Too long claws are the cause of many problems – pressing the claw into the claw bed with every step is painful for the dog and it will shift the weight back to avoid the pain. With further consequences like tensions, overloading up to Arthritis, some dogs refuse suddenly even up to then problem-free movements like the stair running or jumps e.g. into the car. With sports dogs, it is all the more important to check the claw length regularly, because the strains e.g. in agility are even higher than in everyday life.
With each dog the length should be observed – if a clear clack clack clack is to be heard already when putting on the paw and one hears like the claws laterally away-slip with rolling, then this is usually an unmistakable indication for too long claws. I check my dogs at least once a month – the younger one has claws growing faster, which have to be shortened more often, the older one is only due every 3 months.
Does every dog have a problem with claws growing too long?
The “ideal” claw is almost triangular, with no narrow extension at the tip and no pronounced hook at the end. Due to various factors, claws can even grow in a circle if completely neglected, but also for a long time forward, which in both cases hinders rolling. Not all dogs grow claws to a problematic length, partly due to natural wear and tear, partly because the dogs nibble off the claws themselves. The predisposition, breed, feeding habits, intensity of movement and the ground on which the dog walks also play an important role. Front paws are affected more often than hind paws. Small dogs and seniors are affected more often and should be checked regularly – especially in old age it is important that the dog can stand straight.
What is the ideal length?
The claws should not touch the ground at rest (dog standing straight, front legs under the shoulders), you should be able to pull a piece of paper underneath. If at the end a clear hook can be felt, then this should be shortened so that the dog cannot get caught anywhere with it and the claw can tear itself out. Some claws also grow quite straight, so that even if the claws are too long a leaf still fits under them – but you can hear this when rolling and you can also see that the toes bend to the side.