Nailed It: Why Toenail Trims Matter

Jan 21, 2023

Good boy! We’ll take it from here.

Mani-pedi. Toenail trim. Claw clip.

Whatever you call it, it should be part of your pet’s normal wellness routine. But it should never be torture. At Eno, we’re experts at the craft of clipping.

Are Nail Trims Really That Important?

Nail trims are incredibly important! Pet nails are very different than our nails. Think about this: Your pet is practically walking on them. Do you know when you can hear your pet clicking around the house? You’re nodding vigorously? You get it. And if the nails are so long your pet actually is walking on them…ouch.

Walking on extra-long or curved nails will certainly cause pain. More importantly, it can also cause serious muscular and skeletal problems, since the uncomfortable way of walking changes your pet’s gait and throws off everything from his joints to his ligaments to even his spine.

Nails can also get so long as to curl under and grow right into your pet’s sensitive paw pads. So much ouch.

We know pet parents never want their fur babies to hurt. That’s why keeping your pet’s nails trimmed is so important to good health and happiness. If you’d like to do your pet’s mani-pedis yourself, we’re happy to give you tips on how to nail a nail trim. We’re also happy to perform nail trims on your fur baby at Eno.

Nail Trims 101

Nail trims are totally straightforward…in theory. In practice, they take a lot of skill! Pet nails have a vein, called a “quick,” running through them. This can sometimes make nail trimming tricky, especially if the nails are black and not clear.

We do our absolute best not to cut the nail vein, since “quicking” your pet will cause the nail to bleed and sting. Fun fact: We can tell we’re approaching the quick by examining the end of the nail. The quick will appear as a tiny dark circle in the very middle of the nail shaft.

Even if we accidentally quick a very wiggly pet, the discomfort is almost always minor and short-lived. In certain rare cases, quicking an anxious pet can result in life-long trauma. More on that soon.

a person cutting a dog's paw with a nail clipper<br />

Luckily, We’re Nail Trim Experts

First, we gently and comfortably restrain your pet, either in our arms, on a treatment table, or sitting on the floor. We often feed treats or peanut butter as a distraction and, well, a bribe! We believe in happy visits. Less stress, more love: We do anything we can to make fur babies happier here.

Nail trims usually require two assistants: a helper, or holder, and the team member actually performing the nail trim. Although the degree of restraint depends on exactly what the pet needs, the nail trimmer does need to be able to handle the pet’s paws.

Sometimes a pet is a “less is more” pet. This means the least amount of physical contact and restraint is best for that pet. We can absolutely accommodate this, plus almost any level of nail trim stress. A “less is more” pet will often let us perform a nail trim without any restraint whatsoever, just an assistant crouching on the floor with the nail trimmers and a helper feeding treats!

If your pet has particularly long quicks, we can carefully clip just the very tip of the nail (called “tipping”). We can also use a gentle sander, called a dremmel, to shave off just a few layers of each nail.

Super-Long Nails? We Can Still Help.

Your pet’s nails are super long, and you know they have to be trimmed…but how can we do it without cutting the quick? (First of all, you’re not a bad pet parent! Long nails just happen sometimes.)

Fun fact: Your pet’s quicks will actually recede, or grow shorter, with regular nail trims!

This means we can get even super-long nails down to a comfortable length without quicking your pet. All it takes is consistency and patience.

a person cutting a cat's paw<br />
Just bring your fur baby to see us every 4 weeks or so. We’ll carefully tip each nail, a little more each time, and within several months your pet’s quicks will have grown short enough for us to trim the nails back fully. Then you’re set for regular nail trims for life!

The Younger, the Better

Puppies and kittens desensitized to nail trims early do much better later in life when we need to handle their paws. As soon as you can, start rubbing and holding your fur baby’s feet!

Some pets are just incredibly paw-sensitive and stressed. Using our expert tricks for happy visits, we are almost always able to perform nail trims on nervous animals. But every now and then a pet is simply too scared.

No Drama, No Trauma

To be clear: We never force or hold down a terrified fur baby. For anything, for any reason. This only makes the situation worse. As animal lovers and pet parents ourselves, we would never abide by it.

Any animal stressed enough to suffer real trauma from a nail trim needs special attention, training, and care. That pet is not a bad pet! He or she is simply hypersensitive to stress and anxiety and fear.

We can offer expert tips for desensitizing a super-stressed pet. Keep in mind this process takes dedication, consistency, and lots of time. But it can be done!

We’ve seen several success stories of passionate pet parents who were able, little by little, to help their fur babies tolerate nail trims.

a dog lying on a person's lap<br />

Pamper Your Pet

Wasn’t this all fascinating information? We bet you’ll never think of nail trims the same way again! Keeping those claws clipped helps your pet live his or her best life.

We offer stand-alone nail trims and mani-pedis as part of every bath and groom. As always, call us if you need us!

We’re a Fear Free hospital because Fear Free is best medicine.