Dew claws are the ones higher up on the legs that do not contact the ground when the dog is standing normally. We have seen several of these. The dog can be in pain because an undetected dew claw has grown so long to the extent that it has grown into the pad. The front dew claws are sometimes used by the dog to hold objects when chewing and also when running and playing to get more grip. The rear ones are not used often and can grow longer. Below is a picture of the part of a claw which grew into the rear upper pad on the hind leg. The blood stain on the tip shows how far it grew into the toe. On active dogs (though not all) the front dew claws get some wear because they are used to grip objects. They are also used for gripping the ground for jumping. Another problem with untrimmed nails is paw structure. Dogs whose pads do not make proper contact with the ground because of overgrown nails can develop detrimental posture problems. Furthermore, the quick (or vein) grows longer with the length of the nail. Nails should be monitored to make sure that they are not growing too long and clipped if they are.

We have had several owners ask me to shave their double-coated dogs in the summer season. This request is usually made by the owner since they believe that the dog will be more comfortable in the warmer weather. Double-coated dogs (such as the Siberian husky, German Shepherd, and collie) have an outer coat of guard hairs to protect themselves from external conditions such as moisture, sun rays, and sharp objects, etc. The soft undercoat insulates the dog, keeping it warm in the winter and cool in summer. It grows a lot quicker than the outer guard coat, but it cannot repel moisture or protect the dog from the sun’s ultraviolet rays which is the job of the guard coat. The guard coat on these dogs does not continue to grow as with single coated breeds. For this reason, it is important not to shave the outer coat but to regularly maintain it and the undercoat regularly. During shedding season the fluffier, loose undercoat should be brushed and combed. A lot of dirt and dust build up inside which can lead to trapped moisture, knotting and other problems. This is why it is very important to groom and bathe double-coated breeds regularly. Failure to consider these facts and shave these dogs can lead to harmful health problems for your pet.

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