Most dogs have very large claws, even if they're a small breed. While these claws are useful in helping a dog to grip the ground, walk steadily, and hunt, they can also potentially harm your pet. Read on to learn more about the danger of ingrown claws and what you should do if your dog has them.
A dog's claws become ingrown when they're so long that they poke into the dog's pads. Initially, they may just touch the pads, but with enough time, they can puncture the pads. This can not only hurt your dog but potentially cause bleeding and infection. Your dog's claws should be regularly trimmed in order to prevent this from happening.
Most pet owners notice that a dog has ingrown claws when they limp or leave bloody footprints. You can also determine if your dog has ingrown claws by examining his feet while he's on his back. If your dog has puncture wounds or scars over his pads or his claws are actively stuck in his pads, you need to seek medical attention.
Prevent Walking And Additional Damage to Paws
Once you've discovered that your dog has ingrown claws, you'll need to see a vet. However, getting there should be handled carefully. Every step your dog takes will put pressure on the claws, driving them further into their feet. This could increase your dog's risk of developing an infection or puncturing a vein that will cause them to bleed.
If at all possible, carry your dog to your car or put him in a carrier or cage to bring him to the vet. If your dog is too big to carry, you can place some gauze under your dog's claws to help prevent them from puncturing their pads while they walk to the car and into the vet's office.
Thankfully, treating ingrown claws is usually a fairly straight-forward process. Your vet will examine the damage and determine how to remove the claws. In most cases, your vet will clean the pads with antiseptic and then clip the claws, carefully removing them. They'll repeat the antiseptic step and inject your dog with an antibiotic to prevent infection or to fight any active infection they've developed.
Alternatively, if your dog's claws are extremely long and embedded in their paw, surgery may be necessary. This means your vet will have to operate on your dog to carefully cut the pad open to remove the excess claw and any fragments that may have broken off inside the paw pads. However, most dogs won't be able to walk by the time their claws are at this point, so chances are your dog won't need this kind of intensive care.
If your dog's claws regularly become overgrown, a visit to a pet groomer may be in order to keep their claws at a tidy and safe length. Alternatively, ask a vet like Ark Veterinary Hospital to show you how to keep your dog's claws trimmed at home so that you never encounter this problem again.