My dog keeps breaking his claws.

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My dog keeps breaking his claws.

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Old 12-12-2016, 04:36 PM
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My dog keeps breaking his claws.

Hello everyone.


First off yes Im a new member, I joined just now. Why? Because I need some help figuring this out. Im hoping if we put our heads together we can figure out something that is troubling my dog. (I know I can just go ask a local veterinarian but consulting the internet first is faster. Plus the closest clinic isn't even open now so.) I will give you all the relevant information regarding him and his claws in hopes we can all figure this out. To be honest Im at a loss and could use a second opinion and a fresh pair of eyes.


First off he is a mixed breed. He is a mix of Dalmatian, Labrador and Golden Retriever and he is six years old and about 5 months. He was born June 2010. He is completely health in every way. But you see my dog Ajas (I know that name sounds weird in English, but I live in Sweden and here it does not sound weird. Just saying. :P) he has a bad habit of continuously breaking his claws. Around four hours ago he broke his 5th one.


Now I have all the information on the time spans and when he broke his claws. He broke his first claw when he was about 18 months old, in December 2011. He broke his second one in April 2015. He broke his third in January 2016. And here is when the gaps get closer, the fourth one was in July 2016. And now today December 2016. So three claws in 1 year, that is probably not normal as far as I know.


Now I do not recall exactly which claws he has broken. Once he broke a claw on one of his hind legs. I believe that his first and second time was both on his hind legs. First time one hind leg one claw, second time the other hind leg and another claw. But both those times were his hind legs. Now in January was one of his claws on his front paws, not one of his dewclaws. He did however break one of his dewclaws now in July. And today he broke his second dewclaw on his other front paw. Oh and he only has two dewclaws, so none on his hind legs.


As I have stated he is completely healthy, besides for his bad habit to break his claws. This time today was more bad luck. I noticed about two weeks ago that he had a tiny splinter on his dewclaw. Which I filed away and it was fine, but there was also a very tiny crack. But then that crack got a little bit bigger, and a little bit bigger. And unfortunately when he was outside today he scratched the ground a lot. Im sure your familiar with your dogs loving to scrape up the ground behind them after doing their business, well my dog does that to. This time however he timed it badly and ended up damaging the dewclaw so much when he got indoors it was literally bent inwards.


Now I live with my parents and this time it was my dad who took Ajas out today on the walk that damaged his claw further. So this is the back story basically. Now for the dewclaw. I have cleaned it, it was bleeding somewhat. I have gently without placing it to tight or to loosely put bandage on, and for safety's sake Ajas is also wearing a cone. He has proven very skilled in the past at removing pesky bandage he doesn't want on his paws. So going with a cone to avoid that, plus his licking could make it worse.


Alright, now more questions to you all.
First of, now that you have all this information does anyone have any clue why he keeps breaking his claws?


As I have said he is completely healthy. And the veterinarians themselves have said he does not have weak or brittle claws. Now it could be a lack of vitamins I agree, I have already been told that is a possible cause. But as he is completely healthy and has no need for a special diet he should make do with the vitamins contained in his food. Which leads me to believe it is not the cause. Plus if he truly did have a lack of vitamins wouldn't that be evident in his physique by showing as for example, brittle claws? So I am not so certain that he is missing anything in his food. If so it would be evident in his fur, claws and just general health.


This break is different from his last once, I believe it is actually one of his better breaks. Now I did not have a chance to take a good look at it to really see exactly how deep or big the break was. I was a bit preoccupied with stopping the bleeding, cleaning it and getting some bandage on. But this also means I did not have the opportunity to take any pictures. However despite all this I think this is a good break, because it is quite exactly in the middle. So am I to optimistic to assume that its possible for the veterinarians to be able to salvage the claw above the break and only cut of the claw just at the break? Or would that mean that they would be cutting right through the quick? If that means they would have to cut right through the quick then I can see why it is not an option.


In the past the veterinarians have always had to remove the entire claw and leave just the quick. So the entire claw had to grow back again. But this time the break is not all the way up to the root. Which is why Im hopeful that they can leave the claw above the break and in a sense, cut it in half above the break.


Now I did not have a chance to take any pictures, but I have googled and found some similar looking pictures. Keep in mind these are only pictures of breaks that look similar to Ajas break. The pictures are not of his claw. I am only including these as it may help you to get a clear picture of the break. Oh beware these pictures are a bit nasty.


Now the picture with an entire paw on it. That is to show you about the angle of the claw right now. It is not at 90% degrees completely bent. Regarding how much the claw is bent that picture looks very similar. The second picture with only a claw is to show you about where the break is. Now just to be clear, neither of these two pictures are of my dog, they are from google.


I really apologize for the length of this post. I realize it is quite ridiculously long. xD :3 I want you to have all relevant information. This is kind of my investigation, a mystery to solve. And as with any investigation, the answer can only be found with all information. So I have just tried to give you all the information. I am really determined to figure out why this keeps happening. I suppose it can be just really bad luck but at the same time I doubt it. I know dewclaws are not as firmly attached as every other claw, so they are more susceptible to being damaged. But both dewclaws in approximately six months? I doubt that is common or very normal.


Now thank you to everyone who actually read all of this, I really appreciate it! And I hope you can help me figure out this medical mystery with my dogs claws.


/Kind Regards
Veronica
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Old 12-12-2016, 06:36 PM
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Do you cut your dogs nails regularly? When the dog stands, do his toes twist at all?

When I got my pup 2 months ago, his nails seemed very brittle - and too long. Had to take a small amount off every few nights over the course of a couple of weeks. Been applying coconut oil to the nails, whether it helped or not, not sure. They seem to be getting much better since switching to raw. They cut easily now.

What is your dog eating?

You can also buy dog nail caps, softpaws is one provider but there should be others.
https://www.softpaws.com/
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Old 12-13-2016, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagger View Post
Do you cut your dogs nails regularly? When the dog stands, do his toes twist at all?

When I got my pup 2 months ago, his nails seemed very brittle - and too long. Had to take a small amount off every few nights over the course of a couple of weeks. Been applying coconut oil to the nails, whether it helped or not, not sure. They seem to be getting much better since switching to raw. They cut easily now.

What is your dog eating?

You can also buy dog nail caps, softpaws is one provider but there should be others.
https://www.softpaws.com/


Right forgot to mention one of the more obvious things. We are keeping his claws short to try to avoid this happening again. In general his claws have been completely fine since we started keeping them short. But we get them cut every three months or so. We got them cut in October, and were planning to get them cut in January.

As for his food he eats regular dog food. I found exactly which food he is eating on google. So I am adding screenshots of the companies website on that food. Including a picture of what is actually in the food, regarding proteins and vitamins and such. And he weighs about 38 kilograms/83.7 pounds so he eats about 350 grams of that food a day.
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Old 12-13-2016, 08:34 AM
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All three of my boys get their nails clipped monthly at the groomers. Three months sounds awfully long to go between nail clippings.
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Old 12-13-2016, 09:13 AM
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All three of my boys get their nails clipped monthly at the groomers. Three months sounds awfully long to go between nail clippings.
Yes I agree it does sound like a long time, but his claws just grow slowly. It does differ from dog to dog. Some need their claws cut every six months, some like yours once a month.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:03 AM
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Might want to consider changing to a better brand of dog food. Anything that starts with "cereal" worries me. Diets create so many issues.
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Old 12-13-2016, 07:37 PM
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My middle dog, Tiger, had this issue, and it was mainly because I wasn't trimming them more regularly. This was some years back. Since then, I have conditioned my dogs to the Dremel, and do their nails every couple of weeks, three at the most.

If it's been awhile since you trimmed, please have a look *underneath* the nail, the next time Ajas is resting. With a good light, and if his nails are clean, you can see where the quick is. If they are anywhere from 1/8" to 1/4" (@3-7mm) past the quick, they are MUCH too long.

I assure you, three months is FAR too long to wait between trimmings, and more regular trimmings will solve Ajas' problem. Please don't wait until January. With a dog that has black nails as both my dogs and your dog does, it's sometimes difficult to tell how much longer the nails have grown from the quick. If the picture you have included is similar to what Ajas' nails look like, in my opinion, they are too long.

Please see Dober-Dawn's webpage for a most excellent primer on how to condition Ajas to Dremel trimmings. I no longer worry about cutting into the quick with this method, and "salon day" at our house is much more enjoyable with the little yummies they get for cooperating.

I hope this helps!
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Old 12-14-2016, 03:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagger View Post
Might want to consider changing to a better brand of dog food. Anything that starts with "cereal" worries me. Diets create so many issues.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhop View Post
My middle dog, Tiger, had this issue, and it was mainly because I wasn't trimming them more regularly. This was some years back. Since then, I have conditioned my dogs to the Dremel, and do their nails every couple of weeks, three at the most.

If it's been awhile since you trimmed, please have a look *underneath* the nail, the next time Ajas is resting. With a good light, and if his nails are clean, you can see where the quick is. If they are anywhere from 1/8" to 1/4" (@3-7mm) past the quick, they are MUCH too long.

I assure you, three months is FAR too long to wait between trimmings, and more regular trimmings will solve Ajas' problem. Please don't wait until January. With a dog that has black nails as both my dogs and your dog does, it's sometimes difficult to tell how much longer the nails have grown from the quick. If the picture you have included is similar to what Ajas' nails look like, in my opinion, they are too long.

Please see Dober-Dawn's webpage for a most excellent primer on how to condition Ajas to Dremel trimmings. I no longer worry about cutting into the quick with this method, and "salon day" at our house is much more enjoyable with the little yummies they get for cooperating.

I hope this helps!

Just want to update you all. Ajas has been dropped of at the vet now. Their course of treatment is still a bit vague. He is getting a surgery to fix his claw yes. But if they are going to remove the entire claw and just leave the quick that I dont know. And they are taking the opportunity to trim all his claws today now that hes already there.

As for changing food. Its worth a try sure, but Im not sure it will change much. Since as the veterinarians themselves have said his claws are not weak or brittle. So hes hardly missing anything in his diet.

Ajas claws are black yes, so it is a little tricky to see where Im cutting. I do use that trick to look behind/underneath his claws to see the quick. But one thing I have done some in the past. Whenever hes had a tiny splinter I file it away. That is more effective then cutting the splinter off since that still leaves a tiny edge. My point is that he responds better to me filing his nails. He is not a big fan of having his nails cut. So Im gonna look into that Dremel, see if Ajas can get that as a sort of Christmas gift. I agree that with Dremel you hardly worry about cutting into the quick, so thats a plus.

One thing though, what is more of a risk for splinters, Dremel or just cutting with normal nail clippers? Because this all began with a tiny splinter, when gone it left a tiny crack...kind of a hole where it was. And that over time became a tiny crack which got bigger and bigger and crack, broken claw. Time to go to the vet.

As for how often I trim his nails. I can definitely trim/file them more often. Hopefully that will eliminate any chance of this happening again.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:11 PM
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Another update just so no one wonders what happened. As Ive already said I took Ajas to the vet and hes fine. Unfortunately they had to remove the entire claw and leave just the quick. But hes on painkillers and antibiotics hes gonna be fine. Im just going to watch his claws like a hawk and cut or file them once a month.

Regarding trimming his claws, Im still wondering about that. Whats best for the least amount of splinters, normal dog clipper or Dremel? I know its different for each dog, no dogs claws are the same. But still which clipper or other device/tool to trim dog claws would you recommend?
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Old 12-17-2016, 04:57 PM
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Thank you for your update! (I wish more people did this.)

In my experience, dogs tend to develop nail splinters by running about, digging, etc., as mine do, and not so much from trimming times. But, as you write, each dog is different and people also have different clipping/trimming methods.

I can't advocate the Dremel method enough. I felt horrible each time I'd use the clippers and would cut too high. My dogs dreaded nail clipping time whenever it would roll around, and it was not at all enjoyable for any of us. Now, it's like party-time whenever it's "salon day"! Please look over Dober-dawn's page that I linked to in my previous message. She has pictures of her equipment, and I found everything I needed on eBay and Amazon. I even got the flexible shaft adapter, which is a 3 foot (+/-) long extension so the grinding head is farther away from the motor, so the sound of the motor is farther away and not so scary for the dog.

The only caveat to the Dremel method is it takes a couple of weeks to get your dog acclimated to the process. Dober-dawn explains this very well on her page also. Once the conditioning period is complete, you're all set. I've NEVER splintered or ripped off a nail using the Dremel. Here's a paragraph from her page that explains why this method is beneficial:

Quote:
Why I Dremel Instead of Clip?

The abridged summary answer to this question is that it is more comfortable for the dog and you can get the nails shorter and smoother (which is nicer for you). Many dog grooming professionals agree that this is actually a much more comfortable method of maintaining nails than clipping them because it does not pinch or hurt the quick.

The quick is sensitive living flesh inside your dog's nail. With our large dogs, in order to cut through the hard shell nail, you must squeeze the nail between the clipper's two surfaces. If you use a guillotine style, then the nail is pushed hard against the immovable blunt metal while the blade cuts in from one side. If you use the scissors-style, then two blades squeeze in from either side of the nail. If you must clip, IMHO, this is the better method than the guillotine since it cuts from both sides and therefor squeezes a little less. However, neither is very good because when you squeeze in on the nail, you invariably must pinch down on the quick inside the nail. The harder the nail, the more the pressure you must apply. Thus, it can be very uncomfortable for the dog.

Also, when clipping on dark nails, you are effectively cutting blind. In order to get the nails back, you keep doing a series of small clips and try not to hit the quick. As a result, you often stop short of where you could go, if you were using a Dremel. When done properly, there is no squeezing or pressure on the quick with the Dremel. Further, you can see "inside" the nail as you gradually grind back to the quick. So, you can judge when you're getting close to nicking it and stop in time. With the Dremel, you can also grind off all around the quick so that it recedes faster and you can get even shorter nails. The closer you can get to the quick, the more you can force it to recede and the more quickly it will recede. Finally, you can grind off all the corners and rough edges leaving nice soft nails that don't gouge nearly so much when your Dobes paw you for affection.
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