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Pet nail care - injuries and how to manage

Nail Care

If your pet does not walk regularly on hard surfaces such as the footpath, it will need regular nail trims.

Nail care is extremely important. Unhealthy, untrimmed nails can result in pain and discomfort.

It's not uncommon for long nails to become caught in carpet, blankets or clothing, or grow into the footpad.

Cat nails, in particular, can become very sharp, easily getting caught.

Your pet's nail is made up of hard, dead keratin with a blood vessel, the 'quick', that runs through the centre. In light-colored nails, the quick is visible but unfortunately in dark-colored nails, it is not easy to see. When trimming nails, always leave a couple of millimeters from the tip of the quick, otherwise the nail will bleed.

There are many types of nail clippers available. It is important for you to find the tool that you and your pet are most comfortable with.

Nail trimming can be difficult and stressful for you and your pet. Our team is always happy to trim your pet's nails. Please call us to arrange a suitable time.

Nail Injuries

Common nail associated problems:

  • Overgrown nails into foot pad
  • Broken, split or torn nails
  • Nail bed infection from an ingrown or damaged nail
  • Limping
  • Licking and biting paw

These nail problems require  veterinary attention.

Management Tips for Nail Clipping

Acclimate your pet to paw handling

  • Start at an early age
  • Start by handling your pet's paws and touching it's nails and extending the toes
  • Do this regularly and follow with a treat reward and lots of praise

Identify the quick

  • Secure the leg without extending it too far
  • Gently push down on the toe to extend the nail
  • In a clear nail, identify the quick by the pink area
  • In a black nail, the quick unfortunately cannot be seen
Management tips for pet nail clipping

Trim a small amount at a time

  • Trim a small amount leaving a few millimeters of the nail in front of the quick at 45-degree angle
  • In a black nail, trim a small amount at a time, looking for a small black dot within the cut nail. This dot indicates that you are close to the quick. Stop at this point
  • Follow with a treat reward and lots of praise
  • Initially trim a few nails at a time, and once acclimatised, trim all nails at once
Management tips for pet nail clipping

Stop any bleeding

  • Use a bar of soap and rub it into the bleeding nail
  • Bleeding will stop within a few minutes
  • Keeping your pet calm will help reduce the amount of bleeding
You've done it, now it's time for a big reward for both you and your pet!
Homepage header image by Cara Dione Photography