Trimming your dogs toenails can be challenging and stressful, but keeping the nails short can prevent serious problems. Left unmanaged, nails can grow so long that they can actually form a complete circle and grow into your dog's pad causing pain and infection. Dogs with nails that are too long will walk with their feet in an abnormal position which can predispose them to leg injuries. Dogs with long toenails are more likely to break or tear their nails, especially in the winter when the cold temperature causes nails to be more brittle and the sometimes slippery footing causes dogs to rely more on their nails for traction. Signs of a broken or torn nail are bleeding from the nail, licking of the nail or foot, and limping. Depending on the severity of the break, the nail may need to be trimmed as normal, but often the dog will need to be sedated to have the nail removed back past the spot of the break to ensure the nail grows back normally. If you need help with trimming or if you think your dog might have broken or torn its nail, please call your veterinarian.
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