Are you still getting into a wrestling match with your dog when it comes to trimming its nails? Or, maybe your attempt to clip has ended with a bloody paw and a heavy heart for the hurt you caused with the DIY approach to canine nail care? If you’re ready to stop the nail clipping madness, check out these 4 reasons why you should switch to filing your dog’s nails.

Dog Nail Clipping Hazards

Clipping a dog’s nails is a very tricky business. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can come dangerously close to giving your pet a terribly painful and bloody injury. When we suggest switching to filing, we don’t mean to bring out the emery board that you use for your nails. Even if you have a very small pet, the emery boards and metal nail files designed for humans are not strong enough to last through filing even one dog’s nail.

Professional Pup Pedicure with an Electric Emery Board

A pet’s pedicure service as performed by a professional groomer involves the use of an electric emery board. This device is designed with a quiet motor and variable speeds to effectively and safely file dog nails. Different speeds are appropriate for different breeds, size of dog, and for different nail structure (thick, coarse, brittle, aged, etc.)

Why Does the Length of the Dog’s Nail Matter?

You may be surprised to learn that the length of a dog’s nails can affect the function of the dog’s foot. Without getting too technical…Whether or not a dog’s nails touch the surface when the dog is standing in a neutral position versus in an active position can affect how hard the flexor and extensor muscles and ligaments of the paw have to work. For a wild dog, the surfaces they move across will naturally keep the nails at the length needed for survival. For domestic dogs, which includes the typical house dog as well as the working dog or agility dog, the length of the nails has to be checked and the best length determined by a human. While there aren’t any conclusive studies on the best length for a dog’s nails. If your dog is experiencing paw problems, make sure not to overlook the health and length of the nails when you are at your next veterinary appointment.

Why File, Not Clip, a Dog’s Nails

  • The dog is comfortable and relaxed during filing.
    Filing is gentler, less anxiety producing for many dogs. With a clipper, the dog’s nail is squeezed. Many dogs do not like this sensation. So, you really have to stabilize the dog’s body as well as the paw being worked on. It’s intimidating and stressful for most dogs.
  • Filing reduces the chances of hitting a nerve.
    Within the nail bed is the “quick of the nail,” innervated, vascularized core of the nail bed. The quick provides nourishment to the nail which allows it to grow and aids sensation. Most pet owners accidentally clip the quick, causing bleeding and varying levels of pain depending on how deep and far up the quick the cut is made. If your dog has black or dark nails, rather than translucent, you won’t be able to see the quick. Filing dog nails provides more control and less chance of damaging the quick. Regular nail trims also prevent a painful condition where the nerve and blood supply extends into overgrown nails. Filed nails can also be trimmed shorter than can be done with clipping, which means less frequent trips to the groomer for nail service.

  •  Smooth, rounded nails means less damage around your home.
    Clipping a dog’s nails, even when professionally done, can leave the end of the nail jagged. Nail filling allows the nail to be rounded and smooth on the end. A smooth nail is less likely to cause damage to hardwood floors, carpeting, or furniture than the blunt or jagged ends of clipped nails.
  • Fewer scratches on the dog and the humans.
    Along with less scratches around the house, you can expect less scratches on the humans who live in the house. Additionally, the smoothe, filed nail will be less likely to irritate your dog’s skin when they scratch themselves. This is especially important for dogs that have allergies or dry skin as they will scratch at themselves more often. Frequent scratching that tears at the skin can result in infections of the skin.

The Ultimate Benefit of Letting a Groomer File a Dog’s Nails

When someone else is handling the dog’s nails, they have all the right tools to perform the task safely and effectively. The ultimate benefit is that you—the person your dog loves the most—is not involved in the process. There’s no stress, no struggle, no injury to the pooch or the human.

Professional Grooming Done with Love for Smyrna Pets

The Animal Care Center offers a full line of bathing and grooming services for all breeds of dogs and cats. If your pet has spent too much time chasing squirrels or birds and gotten itself into a stink, it’s time to schedule a grooming appointment. Even if your pet is more hygienic than most, regular grooming helps remove excess hair, oil, and debris from the coat and skin. We hand shampoo all of our grooming guests with lots of love! Nail filing is done upon request and the nails are evaluated before we begin. Our professional groomers will trim or cut hair to breed specifications, cleanse the ears, thoroughly brush and have your pet smelling delightful upon pick-up for the ride home with you. Learn more about our grooming services and give us a call today to schedule your pet’s appointment: 770-438-2694. We look forward to seeing you soon!


Animal Health VIPs: The Anatomy and Function of Nails and Paws