Yorkshire Terrier Blog

Yorkie Nail Trimming 101: The Complete Guide

Overgrown and unhealthy nails will lead your dog down a path you do not want to step foot – or paw – on. Whether your pet is a puppy or an adult, having overgrown nails will make them uncomfortable and it can easily lead to paw injuries.

A dog with paw injuries and nail issues will be less active. Think about it, you do not wish to walk on a twisted ankle. Nail problems for a dog are almost in the same category. Walking, not to mention running, will be painful for them, therefore they will become less active. With time this will cause them to gain weight and the door to multiple health issues is opened – especially if you own a Yorkie.

So what can you do to prevent this?

The answer is simple: trim their nails.

Whether you take your pet to the groomers for that or if you decide to do it yourself, there are a few things you need to know.

Why Do You Need to Trim Your Yorkie’s Nails?

There are multiple reasons why you need to trim the nails of your small-framed dogs. Yorkies, as a lot of smaller dog breeds, do not wear their nails down naturally and will need help in clipping them. 

First and foremost, having long nails is uncomfortable for your Yorkie. They won’t be able to walk comfortably, but they will also inconvenience you. If the dog’s nails reach the floor they can easily scratch and damage them. Additionally, their nails can get caught in the fabric of rugs or blankets. When that happens and your dog panics, they can easily hurt themselves. 

If the nails are neglected for a long enough time, they will curl inwards towards the paw. When this happens, they can grow into paw pads or skin. Any object pricking the skin will cause the dog intense pain, and possibly infections. If the injury is bad enough, the dog might need surgery.

How Often Should You Trim the Nails of Your Yorkie?

The general rule of thumb is to trim your Yorkie’s nails when you can hear them clicking on the floor. However, when that time arrives differs from dog to dog. 

Usually, the nails are long enough to trim every three or four weeks, but they can differ. If your dog goes on adventures and manages to naturally shorten its nails, you will not have to trim it strictly within that time frame. But if your pooch is more of a couch potato, you will need the trimmers or clippers more often.

Furthermore, nail growth can also depend on your Yorkie’s diet and health – which can accelerate or decrease it. While some pups will only need paw-dicure once a month, others will need regular weekly attention. 

You will need to check and follow how quickly your Yorkie’s nails are actually growing and plan accordingly. Just be sure to have the right nail clipping tools at hand when the time comes.

How to Trim Your Yorkie’s Nails?

If you do not wish to take your pet to a professional to have their nails trimmed (which can be expensive), you can do it yourself at home. 

What You Need to Know:

A dog’s nails consist of two parts: a harder outer portion, and an inner fleshy portion. What you need to trim is the harder part, hopefully without severing the inner part, the quick – which contains blood vessels and nerves. Unfortunately, if the quick does get trimmer it WILL hurt the dog and will result in bleeding. 

The problem with Yorkies is that their nails are dark. This makes it almost impossible to see where the quick end is in their tiny nails. Therefore, it is recommended to cut off small pieces from the outer part at first.

Yorkie Nail Trimming: The Process

To trim your Yorkie’s nails at home, you will have to buy a pair of good scissor-style nail clippers, which are made specifically for canines.

The best time to cut your pet’s nails is right after their bath. The water will soften the outer part, making the process easier. Unfortunately, for some Yorkies, you will need to cut their nails more often than you actually bathe them, but trimming after a bath is good practice for a beginner nail trimmer. 

Make sure you are holding the dog steadily. Move the fur away from the nails on the paw, in order to give you a better view of the nails. No matter how you are holding your pet, they have to be comfortable. This is not a process they enjoy and traumatizing them will just make them warier the next time they see the nail clipper in your hands. Distracting them with treats (peanut butter is a good option) or pets (given by another person) is always a good idea as it will ease their nerves.

When you start trimming the nails, make sure to always trim them bit by bit and by holding the clippers almost parallel to the nail. A neat trick is to hold a bright penlight behind the nail, which will help you see where the quick begins. 

Unfortunately, it can happen that you cut the nail too short. In such instances, do not panic. Try focusing on stopping the bleeding and ensuring the comfort of your dog. This injury is not life-threatening, but it is painful for them, so just be careful during the process and take care of your dog if it does happen.

When your dog’s nails are exceptionally long, be extra careful. The quick grows along with the outer part of the nail, so do not just clip off the entire thing. If the nails on your Yorkie are overgrown, trim them little by little but more often. By doing so, you will literally urge the quick to retreat. The dog’s walk will be a bit uncomfortable for a few more days, but that’s better than making them bleed. Eventually, you will be able to correct the problem and have the nails as short as they should be. 

If you still believe you are not ready for the nail clipping process, you can always ask your vet to show you how it’s done. 

Healthy Nails, Happy Yorkie

As pet owners, we all have to put the comfort and well-being of our pets as a priority. They look for us to take care of them and we get the cuddles – it is a win, win situation. 

Yorkies with well-trimmed nails are free to comfortably run around as much as they want. Long nails will not hinder their activity levels, and hence their quality of life will be better. 

The golden rule is to not panic. Make your pet comfortable and make their paws pretty. Even if they don’t enjoy the process, they will thank you later. 

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