Things You Probably Don't Know About Dog and Cat Claws

6. Self-trauma is the cause of plenty of claw problems.Just as we humans may chew our fingernails when we’re stressed, so, too, may some pets go to town on their paws and claws. Stress and even boredom can lead to excessive licking, for sure. Pets with lick granulomas, for example, can decimate their toes and sometimes their claws as well. Moreover, excessive licking and chewing from systemic illnesses like allergies can lead to conditions favorable for bacterial and fungal infections.

7. Not every pet needs a toenail trim. That's true for active pets whose toenails are worn down in the natural course of their scratching or walking behavior. But when pets get older, reduced activity can result in overgrown nails. That’s why owners should try to trim claws throughout their pets’ lifetimes, regardless of whether it’s strictly necessary. You never know when things might change.

8. Paw handling matters. At the risk of soapboxing it, let me offer this final bit: Training yourself to handle your pets’ claws is perhaps the single most useful thing you can do to improve claw care. And to get there, you’ve got to train your pet to accept your ministrations. Easier said than done, I know, but now that every forward-thinking puppy kindergarten class teaches simple paw handling, we’re well on our way to making paw-shy pets a problem of the past.

When you start handling your pet's paws early in life (kittens, too), you'll have established a connection between your love and his paws. And when that happens, exceptional claw health isn't far behind.

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