Does Walking Your Dog Trim Their Nails

Does Walking Your Dog Trim Their Nails?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Your dog's nails will be kept under control if you walk him on concrete pavements or sidewalks. This varies depending on your dog's individual needs and how often or for how long you walk them on hard surfaces. If the dog's nails are too long, walking them on concrete will not help - these must be trimmed first.

The purpose of this article is to explain the “Does Walking Your Dog Trim Their Nails?“.

When you take a closer look at your dogs nails and you can not afford a trip to the vet or a groomer and the thought of doing it yourself seems daunting I have some good news.

Does Walking Your Dog Trim Their Nails

You can trim your dogs nails by walking them.

As its a bit more complex than that let me go into more detail about how exactly it works before I move on to other questions you might have about dog nails.

Does walking your dog trim their nails?

Going for a walk with my dogs is not only my favorite part of the day it is also the best part of being a dog owner.

Keeping your dogs nails under control is easier if you walk on concrete sidewalks or pavement.

The number of times or length of time you walk your dog on hard surfaces will depend on his individual needs. 

You and your dog will not be able to trim nails that are too long by walking on concrete- these will need to be trimmed first.

You should walk your dog on hard surfaces in moderation just as you should do most things in life.

You should not walk them only on sidewalks if you want to keep their nails trimmed since there are too many downsides to this practice

Advantages of sidewalks

Maintains nail health

The dogs stay clean

Lighting is always present on sidewalks

Disadvantages of sidewalk 

Bones muscles and paws are more vulnerable to injury on hard surfaces. 

What is the ideal length for dog nails?

In standing position the nail should be about a few millimeters above the floor. 

Take your time to examine each foot making sure that the paws are flat on the floor and that each nail is the right length. 

It could be a problem with the nail if your dog is not standing on one of its legs correctly. 

There is a possibility that it is too long or too short. 

The dog will be able to touch the floor when a nail is too long.

The dog will experience some discomfort since the nail is being forced back into the paw.

Blood will stain the nail or the area around the nail if the nail is too short.

There is a blood vessel within the nail that “feeds the nail.”

A dogs Quick can be painful if it is accidentally cut. 

Dog nails too short from walking

There are some dog owners whose dogs’ nails are too short because they walk too much.

Nails should never be trimmed too short on dogs with a proper gait. 

A dogs nails should always be the right length due to the way its paws should strike the ground.

As a dog walks the foot should strike the ground so that only the tips of the nail are in contact with it. 

A harsh surface would actually cause more damage to the paw than the nail because of how rough it is.

Walking however can cause nails to grow too short for two reasons. 

You should also check a dogs nail if its too short if hes limping or dragging a paw.

We have Bump a 13-year-old Golden Retriever who drags her feet when walking on pavement because her back legs are very weak.

It is possible that the tops and sides of the nails are scraping along the ground instead of just the tips.

The nails will be split and show extreme signs of wear if they are not short. 

As a result she has difficulty walking on the pavement. 

Furthermore if a dog exercises too frequently on a hard surface this may also contribute.

As another example if a dog races around on a hard surface such as during fetch basketball or soccer the nails can become too short. 

If you participate in any of these activities you will be starting stopping and making sudden turns which will wear your nails down. 

4 reasons to trim your dog’s nails

  1. You will have difficulty walking
  2. Injuries and sprains can occur due to not being able to stand or walk properly

Recently I read an interesting theory about this. 

A dogs brain associates long nails with running up hills.

As evolution would have it a dog would only feel its nails at this time.

When dogs feel their nails they automatically adjust their body position to better climb hills.

That is still what dogs with nails that are too long do today.

Their bodies are put under a lot of strain due to this position.

Donot you think thats really interesting?

  1. Long nails can become embedded in the paw or grow inwards. 
  2. Dirt and germs will collect more on long nails than on short nails.

This is bad news when it comes to dogs scratching.

Dogs walking on softer surfaces such as dirt or muddy paths fall into this category. 

Because their ears always seem to be dirty we need to check their ears at least once a month.

Longer nails might attract or accumulate more dirt in them which is then deposited in their ears as they scratch. 

File or cut dog nails?

One of the reasons you want to learn more about trimming nails is that you have heard horror stories about your friends cutting their dogs’ nails.

There are four skills that must be learned.

You should first buy a decent pair of dog nail clippers.

The second step is to know how to use these clippers properly.

Knowing where to make the cut on the nail is the third skill.

Learn how to complete this process step-by-step in this video. 

Its not uncommon for dogs to be reluctant to have their nails clipped because they are not used to it. 

It is perhaps the most difficult skill of all that you need to have a fourth.

And that skill is to have a calm and relaxed dog! 

The video below will help you to build trust with your dog so that it will feel comfortable enough to let you cut its nails. 

Dangers of clipping nails

Along with wrestling with a very nervous dog people are also afraid of cutting into the quick blood supply that feeds each nail when trimming their dogs nails.

However once your dog is relaxed and can tolerate its paw being held things become easier.

When your dog has cream nails the quick is easier to see since it appears as a dark vein.

The video below (I have intentionally started it partway through) contains very precise instructions about how to cut nails to avoid the quick.

Cutting dog nails that are black

The last piece of advice I would like to give relates to dogs with black toenails. 

When you can not see the quick how can you not cut it?

One great piece of advice given in this video is to check all the nails on a dog and see if it has a lighter color nail. 

It is likely that the quick will be found in the same location in all nails if you can identify where the quick is on one nail.


Now that you have walked your dog do you feel more confident about its role in trimming its nails?

I hope you are able to go for some great walks nearby that involve walking on concrete surfaces such as sidewalks.

However you should moderate the amount of time that you walk your dog on a concrete surface and make sure that they have plenty of variety.

The variety of options will be beneficial not only to your dog but to you as well.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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