Short-haired breeds like Chihuahuas usually have shorter nails than long-haired breeds like Shih Tzus because their nails don't grow as fast. A connection between canine nail length and the effects on the dog's biomechanics has proven that long nails can change the way a dog walks and puts pressure on their joints, which can lead to health problems later in life. However, cutting them too short can also be painful for your pup, so it's important to find a happy medium that most breeds can achieve with a little bit of effort and knowledge.
On the other hand, some breeds have naturally long nails. If your dog falls into this category, you'll need to be extra careful when trimming their nails so you don't cut them too short and cause them pain. The best way to avoid this is to use a nail grinder instead of scissors or clippers, which will help you control the length of the nail more precisely.
Age and Activity Level
Puppies have different nail care needs than adult dogs because their nails grow much faster. After all, puppies are constantly growing and their nails haven't reached their final length yet. For this reason, it's important to get your puppy's nails trimmed more frequently than an adult dog - about once a week or every two weeks is usually sufficient. As they get older and their nails grow slower, you can start spacing out the trimmings every month or so.
Less active dogs also tend to have slower-growing nails, so you may not need to trim them as often as more active dogs. If your dog is mostly sedentary, once a month should be sufficient. However, if they go on regular walks or hikes, you'll likely need to trim their nails more often - about every two weeks to once a week - to keep them at a healthy length.
The Right Length
So, how do you know if you've cut your dog's nails too short? You can tell by looking at the quick, which is the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. If you see any pink in the nail after trimming, you've cut it too short and need to be more careful next time. If only a small amount of pink is showing, it does not usually cause concern, but if a lot of pink is visible or your dog seems to be in pain, it's best to consult your veterinarian.
As a general rule of thumb, the nails should be level with the pads of the feet or just slightly longer. This length will vary from dog to dog, so it's important to get to know your pup's individual needs. If you're unsure, it's always better to err on the side of caution and leave them a little bit longer than too short.
Therefore, you shouldn't cut your dog's nails too short because it can be painful for them, and you also shouldn't leave them too long because it can cause problems with their biomechanics.
It's important to find a happy medium that works for your dog specifically, based on factors like breed, age, and activity level. If you're ever unsure, it's best to consult your veterinarian to get their professional opinion.