Long Dog Nails Neglect

Dogs need consistent grooming and trimming nails is one of them. We will count “Longdog nails” into neglect because they can bring health concerns that you might be unaware of. Trust us seemingly harmless nails could turn out to be very painful for pups.

dog nails too long surgery

How much dog nail length does not count in neglect?

You must understand your pups’ nail anatomy here. A dog’s nail consists of two parts. The outer hard shell needs to be cut off and the inner pinkish part that has nerves and blood supply. If a dog nail is cut from the inner portion called quick, it will be very painful and discomforting for a dog.

Even bleeding can occur if you careless trim or cut the quick part. So the best length of a dog’s nail is till the outer part. To observe quick, look closely and it will be more pinkish.

Why you should not neglect long dog nails?

Long nails can make your dog very uncomfortable. It can cause injuries,  health problems, and sometimes irreversible damage to their body.

  • Untrimmed nails also cause an uneven grip on the ground. This can make your dog clumsy while moving around.
  • If nails are neglected for long periods, it can permanently change dog gait and can lead to bone deformities. (Read puppy front leg shaking)
  • Neglecting nail grooming can cause an infection that might lead to permanent damage to the dog’s feet.
  • Nails can bump here and there and a dog’s feet can get injured.
  • Also, some dogs are in habit of scratching the ground, long nails can flip outwards causing swelling and pain. Ouch! (Read why does my dog scratch carpet in the middle of the night)
  • If not trimmed regularly, the nails can wear down and even split to the quick. This can cause infection in your dog’s feet.
  • Sometimes the whole nail can wear off and this is going to be very painful for a pup. Your dog may need surgery to repair the damage.
  • Neglecting Dewclaw can cause many health issues for dogs. (Read our article dewclaw removal recovery)
  • If you have kids at home, long dog nails are dangerous. Your dog might unintentionally hurt children while playing. For aggressive puppies, you must be very careful about their nail grooming. (Read when do golden retrievers stop biting)

How to fix neglected long dog nails? 

You must fix long dog nails. Neglecting them can cause skin and nail infections in dogs. Do this carefully or it can be painful for dogs. To fix neglected long dog nails

  • Prepare your dog. By preparing means, both you and your dog must be in a comfortable position. We recommend sitting in a position facing each other. This will help you to hold your dog’s paw with care.
  • Whatever you are using to trim nails, must be held carefully.
  • Feel your dog’s nails. It will help you to know about the quick part.
  • While cutting the nails, be confident, cut once, and make sure your hands don’t tremble because of nervousness.
  • The nails should be long enough to be seen on the paw and short enough to be at a paw level.
  • After trimming or cutting sessions, reward your dog for being a good pup.  This will encourage him to offer his paw again for cutting nails. Sometimes when dogs are scared,  they can move paws which may result in cutting down the quick part.

How to tell if dog nails are too long?

Well,  this is pretty easy. Your dog nails should not look like a monstrous claw. Regularly trimmed nails are healthy and convenient for your dog. However,

  • If the nails are too curvy
  • Are touching the ground
  • Have sharp pointy edges
  • If while walking, you hear the sound of your dog’s long nails tapping on the floor.
  • Nails get stuck in carpets or fabrics while playing
  • Your dog licks his paws often
  • Feet are swollen or tender

These are the signs that your dog’s nails are long.

For hairy dogs, you might not be able to see nails but you need to check them regularly. As soon as they start curling, it’s time to trim them off.

When you should cut your long dog nails?

  • Dogs need nail grooming after every 3-4 weeks. This is more than just for beautifying purposes. It is a matter of your dog’s safety and well-being.
  • To cut down the long dog nails safely, use scissors, trimmers, or grinders. To prevent cutting the quick,  cut till the curve. Don’t go deep down. Regular trimming will help you understand where you should cut your dog’s nails.
  • Your dog nail must be trimmed to a length where it doesn’t touch the ground. The nails should be at paw level.

What if you cut quick too?

This is an oops moment and is painful. The feeling is the same as when we cut our nail part that is attached to the skin. It causes that burning feeling and your dog might get scared too.

If you have accidentally cut down quick part,

  • It may bleed. Use corn starch or styptic powder to stop bleeding.
  • Hug your puppy and caress him because he is in pain. (Also Read dog in pain after glands expressed).
  • Don’t try to cut the nails again till the dog is calm and relaxed. Your dog can permanently get scared and annoyed.

Dog nails curled into paw?

This sounds like serious neglect. You must have ignored trimming nails for months. That is why they have curled up into paws. Your dog movement is surely not normal anymore.

When nails are curled into paws,  dogs move like tiptoeing.  Also, sometimes they slip off on the floor because they can’t grip anymore.

The continuous growth of nails will hurt the dog’s paw and it may invite skin problems and infections too. (Read diabetic dog skin problems)

Dog nails can even bend sideways and may require you to take more corrective measures. In some cases long dog nails may even require surgery.

Healthy dog nails vs unhealthy

Keep in mind that long nails don’t necessarily mean unhealthy nails. Unhealthy nails can be symptoms of other underlying diseases too.

You can tell if your dog nails are healthy or not. The dog nails are unhealthy and not ok if they are

  • Brittle
  • Broken
  • Longer and curly than paw length
  • Seems lifeless (shiny nails means healthy pup)
  • If there are marking or stains on nails


You must not neglect long dog nails.  If not trimmed, they can cause skin infections and sometimes permanent damage to your dogs’ feet.

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