Can long toenails hurt my dog with arthritis?

Foot care is a critical part of an arthritis management plan

It is very important to keep toenails trimmed short! Over-grown nails will change the biomechanics of the digits and could lead to arthritis in the toes. Long nails will also prevent dogs from getting traction on slick floors.

Ideally, you should trim your dog’s nails regularly (at least once a month). You might find that using a Dremel tool is easier for your dog (and less likely to accidentally cut into the “quick”!). If possible, start getting your dogs comfortable with a Dremel tool (or any nail cutting tool) from a young age. Don’t worry, older dogs can still learn to tolerate nail trimming by using a lot of high-value rewards and patience.

It may take months to train your dog to be comfortable with nail trimming, but in the end, it will be worth it! If trimming nails at home is just not possible, make sure your scheduling regular trims with your groomer.

And if your dog has long hair, or feathers, between their pads, make sure you trim that regularly as well to improve foot traction.