Most people don't give much thought to their dog's nails — until their pet develops issues with walking or begins to noticeably lick, chew, and otherwise fuss with their feet. In some cases, nail conditions can progress to the extent that they interfere with the animal's ability to freely move about. Most of the time, nail disorders in dogs are the result of direct trauma to the area, but they can also be indicative of a fungal or bacterial infection. However, when an infection is part of the picture, nail issues are usually accompanied by skin conditions such as rashes and sores.
Fortunately, most nail problems experienced by dogs are temporary and caused by small particles of gravel, hot sand, or sharp objects such as bits of broken glass or shards of ice. Another common culprit is road salt that's used by municipalities for the purpose of melting snow and ice to promote safer driving conditions. Following are three best practices for keeping your canine companion's nails healthy and strong.
Consider Booties When Exercising Your Furry Friend Outside
Wearing a sturdy, well-fitting set of booties when your dog is outdoors provides a proactive defense for environmental stressors that may cause damage to the area. Many pet owners believe that booties are only really necessary when surface temperatures are below freezing, but hot weather comes with its own set of problems with the potential to cause damage to your pet's feet and nails. Hot pavement, hot metal grates on city sidewalks, and hot sand at the beach can also cause direct or indirect damage to your pet's nails.
Inspect Your Pet's Feet and Nails on a Regular Basis
Inspecting your dog's feet on a regular basis should be an essential component of your daily care routine and should include a brief look at the nails to make sure that none of them have become broken or chipped. A damaged nail is at risk of becoming infected, which can cause considerable discomfort to your pet as well as result in costly veterinary bills and medication.
Have Your Dog's Nails Trimmer By a Professional Pet Groomer
Dogs should have their nails trimmed on a regular basis, particularly those who don't regularly walk on hard surfaces such as pavement. However, pet owners often fail to perform this procedure properly, which can result in damage to living tissue within the outer part of the nail, commonly known as "the quick." A trained groomer will know how to trim your pet's nails while leaving the quick intact. Contact a dog groomer for more information.