Nails being trimmed on an English Labrador

Why It’s Important to Keep Your Labrador’s Nails Trimmed

In June 10, 2023
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Long nails affect your lab in more ways than you might realize.  Keeping them trimmed short is so imperative. Many people are nervous to cut them by themselves and cut too short, but trust me… that’s better than leaving them too long!

Willow- Endless Mt. Labradors

Willow (Quill x Manny)

A dog’s nails are connected to their entire skeletal system.  When they get too long it cause them to walk improperly which can lead to pain and soreness, and eventually attribute to arthritis.  Furthermore, long nails can be accidentally broken while running or playing outside, and that can be very painful… especially if it breaks below the quick.

Outdoor exercise alone is usually not enough for most house pets to keep the nails at a short length.  So getting used to, and getting your dog used to, nail trimming is very important.  Starting out as a puppy is the best thing.  When you play with your pup, be sure to touch his/her feet often and touch the tips of their toenails.  This helps them become more comfortable with you handling their feet so that they will be still while you trim their nails.  Some use grinders, some use nail clippers.  Either or, it’s all about making it a comfortable experience for the dog so that you feel more comfortable doing it.

Where to trim the nail…

            When looking at your dog’s toenail, you’ll see that it comes straight out and then begins to curve down.  Right where it curves, is where you want to trim at a 45 degree angle.  If the nails are clear, like with most yellows, you can see the quick.  If you hit the quick, it can start to bleed.  Just keep a Styptic powder or gel, like Quick Stop, on hand to stop the bleeding.  Don’t let this stop you from trimming their nails, or they will pay the consequences…  The more often you trim the nails, the better.  Letting a dog’s nails grow out also allows the quick to grow out, so it’s that much harder to trim them back.

Deke- Endless Mt. Labradors

Deke (Jane x Scotch) getting his nails clipped 🙂

Sometimes it helps to have two people there so one can pet and distract the dog while the other clips the nails.  Having them lay right on their side, like Deke above, is typically an easy position.  While getting them used to this procedure, be sure to praise them and give them treats when you get the nail clippers out so that they see it as a pleasant experience! (And one that gets them cookies!! :-D)

Common deformities caused by neglected nails–this can move up into the whole paw, hock, elbow, and hip joint eventually!


Need some good nail clippers? We use ones like these!

Click here for other tips on caring for your Labrador!

A helpful video from Dr. Karen Becker on nail trimming!


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