Is walking your dog REALLY enough to keep nails at a healthy length?

August 11, 2021 3 min read

Is walking your dog REALLY enough to keep nails at a healthy length?

Walking your dog is not enough to ensure healthy paws. Keep reading to find out why…

Unlike humans who walk with their feel flat, dogs walk on their toes. A dog’s foot serves as a shock absorber for the limb and prevents the impact from affecting larger joints closer to the body and spine. The feet also have many sensory nerve endings that are designed to protect the body from injury. 

When nails are left to become overgrown, the entire nail including the quick grows out too. This changes the angle in which the toe segments (phalanges) are held.

A dog’s nails should not touch the ground when standing nor extend past the pad when the paw is in a relaxed position. This allows enough length left on the nail to allow the dog to engage the ground when necessary.

Nails that hit the ground put pressure on the foot and leg structure, risking deformity and injury to the tendons. Long nails also risk:

Intense pain
Unintended removal
Impeded ability to walk

Untrimmed nails are a hazard to people and the furniture in your home. Trim your dog’s nails regularly to:

Keep your dog healthy and happy.
Stop intense pain and injury.
Prevent painful scratches.
Make your furniture last.

Illustrated is the difference between long problematic nails and healthy nail length.

For best results, make sure to trim your dog's nails round and smooth.

Many dog owners believe, long walks on concrete are enough to keep the nails at a healthy length. Although this practice may help keep the nails down, walking your dog is still not enough to ensure healthy nail length!

By skipping regular nails trims, owners may risk their dog’s health and accidentally cause longterm injury to the tendons of the leg and paws.


If you or your fur friend struggle with nail trims, follow these simple steps to reduce anxiety and trim nails safely and easily at home!

Firstly, always make sure you clean your pup’s nails. This ensures that the quick (vein inside the nail) is easy to see and avoid.

The best device for trimming nails is definitely an electric nail file with an in-built flashlight, which makes identifying and avoiding the quick easy. We recommend this particular model:

Turn your trimmer on and set it on the ground to allow your dog to sniff and class it as non-threatening.

Once your dog is accustomed to the presence of the trimmer, choose the appropriate head setting. Shine the torch light on the nail to show the quick and start trimming.

Starting from the bottom of the nail, work your way up and round off the top. Angle the trimmer at a 45 degree angle, trimming the nail either side of the quick. In this way, you utilize the alternative cut lines which help recede overgrown quicks.

Refer to the images below for correct trimming angles.

It’s recommended you trim in 5 second intervals and cease trimming at least 2mm away from the quick.

If your dog shows signs of discomfort, we recommend you take it slow and do one nail at a time, building up to a full paw. Always reward your pup with plenty of praise, to create a positive association with nail trims.

If your dog startles easily or has bad associations with nail trims, we encourage plenty of paw touching outside of nail trims. Touching your fur friend’s paws at times other than just before a nail trim, will help accustom your dog to the idea of having his/her paws touched and handled.

Finally, by following these simple steps and using an electric nail file, specially designed to make trimming nails safe and hassle-free, you will never need to pay for expensive nail trims at a vet or groomer again!

Happy trimming!

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