New pet owners often hear horror stories about someone's cat clawing up furniture or ruining clothing, which can make the choice to get a dog seem very practical. However, dogs have nails that are just as likely to cause damage if not trimmed regularly, even if those dogs don't actively look for things to use as a scratching post. Trimming the nails off an animal that could start thrashing around at any point can be nerve-wracking, and that leads many pet owners to avoid going near the pet's nails. Don't do that -- you could harm the pet more by letting those nails grow. If you're truly nervous about clipping your dog's nails, take the dog to a groomer.
It's Not Just the Floor
Yes, long dog nails can ruin your floor. But they can also ruin your legs if the dog has not yet been trained not to jump on people -- you can end up with scratched clothing and skin. When dog nails aren't trimmed, but the dog doesn't run around on hard surfaces like concrete enough, the ends can become sharp, ragged, and even split, resulting in shards that hurt. Trimming cleans these up, removes ragged edges, and ensures there are no surrounding problems because someone is able to see the dog's paws on a regular basis.
Curling Back Around
One other issue is that, if the nails are left to grow, they can start curling back in toward the dog's paws. If they curl in enough, the edges can cut the dog's paws and increase the risk of infection.
Pressure, too, is a major problem for dogs with nails that are too long. Dogs' nails don't sit on the paw above the ground -- the nails grow and curve down so that the ends constantly hit the ground. If the nails are too long, the pressure each time a paw hits the ground can radiate back up through the dog's legs, creating joint pain.
It's not worth it to avoid clipping your dog's nails -- your pet deserves better than to have painful paws. If you're not going to learn how to clip them yourself, or if your dog refuses to stay still, have a groomer handle the dog's nails (in addition to you seeking behavioral help for the dog). Groomers know how to handle active and frightened dogs and how to cut the nails properly. Your dog will be happier and healthier with these steps.
Contact a service, like Sylvan Corner Pet Hospital, for more help.