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What Happens If You Don't Trim Your Dog's Nails

dog getting its nails trimmed

Did you know that long nails can seriously harm your dog? Fortunately, you can easily prevent overgrown nails and injury by trimming their claws regularly — we recommend at least once a month. While many dog parents opt for assistance from a professional, you can easily do it at home using a quality grinder or clipper.  But, what happens if you don't cut your dog's nails? What many pet owners may believe is a cosmetic task is actually essential for their joints’ health and comfort. Veterinarians warn that unkept claws can cause severe pain, make walking uncomfortable, and even result in irreversible damage to your pooch’s back and joints.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Problems of Long Dog Nails
  2. How to Tell if Your Dog's Nails Are Too Long
  3. When Should You Cut Your Dogs Nails?
  4. Tips to Keep in Mind Before Cutting Dog Nails
  5. Trim Your Dog's Nails with LuckyTail Grinder

Common Problems of Long Dog Nails

Many people may not think much of a dog’s nails, but they are very important for its overall health. Nails play a big role in how a dog walks, runs and even affects its posture. As your dog’s claws grow and start touching the floor, several unseen problems start.  Neglecting your dog's long nails will cause your canine to have trouble taking part in everyday activities. They can begin to experience joint pain, as well as an assortment of other health issues. Here are some of the most common side effects of overgrown nails.

Balance Issues

Neglecting to cut your dog's nails will begin to affect their balance. Longer nails will force them to start placing weight on the nails instead of their paw pads. This will result in less grip to the ground and cause your dog to fall more frequently, which puts them at risk for other injuries.  Additionally, since they won't be able to properly grip the floor, they may develop a plantigrade foot position, pushing their toes up and bringing their carpus or hock to the floor. This change will put extreme stress on muscles and tendons, creating a great deal of pain when walking.

Structural Damage and Deformities

When nails get too long, they can put excess pressure on the toe joint, which causes the paw to splay and stretch out in an attempt to relieve the stress. When this continues over time, the overgrown nails realign the joints in the foreleg. This shift permanently deforms the toes and feet, causing extreme pain and discomfort while standing or walking.

Ingrown Nails

Ingrown nails are a common problem in dogs and can be very painful. Their nails can grow so long that they curl under and dig into the paw pad, which causes painful pressure on the soles of your dog’s foot. If you notice they are limping, licking their paw more than usual or bleeding, you should take them to the vet. The vet will sedate your dog and clip the ingrown nail so that it’s even with the rest of their nails. They may also prescribe antibiotics to help prevent infection.

Bacterial Infection

It's common for dogs to get little cuts on their paws after playing outside. Bacteria from the ground can enter their wound, leading to an infection. And since many dogs have a habit of licking or chewing at their paws, the infection can quickly transfer to their mouth. Plus, it can even cause abnormally smelly breath.

Splitting Nails

Dogs can break, chip or split their nails when running or jumping, or by accidentally catching them on something. Ingrown nails are more likely to lead to injury and a torn or split nail, which is very painful for your pet and may need to be treated by a vet.

Digestive Issues

To remedy the pain caused by long nails, dogs may obsessively bite at their nails. Swallowed nail pieces can scrape the lining of the intestines, leading to inflammation, pain and even bleeding. It can also cause your dog’s stools to become hard and compacted, leading to constipation.

Ultimate Pet Nail Grinder

How to Tell if Your Dog's Nails Are Too Long

You might be wondering how long is too long. A good rule of thumb is that if their nails touch the ground, it's time for a trim. If you still aren't sure when to cut your dog’s nails, it is best to consult with your veterinarian. They will advise you on the best schedule to keep your best friend happy and healthy. In the meantime, you can keep an eye out for the following signs:


Curling is one problem of dog nails that are too long. This can make it difficult for your dog to walk and it will end up limping. One of the easiest ways to tell if your dog’s nails are too long is by looking at their paws. If you see that the nails are curling over the tips of their paws or touching the ground when your dog is standing, then they’re too long.


Another sign that your dog’s nails are too long is if they start to bleed. If the nails have grown too long and started to curl under, they can cut into the skin on your dog’s paw, which will cause bleeding.


Another way to tell is by listening to your dog walk. If you have hardwood floors or tiles in your house, you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor, which means their nails are too long. In the case of carpets, you can tell that your dog’s nails are overgrown if they get stuck in the pile.


If your dog’s nails are long, you may notice them scratching the furniture — or even you. Usually, if you trim your pup’s nails, they aren’t sharp enough to scratch you. If you feel or notice that your dog is going around and leaving scratch marks, it's time to plan a nail trim.

When Should You Cut Your Dogs Nails?

Generally, most dogs should have their nails trimmed every four to six weeks, but the ideal trimming schedule for your dog will depend on a couple of factors, including their breed. Some dogs, like Labrador Retrievers, have nails that grow up to an inch in length, while others only grow to ¼-inch long, like Chihuahuas. Some breeds have naturally sharp nails, which may require more frequent clipping or grinding. Lifestyle also plays a big role in how often you should trim your pup's nails. Active dogs can get away with fewer trimming sessions, especially if they walk on solid surfaces regularly. Concrete and hard floors will keep their nails worn down for a while. Dogs with less active lives will likely need to have their nails trimmed more frequently.

Tips To Keep In Mind Before Cutting Dog Nails

With a simple nail trimming routine, you can improve your dog’s posture, comfort, and overall health. Short claws are essential for proper distribution of weight and for gripping the ground when they walk. But, trimming their nails takes some focus to avoid the quick. This is a soft, pink area within the claw containing a bundle of blood vessels and nerves.  If you clip your dog’s nails too close to this area, you may cut into it and cause inflammation, bleeding, excessive pain and other issues. You want to make sure you clip only the hard, outside layer made of keratin.  Here are four tips to help make the process easier and safer for both you and your pup:

  • If your dog has never had its nails trimmed before, start by getting them used to having their paws handled. Gently rubbing and massaging your dog’s paws can help them relax and get comfortable with the process.
  • Only trim the nails if they are visibly long and sticking out beyond the paw pad. You don’t want to cut too much off, as this can be painful and cause bleeding.
  • Use a good quality nail grinder for dogs that is safe and reliable. There are a variety of clippers on the market, so find the one that’s best for your dog.
  • Reach out to your vet or a professional groomer if you’re unsure about how to trim your dog’s nails. They can show you how to do it properly and ensure your dog’s nails are trimmed evenly.

Trim Your Dog's Nails With LuckyTail Grinder

Trimming your dog’s nails can be a daunting task for both you and your pup if you use the wrong equipment. Fortunately, pet owners can count on LuckyTail Nail Grinder, a professional grooming device used and recommended by vets, for a comfortable and easy experience. With LuckyTail, you can trim your dog’s nails every two weeks – or whenever they’re touching the floor. Use it to grind in quick and short bursts, round the nail, polish, and smooth it in just a few minutes. The nail grinder is pet-friendly and ideal for all breeds. Our nail grinder comes with an insertable protective cover that safeguards your pet’s claws from any injury, giving you more confidence in your nail trimming. You can also change the device's speed to match your goals and your pup's sensitivity threshold. The LuckyTail nail grinder is USB rechargeable and ready to tackle countless trimming sessions. Carry it in your bag on all your adventures knowing that you have the flexibility to use it on the go and freely trim your pooch's claws whenever they need it!

Purchase Your Nail Grinder Today

If you're interested in upping your nail-trimming game, add our nail grinder to your arsenal. Check out our shop to order yours today!


Last Updated on June 9, 2023 at 9:30 AM

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