Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dog Longevity Survey Part II: How Important Is Nail Trimming to Longevity?

Everybody who took the survey agrees that nail trimming is important to longevity at least to some degree. Really? Did people check that just because it was listed in the survey? Or is there another reason?


Extremely important33.33%
Important53.33%
Somewhat important13.33%
Not important  0.00%
I don't know  0.00%
Other  0.00%

Yes, keeping your dog's nails short is important


Severely neglected nails can easily split, break, get infected, even grow into flesh. While nails can wear down by running on various hard surfaces, how many dogs exercise enough on such surfaces for that to keep their nails at the right length?

Your dog's nails should be short enough, so they don't touch the ground when the dog is walking.


Longer nails exert force back into the nail bed, creating pain and pressure on the toe joint. Long nails affect weight distribution. Long nails send faulty information to the brain, resulting in chronically bad posture and altered gait. You can check out Dr. Buzby's article on the subject.

Do you think that bad posture and altered gain don't come with consequences?


Compromised weight distribution and alignment makes your dog more susceptible to injuries.

And what do you think happens to the spine with chronically bad posture? And how all body systems respond to compromised communication due to the misaligned spine? Chiropractor, anyone? And that's not even considering the Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) view and how something as simple as nails that are too long can affect energy flow for the whole body.

But it's just nails?


Let's take another look. If all long nails did was to make your dog uncomfortable when walking, they'll be more reluctant to do so. You might be looking at less exercise, more obesity, and more related issues. If all long nails did was to cause improper posture and altered gait, you might be looking at a higher incidence of musculoskeletal injuries. If improper posture messed with spinal alignment, you might be looking at compromised nerve conduction which in term can affect anything else in the body. And looking at it from the TCVM perspective, same applies.

Does all that really happen that way?


Maybe. If nothing else, the nails seem to be one piece of the puzzle of health. I don't know about you, but I'll make sure my dog(s)' nails are well trimmed. If nothing else, they will be happier for it.

Related articles:
Dog Longevity Survey Part I
Dog Longevity Survey Part II
Dog Longevity Survey Part I Results
How Important Is Weight Management for Longevity?
How Important Is Diet for Longevity?
How Important are Regular Baths to Longevity?
How Important is Time Outdoors to Longevity?


Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?


Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.



An award-winning guide to better understanding what your dog is telling you about their health, Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, is available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

26 comments

  1. Proper grooming including nail trimming IS important. Could you imagine if your own nails were way too long? How can you properly keep up proper hygiene and function? Same with out pets. When the nails are too long it hits the floor, makes them uncomfortable and also snags on anything they want to touch. I've seen it happen where my cats would get caught and unable to free themselves if I wasn't around. Keeping nails short is a must.

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    1. Yes, it can lead to injuries and all sorts of problems.

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  2. It's so funny because nail trimming is the only thing Monte will not let us do for him. So we go to have them done. Every 3 weeks! He always acts like it's the BIGGEST insult. A well.

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    1. Nothing wrong with cheating by having somebody else do it. I have a major stigma with nail trimming; terrified of getting the quick. So we cheat when we can too; presently having our PT do it :-)

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  3. I can't stand long nails. I work on a keyboard all day and imagine, for dogs, that pressure is even worse! I take my guys to the groomer to have nails trimmed in between their 'all over' sessions.

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    1. It is. Though I have to admit I often let my own nails get too long ;-)

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  4. I try to keep my pups nails trimmed in between grooming visits. I admit I do not do a great job out of fear of hurting them BUT they do get them done well when they go to the groomer. I figure it is better to keep them trimmed a little in between better than nothing at all.

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    1. Yeah, me too; nail trimming petrifies me. So when we can we cheat by having somebody else do it :-)

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  5. I am sure that, as with cats, claw length must be an important part of a dog's general well being. How they move and hold themselves must impact on their wellbeing.

    I guess that it must be like humans in shoes. High heels are fashionable but not healthy, but I have a pair of platform soled sandals that are higher BUT my foot remains almost flat (not chronically elevated!) A High heel compromises our own weight distribution and I can only imagine what it would do to a poor dog!

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    1. Great analogy. I imagine long nails are like high heels that are wrong size on top of that.

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  6. It's amazing what an impact a dog's nails have on their health. I often remind my niece about cutting her dog's nails.

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    1. It is, isn't it? Very underappreciated issue.

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  7. It's important to keep our kitty claws clipped, too. At least that's what the peep SAYS. Since I'm not really given any choice in the matter, I suppose I'll just have to agree. MOUSES!

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    1. Right. Don't argue with the peeps :-)

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  8. Keeping nails trimmed is definitely important for dogs and cats too! I know my nails get on my nerves when they are too long, so I can only imagine what it must be like for a dog. Thanks for the reminder -- I need to go trim my dog's nails!

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  9. I don’t think I would have listed nails as important to longevity but after reading your explanation it makes total sense. I know it’s very important to keep cats nails trimmed because I can grow into the paw pads. I also know is extremely important for cats to retain their claws.

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    1. I was actually surprised that everybody voted them as important. But, when you look at it closely, they are.

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  10. Great information. I try to keep my dog's nails trimmed, but she hates it when I trim them. It's best to start when they are very young so they get used to the process. When my springer did agility trials, my trainer had me trim her nails weekly!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, many dogs hate it. Even more people do. Donna Hill has some great videos how to change that.

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  11. I am working with a dremel every few days to keep Gusto's nails nice and short. It is a safer method for me to use since my eyes aren't what they used to be when I was grooming dogs and I like the end result of having a smooth nail that won't click on or scratch the hardwood floors. Gusto stands up nice and proud too with shorter nails.

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    1. Yeah ... we actually got a dremel but haven't tried it yet :-)

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  12. Nelly and Sophie are pretty compliant when it comes to nail trims, but Theo is very much against it. I have to take him to the vet. He's gotten much better over the years, but he still squirms.

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  13. Such good girls. Our guys always put up with whatever we want to do to them; it's not them who has the problem with it, it's us :-)

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  14. Nail trimming is particularly important for Corgis because long nails can cause changes in their posture which can put them at risk for hurting their backs. Thank you for sharing this important message!

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  15. Great post! A lot of people overlook doing their dog's nails!!

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