How Often Should I Trim My Dog's Nails?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

As a dog owner, you need to pay attention to your pet’s hygiene, especially when paws and nails are considered. Left untrimmed, a dog’s nails can grow to the point where they can cause some serious problems and discomfort. A regular part of your pet’s “beauty” routine will be to keep those nails trimmed and taken care of, in addition to things such as bathing, brushing, cleaning their teeth, and so on. But one major question remains – how often should you do it? Most owners are not really sure if there's such a thing as trimming their dog’s nails too frequently and how often they should file them down to ensure they are always neat. Read on to clear up any confusion about nail trimming for dogs!

Dog Nail Trimming FAQ

Failing to keep your dog’s nails trimmed can be a big issue and cause many problems for your beloved pet. Ingrown nails can make walking difficult and even create wounds on the paws. Not only will your pet be in pain and discomfort, but they will also move less and can become obese and depressed – all because of those pesky nails.

The frequency of trimming your dog's nails depends on several factors, including your dog's activity level, breed, age, and the type of surfaces they regularly walk on. In general, dogs that are more active and spend a lot of time walking on hard surfaces like concrete may naturally wear down their nails more, requiring less frequent trimming. However, for most dogs, regular nail maintenance is essential to prevent discomfort, injury, and other potential problems associated with overgrown nails.

Here are a few general guidelines to help you determine just how often you should trim those nails!

  • Consider Your Pet’s Breed and Size:

It should not be a surprise to know that the growth of nails can be directly related to your pet’s breed and size. Curiously, smaller doggos can have a much faster rate of nail growth compared to large breeds. Also, some dog breeds can have the so-called “fifth nail”, on the inner side of their front paws. These tend to grow faster, so more frequent trimming might be needed. 

  • Observe the Obvious Signs:

There should be some pretty straightforward signs to indicate that it is time to trim those nails. The most obvious one is the clicking of the nails on a hard surface. When your pet walks on a hard surface such as tiles or hardwood floors, clicking sounds and slipping should be indicative of nails that are too long. Of course, if your pet shows signs of discomfort in the paws, such as licking them or refusing to stand properly, it could also be a potential sign.

  • Consider the Activity Levels:

Some doggos are more active than others. Generally speaking, dogs that are very active and spend time running on hard surfaces tend to naturally wear down their nails. Pavement, for example, can be just like sandpaper - it will grind the nails down in no time, saving you some time and effort. So grab that leash and count those steps, ‘cause it can make your life so much easier when it comes to nail trimming!

Ultimately, the ideal nail trimming schedule for your dog will be unique to their specific needs. Regular monitoring and adjusting the frequency as needed will help keep your dog's nails at a healthy length. Of course, you will need adequate tools as well. If you want to make it as professional as possible, a full dog nail trimming kit will be the best choice. But even a simple clipper can be enough to keep those nails tidy.

If you, at any moment, find it difficult to trim your pet’s nails with ease, don’t be afraid to seek some professional assistance. Consult a professional groomer or your veterinarian. They can demonstrate the proper technique and help you establish a schedule. With proper assistance, your pet’s paws will be as good as new!

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

More by Angela Vuckovic