How To Cut Your Australian Shepherd‘s Nails?

Cutting a dog‘s nails is just as important as constant care of his coat, because long nails cause discomfort to the dog if the nails touch the ground while the dog is standing. Long dog nails can distort the toes of a dog‘s foot in every way and often the nails grow into the paw. If the nails grow into the paws it starts with terrible diseases and abscesses.

Not cutting a dog‘s nails can also cause a variety of injuries, as long nails get stuck everywhere. Also, if the dog‘s nails are not trimmed and treated regularly, they will start to break, crack, which will cause pain to your pet.

What Is The Function Of Dog Nails?

Nails is a helper for the dog to stick more to the ground. It is necessary walking on natural surfaces, also dog‘s use nails to gain momentum. Watch your Australian Shepherd, going on a smooth surface, he or she will rest on its foot, but when it starts to slip – they will „turn on“ their nails to work. This is what scared dogs do – pay attention to how the fearful dogs behave when they visit the vet.

Dogs also use nails as a cleaning tool when caring for their fur. The hind legs are used to clean the neck, head and ears, and the front legs are used to clean the head. After cleaning, the dogs lick the collected dirt of their paws.

Proper Nail Length

It is believed, that nails are too long if you hear a tickle while the dog is running on the floor. When the animal is standing on a flat surface, they must not touch the floor. However, short nails are also not quite the right choice – if a dog is running on natural surfaces, he needs proper grip on the ground. In addition, cutting your nails in one fell swoop can injure the animal, causing the dog pain.

Overgrown dog nails curl up, so very abandoned nails can start to irritate foot pads. Dogs do not walk on soles like humans, but with their fingers, so the whole balance and mass of the animal is concentrated in a very small center that has to absorb all the movements. The full weight is usually held by foot pads. When the nails are too long, the body can no longer rely on them. This can lead to foot deformities, irregular leg positioning and poor posture. Prolonged nail neglect can lead to connective tissue damage, pain in the hips, elbows, shoulders or spine.

Dog‘s fingers work like receptors, which provide information about the underlying body positions to the central nervous system. If the nails are too long, wrong data reaches the brain, and then dog changes his gait and posture, as the legs cannot be placed vertically to the ground. Typically, dogs with too long nails transfer a significant portion of the weight to the hind legs, and the joints have to withstand additional overload.

How To Properly Cut Nails

It is usually enough to cut the dog‘s nails every 2 to 3 weeks. If your dog spend a lot of time outside, probably the nails wear out on its own, so in this case need to cut the nails might be every 4 to 5 weeks. The nails of the front legs usually wear out not as fast as the hind legs, so they need to be trimmed more often, approximately every two weeks.

How To Get Australian Shepherd Used To Nail Trimming

Nail Trimming is not painful at all, however, most dogs don‘t like this procedure because of fear and misunderstanding. That is why this ritual should be accustomed from an early age. Do not use force or punish during the exercise, it is better to actively praise and treat for the desired behavior. Otherwise, nail cutting can become a pain for both you and your Australian Shepherd.

This process can be very quick for some and for others it might need more time. It all depends from previous experience, as some dogs are very sensitive to this kind of procedures. In some cases, it will be necessary to invite someone to help you. For example, you cut the nails and the other person distracts his attention and give him treats.

Until your Aussie gets used to it, don‘t force him to suffer the whole procedure. Start slowly, rub slightly with the rasp. Or you can try cutting right away, but arrange only one paw or only the longest nails. Until the dog gets used to it, it is recommended to do this procedure couple times per week.

Tools For Nail Cutting

Use only special tools that are intended for dogs. Simple scissors are not suitable, as it can damage the nail plate or break the nail at the clipping site.

Here are 3 tools that will help you:

  1. Dog claw pliers: they allow you to cut a very small piece of nail, often has a limiter. This helps the inexperienced owner to remove only the protruding nail and not injure the animal. Check the claw pliers every time before using, as sometimes edges can blunt and break the nails, what causes pain.
  2. Dog rasp: it is useful if you want to shorten the nail slightly, and usually dogs responds more calmly than to other tools. Rasp could be used to soften the nails, and not to leave sharp corners.
  3. Guillotine dog nail clippers: the guillotine is adapted to the curved shape of the dog‘s nail, making it very comfortable to use. it helps to make the precise incision, the nail will not crumble. However, less experienced owner should be careful and not cut off too much nail.

What To Do If You Cut Too Much Nail?

If you accidentally cut too much nail, and nail started bleeding – add a few crystals of potassium permanganate. Do not panic too much, as the dog will be more frightened by your emotions than by discomfort in his leg. Continue cutting the nails and remember that nothing terrible happened.

Final Thoughts

Imagine us with long nails – it is not comfortable, right? Same with dogs, long nails get stuck everywhere. If at some point your Aussie gets too emotional or playful at home, it can scratch the floor while running, unexpectedly jump on the bed and rub the leather. And even if he playfully jumps on you, it is not fun to get marks from the long nails. Of course, a long nail can tear, break, and it is a painful and heavy bleeding thing.

With light nails it is easier, as you can clearly see the pink tender spot and understand where the boundary is. However, with the dark nails it is harder – they need to be shortened by a millimeter, until a soft core is noticed. You can also use a rasp instead of scissors. The rasp is also useful if you want to soften sharper cut nails.

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