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Paw Paw ground his toenails down to the quick on a bike ride?!?

2192 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  kiya
Back in VA, when I would take Nara and Paw Paw to the base tennis courts to play fetch, if we overstayed our visit, Nara would come home with bloody nails from the court surface (this only happened once as I learned my lesson and would closely monitor her nails and keep our visits shorter). She would grind 1 or 2 rear paw nails down to the quick, but despite the discomfort, would continue to play fetch. Paw Paw, who is much lighter on his feet, never had this happen to him. There was something about the court surface that had an industrial strength sand paper grind-down effect on their nails that the normal concrete sidewalks/roads didn't have.

Paw Paw never needs his nails trimmed because all of the walking, running and biking we do keeps his nails short. He has the clear nails, so they must be made of softer material. Nara's nails are black and tough, and need to be dremeled at least once every week or two, regardless of the amount or distance of our on-pavement exercising.

Today, I took Paw Paw on what became the longest distance exercise session we've ever done. I've always wanted to test him to see how far he can go, as he has yet to show any signs of being exhausted. Nara, if exhausted, will slow down to a walk if we're running/biking, or will flop in the grass if we're walking. Paw Paw just keeps on truckin'! Haha. Today was no different. Up until today, the longest distance I've taken him was 10 miles at once on a run. Today we were on a paved bike path, and we had some time to kill, so we went all the way to the end, which ended up being 7.5 miles one way, 15 miles round trip. Paw Paw ran it all the way through, and when we got him into the van and started driving, we noticed that three of his paws were bloody. As soon as we got home, I examined his paws and realized that he had worn one nail down to the quick on his front paw, and it had bled onto his two back paws as he ran. He showed no signs of discomfort during the run, as I was monitoring him the whole way to ensure that he could handle the distance.

What should I do to prevent this from happening in the future? I know they make dog booties to wear on trails, but I'm not sure if they are for pavement. Should a dog need booties for this sort of distance? Should a dog need booties, period? Should we have worked up to this distance, which would've toughened up his nails, or grinded them down in moderation, forcing the quicks to recede back deeper into the nails?

If you have or have had dogs with similar softer, clear nails, please let me know your experience! Thanks so much in advance. I don't want my Paw Paw's paws to have to experience this again.
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I see the dogs running that major sled race racing in boots.

I have boots for my dogs, bought them when I had to put meds on a toenail, and a sock was not going to stay on long enough to keep her from licking the meds off.

But if I wanted to go distances with my dogs on my bike -- I have trained four (that I still have) of them to run along with it, but we never go far -- I think I would put boots on them, and build them slowly for the distance.

In fact, the nail itself should not hit the ground much at all. If those nails are clipping along when they walk across the kitchen floor, they are too long. Cut the nails back twice a week just a little or dremmel them twice a week until that quick recedes back and the nails are short and not hitting the pavement.
I wouldn't think that you would need booties if you were running them on a smooth surface. I agree that if your dog is getting bloody nails, that they are too long to begin with and should be grinding them back so they are nice and short. It is also possible that your dog has a movement problem and is dragging his feet.

I would suggest stopping at least once during a ride that long to check your dog's feet for any damage and for a water break. No jogger would run that long without a drink.
My girl Kiya drags her hind leg, ataxia from seizure meds, she wore a nail down and bled over the summer. I have boots so I tried them on both hind legs. It seemed she was making an effort to lift her feet up, so I kept her off the pavement. I just recently started taking her back out with the bike on the trails. I looked into nail covers, they are tips you put on the nail themselves, they are supposed to help keep the nails from scratching wood floors, they make them for cats too. I don't know how hard the material they make them out of but it maybe worth looking into Dog Scratching Solutions, Nail Caps for Dogs
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