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Trimming The Toenails
& Hair Between The Toes

Contributed by Larry Stanberry-Divine Maltese

I know, you just got a Maltese Puppy. You have asked all the right questions and now your little bundle of joy is playing underneath your feet. You have information on how to wash them, how to brush them, how to feed them, and how to train them to "go outside". However, the one thing that wasn't covered, is how important it is to keep the nails trimmed and the hair between the toes trimmed out.

If your pup is very young, at 6-8 weeks, for example, it is of paramount importance to clip the nails every week - just after a bath is the best time when the nails are soft. Trimming the hair from between the toes can be done at least every other week.

I know this is not a "glamour question", nobody ever wants to know about toenails - but that is just the point of all of this. A young pup especially, and to a degree older dogs as well, must have good solid footing for the musculature and bones to grow, knit, and mature properly. A dog with untrimmed nails and hair growing so thick between its toes that it is slipping and sliding (especially on hard flooring) must overcompensate with exaggerated movements in order to maintain its balance and propel itself around. By ignoring this simple and quick grooming regimen you may cause your pup to develop an unnaturally poor movement in its front as well as to cause the toe pads to become "splayed" prematurely in your pet's life.

Sorry, but I just felt compelled to address one of those often overlooked and "never asked" points that seem to never get covered by new Maltese puppy owners and the pup's breeders.

Hi Larry.....
Good point and don't forget that if you start with your dog when he/she is very young they will not fight you for trying to cut their nails when they are older! ALWAYS make the nail clipping and cutting hair between the toes a pleasant experience. Do not clip too much and get carried away. It doesn't take long for a dog to remember it hurts when you play with his feet and thus you will have a "paw shy dog. Even if you can only get 2 nails done at a time or one paw that is a good start.

My rescue dog has very bad feet. He lived in a kennel for 4 years before getting the life that he deserves and his pads are splattered outward because of being on a concrete slab most of the time. Needless to say we have to really get a good hold on him in order to touch his now arthritic feet.

By clipping the hair between the toes it also prevents ice and snow from staying in those areas and causing damage. "Playing with your dogs feet all the time will get him so use to you doing it that he won't mind when you really have to clip, cut or just look at them to check them out!