Regular nail grooming is an important part of care for your greyhound. Because greyhounds are active dogs, they can easily rip a nail that has grown too long, resulting in extreme pain and potentially causing an infection. If you have never trimmed your dog's nails before, have your veterinarian or a groomer do it or teach you how to do it. Improper trimming can result in nail injuries that are very painful and will make the dog want to avoid future trimming.
Preparing for Trimming
Whether you're trimming your greyhound's nails yourself or taking the dog to a groomer or your veterinarian, it's important to make the experience as comfortable for your dog as possible. It's a good idea to exercise your dog prior to grooming to take the edge off any built-up energy. Retired racing greyhounds have been handled constantly during their careers; most have been taught to stand quietly to have their feet cared for and their nails clipped or filed. Talk sweetly to your greyhound during grooming and nail trimming. If it seems helpful, you can distract your dog from the nail-trimming process by offering treats away from the face of the person who is trimming the nails.
If your greyhound has clear or white nails, you can shine a small light onto the nail and see the pinkish nail bed, also called the quick, inside the protective covering of the nail. This is the very sensitive area of tissue, nerves and blood vessels that support the nail. If the quick is cut, your greyhound will feel considerable pain, and the quick will bleed profusely. While it is reasonably easy to avoid cutting the quick if you can see it and the dog doesn't struggle, the quick is not helpfully visible in black nails.
The quick will recede over time if the nails are trimmed regularly, but it will lengthen if the nails are allowed to grow long. If you want your greyhound to have very short nails, accomplish it with frequent nail trimmings, giving the quick time to recede. A dog's nails do not have to be extremely short to be healthy. If your greyhound's nails just clear the floor when the dog is standing, the nails are short enough. Greyhounds need their nails trimmed, on average, once a month.
Alternative Nail Care
You do not necessarily need to trim your dog's nails to keep them healthy. Dogs who regularly run on rough surfaces such as concrete or sand frequently end up with nails that are slowly filed down to the appropriate length.
If you are unsure of your ability to trim your greyhound's nails by cutting them, try using a nail file to gently file the nails. This process will take a bit more time, but it eliminates the possibility of cutting a nail too short.
Nails allowed to grow untrimmed may tear completely off, split in half, or begin peeling. Left untended, injuries to the nail can cause serious infections. If your greyhound's nails are broken or the paws are swollen, do not try to treat the problem yourself. Instead, consult your veterinarian for evaluation and treatment.