How to Make a Dog's Nail Quick Recede
Identifying a Dog's Quick
What time is it when you hear Rover's nails clicking on the kitchen floor as he walks? It's definitively time for a nail trim! As much as this sounds like a riddle, in real life, long nails can lead to a multitude of problems. For starters, when you allow those nails to grow long for too much, the nails become frail, and easy to fracture, and since long nails allow the quick to grow along with the nail, it can lead to pain, bleeding and a possible infection. On top of that, long nails may also cause your dog to walk in an irregular way which in the long run may lead to skeletal problems. If your dog's nails have grown too long, don't try to cut them short all at once. Instead, ask your vet or groomer for help. Chances are, the nails will need to be cut a little bit at a time so to allow the quick to recede.
What's the quick exactly? A dog's nails are composed by the nail and a soft cuticle rich in blood vessels and nerves known as the quick. If you own a dog with light-colored nails, it will be quite easy to identify the quick as it's a pinkish area in the center of the nail. In dark-colored nails identifying the quick can be tricky and trimming them can be a bit of a challenge. See the picture above to identify the quick.
When you fail to trim your dog's nails as frequently as needed, the quick grows along with the nail. In some cases, when the nails are extra-long, the quick may lengthen so much that it reaches the tip. When this happens, you won't be able to trim much nail without risking cutting through the quick. Don't try to trim those nails short all at once! Ask your veterinarian or groomer to show you how to gradually trim the nail and encourage the quick to recede so Scruffy can start to walk comfortably again.
What if You Accidentally Cut the Quick?
In your effort to help the quick recede, you may accidentally cut through the quick. This will cause pain and bleeding. In such a case, don't panic. You didn't cut through a major artery and your dog won't bleed to death, unless he has an underlying bleeding disorder you are not aware of. In such a scenario, follow the directions outlined in my hub: Tips for a Dog Broken Nail
How to Make Your Dog's Nail Quick Recede
If your dog's nails are very long and the quick is very close to the tip of the nail, you may have no other choice than simply trimming the very tip of the nail to avoid bleeding and pain. Ask your vet or groomer to show you how much you can cut for the very first times. After trimming that little bit of nail, generally, within seven days, the quick should have receded enough to allow you to trim off another little bit of nail again according to the book "The Everything Puppy Book: Choosing, Raising, and Training Our Littlest Best." Consider that each time you trim that nail a little bit more every week, the quick should gradually recede farther and farther up into the nail bed. Your ultimate goal in this case is to have the quick recede more and more so you can allow your dog the luxury to finally have healthier, shorter and stronger nails. The secret to this is to, therefore, give frequent, gradual nail trims.
Another helpful way to allow the quick to recede naturally is to allow your dog to walk on hard, abrasive surfaces. The constant pressure on the ground allows the quick to recede towards the nail. If you think about it, how did dogs in the wild live without seeing the groomer to get those infamous nail trims? The secret was constant walking and running on hard surfaces. Add on top of that digging too. Consider though that if you're planning to make the quick recede and your dog is not used to walking, running and exercising on concrete, he may develop blisters and abrasions on his paws according to St. Bernard's Animal Medical Center. Also, if his nails are too long they may split and fracture. Gradual exposure goes a long way. With time, your dog's paw pads should toughen up and the nails should grow stronger and stay shorter.
What's the perfect length of your dog's nails? Ideally, the nails should be short enough so to not touch the ground when the dog is standing on a firm, level surface, but should be long enough to aid the dog when climbing up a hill or digging, according to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation.
If you're wondering how long it takes for the nail to recede, the answer is it depends. Just as humans, a dog's nails may vary from one dog and another. Some dogs have nails that grow faster, thicker and longer than others. It also depends on your dog's activity levels, age, location and breed. For instance, the more active the dog, the likelier to have shorter nails. Also, if your dog lives indoors and walks on carpets or outdoors on soft, grassy areas for most of the day, the higher the chances for long, brittle nails and long quicks.
If you don't feel to comfortable in trimming your dog's nails and want to have those quicks to recede fast, you can ask your vet for help. Some vets are willing to sedate or anesthetize your dog for the purpose of trimming those nails way back. This means, the vet will expose the quick and cauterize the quick to reduce bleeding. Ideally, this should be done when your dog is gong under for some other medical procedure such as a dental cleaning. Because the nails are cut way back, expect your dog to have some pain after the procedure.
- The Everything Puppy Book: Choosing, Raising, and Training Our Littlest Best; Carlo De Vito, Amy Ammen
- Everything Daschund Book: A Complete Guide To Raising, Training, And Caring; Joan Hustace Walker
- St. Bernard's Animal Medical Center: The Quick and the Dead: Nail Trims
- American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation: Feet on The Ground
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
I rescued my pugs. Their nails were very long. It's been two years of weekly dremmeling. And one cauterizing under surgery a year ago. The ones pugs' quicks refuse to shrink. I thought I'd dreamed along the nail side to allow air to touch the quick. She is a good girl and lets me, but I'm at a loss. Do you have any ideas?
To recede the quick, you will need to dremel once a week for about 1-2 months. This will only remove a small amount each week. Daily walks on concrete can also help in filing down the nails.Helpful 23