Can long nails make a dog limp?

Oh yes!  Totally. Long nails can make a dog limp.

When a dog nails get too long,  they don’t only make walking difficult but also painful. In this article, we will see why long nails cause limping and what to do to treat the condition.

Can long nails make a dog limp?

How long nails can affect a dog?

Long dog’s nails cause deformed feet. They turn a healthy paw into a broad and scattered foot resulting in improper posture. A dog’s nails must be cut at a short quick length or they can bring trouble in so many ways.

Long nails are not only unhealthy but they also cause a lot of other problems too. Some of them are

  • Deformed feet
  • Injured paw
  • Scarring on foot
  • Wounds
  • Broken nails
  • Brittle nails
  • Nails bent sideways (also read dog nails bent sideways)
  • Limping
  • Reluctance in movement
  • Bone deformities
  • Bad posture

Can a dog limp from long nails?

Sometimes when nails are left untrimmed for a long time,  their length exceeds the paw. Nails start curving and cause discomfort to the dog. When long nails touch the ground, you will notice a visible difference in the dog’s gait.

Long nails can make a dog limp in so many ways. How? Here are some of the reasons

Gripping problems

While walking, dogs use their nails to have a firm grip. This gives them control over their movement. With long nails,  it’s difficult for a dog to have a grip on the ground. So a dog adjusts its paw in a scattered position. Long nails cause paw fingers to spread out which affects paw formation. As a result, a dog’s gait will change into limping.

Broken toenails

Long nails are more prone to breakage. When a nail breaks,  it can bleed. Even if the nail is not broken from the quick part,  the half-attached nail can cause injury to the paw itself. This can make your dog limp.

Bent nails

When nails grow,  they can bend sideways. You can see dog nails bent sideways picture to have a clear idea of how they can make the movement difficult.

A dog will try to adjust his walk in a way that bent nails don’t cause pain. It may look like that your dog is limping.


There is an obvious answer to the question “can long nails cause a dog pain”?. Yes, Long nails are painful. While walking,  they continuously click on the ground and hurt from the root. That pain can even make your dog reluctant to move at all. (Also read dog nails clicking on the floor).

Improper posture

As long nails can change your dog’s gait permanently. This could result in improper posture and cause bone deformity in dogs. Dogs who have bad posture can have balance adjustment problems while walking. So they will have a limping movement.

Injury in paw cushion

Long nails can reach paw cushions and cause injury while walking. Your dog can’t move easily when nails are hurting the paw cushion. This will trigger inflammation and your dog will either have limping movement or will stop walking at all.

What should you do to make your dog stop limping?

There is no big science in how to treat your limping dog at home. When long nails are the reason your dog is limping

Simply cut them

  • You need to follow a nail care routine for your dog. Cut your dog’s nails to protect their paws. Nail care neglect may seem an unimportant thing but it can cause irreversible damage to dogs. (Also read long dog nail neglect).
  • Correct dog nail length is when the nail is cut right above from where the quick starts. You must cut the nail without damaging the quick part.
  • Some dogs need cutting more often than others. Usually, indoor living dogs need frequent trimming as they can bump their long nails. Active dogs who tend to walk on rough grounds have shorter nails than others.
  • Also, with age, your dog will grow lazy and you will need to mend his nails quite often.

File the nails

Nail filing keeps the edges smooth and blunt. You can use sandpaper to file your dog’s nails. (Also read what grit sandpaper for dog’s nails). When a dog scratches nails on sandpaper boards daily,  he might not need frequent nail cutting because the edges will stay trimmed and short.

Remove the broken nail

Long nails can wear and tear while walking. Sometimes they break but are still attached to the paw. These are dangerous and painful. Carefully cut the broken part and save your dog from trouble.

Deal the injury

If your dog’s feet are injured because of long nails, carefully sanitize the area with disinfectant and apply a bandage. Your dog may need proper rest before walking again. Walking on inured paw can trigger inflammation and infection. Let your dog heal before the warrior is ready to rise again.

Dog limping and no pain when touched

Mostly when long nails cause Limping,  rarely this is a pain-free deal for dogs. There is always a sane reason for what makes your dog limp.

If your dog has suddenly started limping,  check his paws and feet. Even if the injury is minor or you can treat the condition at home,  still contact your vet. (Also read puppy front leg shaking).

When your dog will recover from limping caused by long nails

If just long nails are causing limping,  cutting them will make the difference within a day. However,  mostly long nails damage a dog’s paw. So the injury might take a week to heal. But sooner or later your dog will be fine as new. Just maintain the nail care routine to avoid future consequences.

Dog limping on and off

When a dog limps because of long nails, usually the condition persists until you treat the condition. When a dog limps on and off,  this means he is having a muscle strain. Improper posture causes this problem in dogs.

Nail neglect can cause bad pose and bone deformities in dogs. So if the dog is limping after nails are clipped,  this is due to broken ligament or muscle strain caused by slumping and drooling posture.

Conclusion :

Long nails can cause injury in feet and limp in your dog but with a proper nail care routine, you can easily prevent it.

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