Last Updated on September 7, 2023 by Dr. Alisha Barnes

Could your dog’s nails be causing their pain?

An often overlooked issue in keeping your dog’s joints as healthy as possible is overgrown nails.

When a dog’s nails are too long, it puts the toes into increased extension. When the toes are in extension, it changes the load on the weight bearing joints up the entire leg and this can lead to pain in the shoulders, hips, and back. It would be similar to wearing high heels all day. You could imagine how sore your feet, hips and back would be! The subtle change in biomechanics can wreak havoc up the kinetic chain and affect all the weight bearing joints.

Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress on their joints and back.

How often you trim the nails really depends on the dog and how fast their nails grow. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to slide a piece of paper between the nail and floor. If you can’t, the nails need to be trimmed.

If you don’t feel comfortable trimming nails yourself, there are many resources available to you. Many dog washes are now offering nail trim days where you can take your dog in and get their nails trimmed for a small fee. As with anything, find someone you trust and works well you with your dog.

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