A Guide to Nail Trimming

To trim or not to trim.. a guide to the importance of a well-trimmed nail.

It is quite easy to lose track of how long our pet’s nails can grow, but we can also lose sight of how long nails for long periods can affect their overall well-being in the long run. It becomes even more evident with a senior dog who potentially already has some mobility concerns like arthritis.

Over the summer months, nails will often keep themselves fairly worn by regular walking and playing on hard outside surfaces, but during the winter months, we must do more trimming to keep them short and safe.

When you look at your dog standing, are their nails touching the floor? Chances are they are too long. When in standing directly over the pads of their feet, nails should ideally not be touching the ground. As soon as nails are long enough to be touching the ground, they are now affecting how your pet distributes their weight when moving around, and can put undue stress on their joints over time. Long nails are also extremely susceptible to getting caught on things or breaking.

nail trim guide

Nails too long? Is it hopeless? Not at all! With regular trimming, it is possible to tame those nails back to a more manageable length. We understand how daunting it can be, especially if you’re dealing with those wacky black nails! The best advice we can give you is to take your time. If you have to space out the trimmings to one paw a day, so be it. Or if it is just too much, schedule a nail trim at your veterinary hospital or groomer to put your mind, and your pet’s paws, at ease.

Written by Roberta Ronald



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Last updated: August 3, 2021

Dear Clients,

In order to maintain everyone's safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following procedures have been implemented:

If you have a fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, nasal congestion, loss of sense of smell, sore throat, painful swallowing, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, chills, or fever we ask that you do not attend your pet's appointment.

If you have been instructed to self isolate for 14 days due to travel from Eastern Canada, travelled outside of Canada, had contact with someone known to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or are waiting for COVID-19 test results we ask that you do not attend your pet's appointment.


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Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at St. Vital Veterinary Hospital