For most Chihuahua dogs, nail trimming will need to be done every three months. While walking can file down nails somewhat, it will do so at an uneven rate, leaving some slanted and some longer than others. Nails left to grow can cause several issues for a Chihuahua including:
- Ingrown nails
- Irregular gait that, over time can cause skeletal damage
Trimming a Chihuahua's nails can be intimidating for many owners who are afraid to hurt their dog by accidentally cutting too short and hitting the quick (a vein that runs down the center of each nail).
With other Chi's that are hyper and have a hard time sitting still, this can be quite an undertaking. Each owner will need to decide if this is a grooming task best left for a professional dog groomer.
While there is some cost to this, for some it is the best choice since a groomer can perform this very quickly, leaving both owner and dog with less stress. In addition, many groomers will also check anal glands during a visit and be able to express them or take care of any other grooming element.
If you decide to take care of your Chihuahua's nails at home, be sure to have quality tools and keep them clean.
Some Chi's do best with a grinder. While it does make some noise, it is often a fast method to file the nails down quickly. If using a standard clipper, it is suggested to have septic powder on hand, which is commonly used to stop bleeding, should the quick be accidentally nicked.
If you have never trimmed a dog's nails before, when you are searching for a proper nail trimming tool, make sure to read how each one works. If you are going to trim the nail yourself, be careful to trim a bit at a time.
Each nail has a vein that runs through the middle of it, this is called the "quick". If cut, it will bleed quite a bit. You may use a solution that helps to stop the bleeding.
Some Chi's will have dew claws already removed while a newborn, long before going to their new home. However, in some cases, this procedure has not been done and it will be up to the owner to weigh the benefits of having them removed.
Dewclaws are the extra nails that are located very high on the side of a dog's paw. They are so high, that some describe them as being located on the dog's leg. With young puppies
, these are very small, soft nails. As a Chihuahua grows older, these slowly grow into what can be described as an extra thumb.
Most breeders have these removed at a very young age (during the first week) when it is a very simple procedure that causes little discomfort. Once a Chihuahua matures, the procedure becomes more and more complicated. For an adult Chi, the dewclaw is actually considered an appendage and removal is the equivalent to an amputation. For this reason, if a puppy still retains his dewclaws, owners should make decision to remove while the pup is still young.
Left intact, they can easily catch on fabrics, often tearing and causing quite a bit of discomfort. These types of injuries can take a lot of time to heal and there is also risk of infection.