Owners that want to enjoy the company of their dog rely on regular grooming. It is the only way to control odors and reduce excess shedding effectively. A complete grooming session should always include nail trimming. Managing nail length is not just for their appearance. It is also a convenient and effection method of detecting health concerns.
Identify Diseases Early
Degenerative myelopathy is a debilitating disease of the spinal cord that cannot be cured or treated. Early detection of the condition makes it possible to slow its progression. One of the earliest signs that a problem has begun is an uneven wearing of the nails on the rear paws caused as the dog unintentionally drags their hind legs.
Repeated loss of the same toenail or one that repeatedly breaks could be a sign of a serious illness. Symmetric Lupoid Onychodystrophy is a treatable condition that causes the nails to become dry and brittle. Infection may occur, and the affected dog may obsessively lick or chew the nails and become lame.
Another potential health threat signaled by the nails is cancer. Subungual melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma can both lead to nail loss, infection or bleeding from a damaged nail. Less serious, but still problematic are yeast and fungus infections that cause the nail to peel or crack and could lead to infection.
Rule Out Problems
Paw licking and chewing is a common problem with some dogs. It is an issue that is sometimes difficult to diagnose because there are so many things that could potentially cause this type of response. Trimmed nails that appear healthy eliminate many potential causes and make it easier for a vet to narrow down the possibilities.
Highlight Inadequate Diet
The hair and nails on dogs often reveal a nutritional imbalance before the rest of the body is affected. The diagnosis of a nail condition with no other symptoms may help the owner or the vet to realize the dog is not receiving the nutrients it needs.
Poor nutrition can occur when you give a pet low-quality pet food, homemade food that is not balanced enough to fully meet their needs or if the pet is a very fussy eater. The animal may also have a condition that prevents their body from metabolizing their food properly. This could be a genetic predisposition, an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria or even cancer.
Stop Paw Discomfort
Long nails are easy for the pet to catch on things and break. A broken nail is painful and could easily become infected. Ingrown toenails cause a lot of discomfort for the animal and also often lead to infection. Any paw pad injury is expensive, painful for the pet and difficult to treat.
Prevent Permanent Injury
When the nails are too long, it can lead to changes in the animal's gait and posture and make them unable to flatten their paws properly on any surface. As the angle changes in their foot to compensate for the nails, it is adjusted in all the joints of the leg as well as through the spinal column. Excessive pressure may be placed on the hips or shoulders and cause deterioration of those joints.
Many well-meaning pet owners bathe pets at home and brush them regularly, but forget about clipping the nails. This is easy to do with dew claws or if the dog has long fur that hides them from view. Grooming visits make it less likely this area will become neglected because it is a common step in nearly all grooming facilities.
A complete session is only needed about once every four to six weeks. It is a small sacrifice to make for something that makes the dog more pleasant to be around, more comfortable and could save their life. Visit Longview Boarding & Grooming Ltd. to learn more about the importance of grooming and to schedule an appointment for your dog.