Trimming your greyhound’s nails is more than just a pet care practice; it’s an act of love and appreciation. It is also a preventive measure critical to the overall health and happiness of your dog. However, it is easy to fall behind on trimming your furry friend’s nails because most dogs detest it.
I have done my share of dog nail trimming with Roxy- my 70-pound cute, playful, and loyal greyhound. The thought of inflicting possible pain on my furry friend always made me a little twitchy. But I considered nail trimming a necessary routine practice for my dog, which I never skipped. In this piece, I will share the tips for safe nail trimming, which I gained over time while trimming Roxy.
Is the nail trimming necessary?
Whenever I hear Roxy’s nails clicking on hard surfaces or see them turning sideways, I know it is time to trim. Although most dogs don’t enjoy having their feet handled, trimming of overly long nails is an essential part of your dog’s hygiene, which must be done regularly.
The following are the reasons why you need to trim your dog’s nails as regularly as possible:
Shorter nails make walking comfortable.
According to the American Kennel Club, if you leave your greyhound’s nails to grow too long, they will curl around into their paw pads to cause painful walking. As your dog tries to avoid the pain, he will be forced to move unnaturally, resulting in too much stress on their leg muscles. If you make trimming a routine practice, your dog will move comfortably and enjoy outings more.
Reduced risk of injuries
Overgrown nails are one of the major causes of injuries on dogs. When your greyhound’s nails are too long, his feet may not have a firm grip on the ground when walking. Your dog will be prone to slips and slides when moving. Slipping causes severe injuries to your dog. They will also endure stress as they fight to control their movement when walking around. Ensure you trim your dog regularly to avoid potential injuries.
Roxy loves to give me playful paws every time I arrive home from work. But when his paw has long nails, I do everything to avoid the unpleasant surprise. Long nails result in unintended scratches on you and other family members. If you keep the nails trimmed, you will enjoy excellent bonding time with your dog. You should trim your dog’s nails at least once a week to avoid scratch related problems.
Prevents home damages
Long dog nails may cause unintended damages on household wares such as furniture, bedding, and carpets. When a greyhound with long nails walks, the nails dig onto the ground as your dog attempts to get traction. The nails will eventually cause costly damages to your furniture, carpet, or bedding.
Tips for trimming your greyhound nails safely
Because nail trimming can be an anxiety-laden experience for most dogs, it is crucial to introduce the procedure when your dog is young for them to be accustomed to the process. If you notice your dog is hesitant, you can make the process fun by allowing him to lick peanut butter or any other ideal treat off the spoon as you trim the nails. The following is a step-by-step instruction on how to trim your greyhound’s nails:
Step 1: Prepare the equipment
You need the ideal equipment to trim your dog’s nails efficiently. Depending on your preferred method, you may need the following:
- Dog nail clippers
- Grinder/ scissors
- Paw balsam
One of the essential tips for safe trimming a dog’s nails is excellent prep work and practice. After you have assembled all the equipment, concentrate on making your dog comfortable and ready. If your dog is nervous, use ideal treats to calm them down. You can also cuddle him warmly to give him some sense of security before you begin trimming.
You should also experiment a bit to determine the appropriate tool to use. When trimming Roxy, I used to experiment on her using a toothpick or skinny chopstick. Next, I get my dog accustomed to having his paws held. Days before trimming, ensure you hold each of his paws and nails on your hand as regular as possible. Once you are done with the handling, reward your greyhound with a lot of praise and an ideal treats.
Step 2: Define the cutting range.
You ought to be extra careful when determining where to cut because dog nails a vein that bleeds when it is cut. A clip-on the wrong spot doesn’t only cause pain but also bleeding. The canine nail is composed of layers. The visible part is the sturdy outer or shell. Inside this shell is a soft inner layer known as the “quick”. The quick is the layer that contains blood vessels and nerves.
In light-colored nails, the quick is a pinkish colored segment near the nail base. Dark or black nails usually conceal this part, and you may have to use a flashlight to locate the blood supply area. Cutting the quick is a big mistake that causes pain and bleeding. Once you have located the quick, don’t trim closer than 2 to 3 millimeters away. Remember the fowling when defining the cutting range:
- The ideal cutting range ends right before the blood supply area.
- The front paws of a greyhound are more likely to have overgrown nails.
- Determine to cut parallel to the bottom when trimming the nails.
Step 3: Start the trimming
Once you have defined the cutting range, get on with the work. Put your dog in a relaxed position and choose the right tools. Start trimming by taking small steps at a time. The nails should be cut from underneath and at a 45-degree angle. Place that opening of the nail clippers over the end of the white nail. It is vital that you only cut the white nail area. Cutting past this area means you are cutting the quick. Ensure you have a supply of ideal treats to keep your dog comfortable when need be. The perfect trim work guarantee there is no blood at the end of the whole process. Once you are through with the trimming, soften the skin around the nails using paw balsam. You can also trim overgrown hair around the paws for excellent results.
Step 4: Give a reward to your good boy/girl.
After an excellent job, ensure you reward your dog. This will help your greyhound to associate the unpleasant trimming experience with something positive. Rewards will also reduce your dog’s fear during the subsequent nail trimmings.
When is The Right Time to Trim Your Greyhound?
You should determine to trim a new dog’s nails as soon as it comes into your home. Continue cutting the claws every 5 to 7 days to help the quick to recede quickly. Once you have the nails on proper length, trim them at least once every two weeks to keep them healthy and short.
The quick will retreat over time if the nails are trimmed regularly. However, if you allow the nails to grow too long, the quick will also lengthen. If the greyhound’s nails clear the floor when your dog is standing, the nails are short enough.
Potential health dangers for not trimming your greyhound’s nails
Nail neglect can cause serious health problems. Veterinarians warn that long nails cause’s pain and can trigger irreversible damage to your greyhound.
Some of the health problems associated with long nails include:
Overly long nails can hamper the ability of the greyhound to stand, walk, or run efficiently. The claws dig into the soft tissues of the paws, which causes excruciating pain when your dog moves or stands. As your dog tries to avoid the pain, he will be forced to adopt unnatural postures that may cause your dog’s leg’s bone structure to become deformed. A dog with long nails has hind legs that tuck forwards. The front legs may also stand behind the perpendicular when observed from the sides.
Long and untidy nails are more susceptible to nail infections. Dog feet are often exposed to bacteria and fungi on the ground. Besides, long nails are prone to chipping, tearing, splitting, and breaking, according to the Kennel Club. A split or torn nail opens up the nail bed and paws to germs and fungi such as ringworm. The ringworm eats the non-living parts of the claw and weakens or infects the whole nail. If the greyhound’s nails are infected for long periods, it may lead to permanent defective nail growth.
When the infection attacks the nail root, the claw may swell, turn red and crusty. Pus may also collect in the area. Besides, when nails are infected, it may lead to infection of the blood vessels, which eventually trigger other health problems. Greyhounds with nail bed infections may limp when walking. You will also notice the pet licking the sore or itchy area
Painful Claw Removals
Long nails can result in unexpected claw removals. If the nails catch the carpet, grass, or furniture, the entire claw may rip off out of the paw. This is a harrowing experience for your dog. A ripped claw features a deep wound that is susceptible to fungal infections.
Tips for trimming an uncooperative greyhound nails
Some dogs can be uncooperative and even aggressive when you are clipping their nails. If you are hesitant to trim your greyhound’s nails because you hate the ensuing inevitable fights, condition your dog to view nail trimming as a positive rather than unpleasant experience. The conditioning process, however, requires persistence and a lot of patience. Use the following tips to make the process as comfortable as possible:
Get your dog to be comfortable.
You should determine to make your greyhound as comfortable as possible when trimming his nails. Right from the first day, hold your dog’s paws gently and cheerfully, so he doesn’t become sensitive to having his feet handled when trimming. Getting your dog comfortable is a process that may take up to one week as outlined below:
- Day 1: let the greyhound get accustomed to the trimming equipment by allowing your dog to sniff the grinder or nail clipper. Give your dog a treat and several praises for him to associate the equipment with positive experiences.
- Day 2: gently touch the grinder or nail clipper on each paw as you praise and give your dog an ideal treat. This process helps reinforce the positive experiences which you established on day 1.
- Day 3: touch the clipper again on each paw and squeeze it gently to produce the familiar sound. Let the greyhound hear the sound. If you are using a grinder, turn it on and let your dog feel the vibration. Don’t trim any nails on day 3. Just give them a lot of praise and treats.
- Day 4: touch the clipper or grinder on your dog’s feet once more before giving praise and a treat.
- Day 5: trim off the tiniest tip of the front nail. Focus on only one nail before you offer the greyhound a lot of praise and treats. Don’t be tempted to do more than one nail even if the greyhound seems not to mind.
- Day 6: target two more nails. Trim them and offer appropriate praise and treats
- Day 7: work your way up by trimming additional nails with each passing day. Practice the process even when you don’t want to clip the nails. If you have zero experience on nail clipping, it is advisable to have a vet teach you how to do it safely with an uncooperative greyhound.
Train your dog to allow paw handling
When your greyhound is relaxing, lightly touch his shoulder and gently work your way down to his paw. While at it, use a soothing voice to calm him as you rub his paws. Then gently touch his paws and give them a soft squeeze. Then focus on the nails by applying some pressure on them. If your dog pulls back the leg, pause a bit before you continue once he settles. You can also withhold treats and verbal praise whenever your dog retracts his paws.
If your dog’s nails are overgrown, the paw will be tender and sore. You should, therefore, stay alert when holding the paw. If your greyhound yelps, he is communicating, and you need to be gentle on your touch. Importantly, never scold an uncooperative dog. You can also repeat this process several times a day until your dog becomes accustomed to touching.
Let another person hold your dog for you.
An essential step in nail trimming is having a firm grip on your dog’s paw. You can enlist the help of another person to hold the paws firmly when clipping an uncooperative dog.
While trimming, ensure you push back any hair in the way of the nail to prevent clipping mishaps. You should also ensure you can see exactly where you are cutting. Besides, let the other person help you restrain your dog’s body if he is trying to move or wiggle.
FAQs about greyhound nail clipping
1. What are the causes of nail problems?
Dogs rely on their nails for clutching toys, bones, digging, and traction. Dog nails are also necessary weapons for your dogs looking to protect themselves from harm. Because they exert a lot of weight on the nails when they stand or walk, nail problems often result in a lot of pain and discomfort. The good news is-most nail problems can be prevented with routine trimming. Therefore, you should trim your greyhound’s nails often enough to keep them from making contact with the floor or ground. A greyhound may develop nail problems because of many factors, including:
Clipping mishaps – If you don’t take the necessary precautions, it is relatively easy to injure your dog by clipping too close to the quick. If the tender skin and veins are damaged, you expose your dog to the risk of infections, discomfort, and pain
Allergies – Several nail and foot problems may be caused by allergies, including food and environmental allergens. Allergy related issues stemming from dog nails often trigger skin problems such as itching, redness, dryness, and discomfort. If you suspect your greyhound’s nail problems are related to allergies, consult your vet to help identify the allergen. You can also switch your dog’s food.
Fungal infections – Fungal infection is another common nail problem in dogs. It may occur in the nail bed or the nail itself. A dog that has fungal infection features brittle nails. You may also notice your furry friend continuously licking his paws. The vet once he has diagnosed the problem, may prescribe a topical or oral antifungal product to treat the problem
Nail bed tumors – Nail bed tumors can damage the nail beds and matrix. These two areas have a high concentration of veins and nerves. Tumors on the nail bed often lead to limping, ulcerations, and bleeding. The vet can use modern diagnostic procedures like x rays and biopsy to diagnose the problem. Treatment options include amputation of the affected digits.
Lack of proper nutrition – brittle and cracked nails may also be caused by improper or insufficient nutrition. You should feed your dog only on quality food with essential vitamins and nutrients. Work with your vet to establish the right food for your greyhound deepening on age, weight, and underlying conditions.
2. What are the treatment and prevention of greyhounds nail problems
If your greyhound has a nail problem, contact your vet as soon as possible. Don’t ignore or diagnose the problem on your own. A vet can treat most of the cases when diagnosed early enough. Besides, you can prevent most of these problems by:
- Trimming of your dog’s nails correctly and routinely
- Frequent inspection of your dog’s nails and paw. If you notice signs of disease, call the vet immediately. Besides, if you notice your dog limping, contact your vet as soon as possible.
- Improvement of your dog’s diet
3. What if there is bleeding after dog nail trimming?
Even when you practice safe trimming, there is still a possibility of something going wrong. The thumb rule is to avoid panicking when you notice blood oozing from your dog’s nail. Your dog can easily pick your body language to run amok. It is important to reassure your dog by patting, cuddling him, or using appropriate verbal praise. You should then perform first aid on the wound using styptic powder or pencil. If you cannot immediately access the pencil or styptic powder, apply ice cubes on the wound. You should also ensure no dirt or germs get in contact with the wound to prevent any infections. In case you are unable to stop the bleeding after 30 minutes of trying, contact your vet.
4. How often should I trim my dog’s nails?
How often you will need to trim your greyhound’s nails will be influenced by many factors. These include the genetic factors, feeding habits, and the level of activity of your dog. However, it is recommended that you trim your dog at least every two weeks to maintain an ideal nail length and hygiene. Frequent nail trimming is necessary because the more you trim the nails, the more the blood vessels will retreat.
5. Is it better to trim or grind dog nails?
Many things will influence the decision to trim or grind your dog’s nails. If your dog is a fearful type, you can opt to cut rather than grind his nails. The trimming method allows you to quickly trim one or two nails before you offer a treat or praise. Grinding is also an effective method that gives a smoother finish to the nail. However, using a grinding process may necessitate doing the job more often and is not ideal for the uncooperative greyhound.
6. Why does my dog scream when I cut his nails?
If you cut your greyhound’s nails too short, he may start barking or whining. The nail features a part called a quick that has nerves and veins. When you cut this point, your dog feels a lot of pain, and the area my start bleeding.
Greyhounds are lovable, loyal, and dependable. However, you will only enjoy spending time with your pet if he is healthy, active, and happy. Therefore, certain hygiene routines like nail trimming shouldn’t be skipped. Trimming your greyhound’s nails is a critical grooming task for every diligent pet owner. The benefits of keeping your dog’s nails trimmed are enormous. So, ensure you get into the trimming habit as soon as possible. Most of these DIY tips that I have shared here are from my own experience with my hound Roxy.