Friday, March 18, 2016

Fit Dog Friday: Hard as Nails

Hey, everyone!

It's Fit Dog Friday!

Today I'm touching on something important for your dog's overall health that's often looked over: nail care! Nail length has a huge effect on your dog's structure, as well as their comfort. Overly long nails can cause splayed or flat feet, and throw off the dog's front and rear assembly, in addition to putting stress on the spine (an important thing to remember for my fellow dwarf breed owners). Not to mention that if your dog still has her dew claws, keeping them short greatly reduces the risk of injury. Keeping the nails short is one of the most vital parts of grooming.

Nola is my first dog, and once we moved where she wasn't walking on concrete every day, her nails grew like crazy. By that time though, she was terrified of the clippers and I couldn't cut them without seriously stressing her out. With weeks and weeks of counter conditioning and desensitizing, in addition to switching to a dremel, I could grind them down without her becoming freaking out. It's not her favorite thing, but she is comfortable and accepting rather than panicked and frantic.

The changes to her paws and even the way she stood was shocking to see, and definitely made me feel bad for letting them grow that long. However, I've been good about staying on top of nail care (Dremeling twice a week for Nola, and every week or two for Pike and Olivia. Their nails grow much more slowly than hers for some reason), and it she's much happier for it. ;)

For most dogs, the nails shouldn't touch the floor when the dog is standing. Some people say the nails shouldn't click on hardwood floor, but sometimes the dog's foot structure just...makes them walk clicky, even if the nails are short.
There's a recent fad of getting nails so short they're almost non-exisistant, and I'm personally not a fan. Dogs do use and need their nails, especially ones with a more active style. Not touching the floor is a good rule of thumb, and then you customize to the individual. Nola runs/walks/jogs with me every day, and climbs and hikes in the cooler months. As such, her nails are longer for gripe and traction. Pike's less active, and his nails stay quite short on their own.

Here are a few photos that really show the difference between long and short

Standing, long nails. See the extreme easty-westy feet (paws pointing in opposite direction), the long, flat toes and the slightly down pasterns (wrists).
Note: dwarf breeds tend to be easty-westy by design, but long nails exaggerate the issue. 

Standing, short nails. Her feet are still easty-westy (dachshund trait), but it's much more mild. Toes are well arched, and her pasterns are more upright with just enough give to absorb shock.

Sitting, long nails. Same issues as the first. 

Sitting, short nails! 

Long nails, with splayed and loose toes. 

Short, with tighter, well arched toes. 

A nail day collage!

And some obligatory fitness photos!

Slowly working on "march!".

Sit pretty is her favorite trick now. 

She'll offer it to me for everything!

- Dachshund Mommy


  1. Great post! My mommy is currently teaching me sit pretty, but I keep telling her 87 times that it's really sit handsome! I'm not a girl! My mommy also keeps my snails not too long, but not too short!

    Your Dachshund friend,

  2. Trimming nails is important. Mom didn't know about that with her first dog and had it explained by her vet way back when. Bailie's nail grow like weeds, but she lets Mom trim them any time. I'm more picky, but mine grow slowly and my groomer usually grinds them to a nice length. Important topic!

  3. You got the cutest feets. You better paint those nails
    Lily & Edward

  4. Good reminder for everyone. Some dogs naturally wear their nails down, but some don't. I've never had to trim Jack's, but Maggie's grow pretty quick.

  5. All very true. While I hate the fad of super short nails (because yes, dogs DO use their nails for things), I also hate super long nails. It is a delicate balance. I dremel Koira, which she hates but tolerates for treats for the most part. I used human nail clippers on Ptera when I first brought her home last week because her nails were insane, and she was totally fine with it, but I am working on getting her comfortable with the dremel, because I hate the sharp edges using clippers creates. Dremeling gets nice smooth nails that don't scratch and dig in.

  6. What a big difference between those photos of her nails. I have had problems cutting Dip's nails since the day I got her at 20 months. Now I just take her to the vet to have them done as she gets too stressed and starts hyperventilating if I try.
    Lynne x

  7. You've done an amazing job with her and her nails! They look amazing! I wish more people were proactive about nail care!

  8. Looks good. Such a sweet model for you!!

  9. Yeah, Ma and the vettie agree that it's best to bring me to the vetties office for a pedicure! Ma tried for over a year to 'condition' me to do the nail trims, even the dremmel (FREAKED me out BTW!) I just have a thing abouts my nails being touched.
    Anyhu, congrats on the short nails...Ma says she's jealous...☺
    Ruby ♥

  10. It's amazing how important it is to keep nails properly trimmed! I've been guilty of letting Phoebe's nail get too long. I need to be more diligent about that.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them


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