs’ trim their toenails themselves while walking on hard surfaces like asphalt. The nails on the hind paws tend to get trimmed more because of the way dogs walk. But occasionally, their toenails might not reach the ground and therefore keeps growing longer and longer.

And once winter hits, and your dog gets walked on snow more so than pavement, then you will notice the nails growing longer and they need to be clipped more often.

If you have hardwood floors then it is advisable for the comfort of your dog to keep the nails trimmed.

Toenails in dogs get snagged and torn sometimes, and tend to bleed a lot. The bleeding can be stopped by pressing a gauze pad to the toe. Usually your dog does not want to stand still and let you do this, so it may be best to wrap the paw and bring him to your veterinarian.

The torn section needs to be removed and this sometimes requires a local anesthetic. The vascular part at the base of the nail will now be exposed and is prone to infection and bleeding if touched. Oral antibiotics are prescribed to avoid infection and the paw is bandaged for he first few days to avoid getting hit and getting licked. These heal well and the nail does grow back.

Some dogs have dewclaws that also need to be kept short. Dewclaws are usually removed from your dog between 3 to 5 days of age.

It is important in hunting dogs to have the dewclaws removed. When they run through heavy brush, weeds and tree branches, the dewclaws can get snagged and ripped off. Other dogs don’t seem to get their dewclaws caught, but it is very important to keep them clipped to avoid the dewclaw from growing so long that it penetrates into the pad.

This occurs more commonly in long haired cats. The front claws are more visible and cats keep them trimmed on scratching board. But the sharp dewclaws may be hidden under the long hair.

There are a few main diseases of the nail bed or nail itself that can occur:

– Inflammation of the nail bed caused by infection, yeast, cancer or other problems.

– Brittle nails caused by trauma or fungal infections.

– Abnormal growth and deformities.

Fungal infections are treated with anti-fungal soaks and medication. Sometimes, the infected nail is removed.

Sometimes, dogs lick their paws for no reason at all, other times they do it because they have allergies. But If your dog is excessively licking its paw then there also may be a problem. Take the time to examine the paws to see if further medical assistance is needed.

Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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