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Grooming - Nails, Dewclaws

Maltipoo Nails & Dewclaws


Nail care is very important for the Maltipoo. Nails grow quickly and if they are not properly trimmed they can:
  • Snag on fabrics causing pain
  • Become ingrown
  • Cause pain when your dog is walking
Dewclaws care is also very important. Some breeders will have them removed when the puppy is very young, usually just days old....However some breeders will not...And in these cases, an owner must know about dewclaws.

If care is not taken in regard to dewclaws:
  • These can rip if when grooming with brush or comb the dewclaw gets snagged
  • These can become ingrown if they are not tended to with either clipping or filing
This section will cover the basics of both nails and dewclaws on your Maltipoo.
Maltipoo nail care
Teddy, 11 months old
Photo courtesy of Alauna

Maltipoo nails grow quickly. Care must be taken to notice when it is time for a trimming. While each dog is different, on average, nails on a Maltipoo will need to be trimmed back about every 2 to 3 months.  It is best to keep an eye on these so that they can be taken care of before they become a problem, such as curving inward which makes them much harder to clip or grind down.  Long nails on a dog can also catch on fabric such as bedding, carpeting or even your clothes. Another issue that can happen is if one becomes ingrown, it can throw a dog 'off center' causing him to limp to avoid putting pressure on a paw. Finally, a ripped, torn or ingrown nail can lead to infection. For all of these reasons, do not wait until you hear that tell-tale clacking noise on hardwood floors before you tend to this grooming task. 

You may choose to do this yourself, or you may wish to have a dog groomer perform this task. Having a groomer do this is generally not that expensive, but in today's economy, you may find it best to learn to do this at home.
There are two basic ways that trimming can be done; you can snip the nail with a clippers or you can file it with an electronic grinder. Grinders are a good choice because they work very quickly to file the nail, which can cut down on the time it takes to do this task. Do be aware however, that a grinder can go too far and reach the quick (more ahead) just as a clipper can. The difference, however, if that one clip too far can do damage, while with the filer you can keep looking to see how far you went and how much you have to go.

The biggest obstacle will be to not touch the "quick" of the dog's nail when you do this. The "quick" is a vein that runs down the very center of canine nails. On light colored nails, this will be easy to see...However on dark or black colored nails, it is harder to detect.
If you have never cut a dog's nails before, we suggest bringing your Maltipoo to a professional groomer and watching what they do, you may then have better confidence to do this yourself.

When trimming the nails, always have a styptic pencil or solution at hand...this will contain silver nitrate and will stop any bleeding that will occur if the quick is accidentally cut.

It is best to take off just a bit of nail at a time... going slowly down so that you do not go too far and reach the "quick". On dogs  that have dark colored nails, as you take off a bit of the nail, take a look at it from the viewpoint of where you just cut. If you see a small white circle, this is the beginning of the "quick" and this means that it is time to stop trimming.

A Maltipoo may come to you with dewclaws intact or removed. It is the breeder who decides to have this done. When dewclaws are removed, it is almost always done when the Maltipoo is a very young pup...a newborn, usually only 3-4 days old. They are removed without is not a pleasant thought, however it is done very quickly....The puppy usually gives out a loud, short "yelp" and then it is over. At this very young age, they are very tiny and very soft. They slip out similar to how you might imagine a large sliver to do so.

If your Maltipoo has intact dewclaws, you do not need to have them removed. The main reason that they are removed is so that the dog does not have any potential issues later in life. They can very easily catch on fabrics, much more so than the "normal" nails... They can catch on carpeting when the puppy is playing...and can catch on a sofa fabric when the dog is jumping off. They can also become ingrown or they can grow out at odd angles, causing problems.

The reason that they are removed when the Maltipoo is so young, is because as the pup grows into an adult dog, that little dewclaw grows into an actual appendage. When the dog is older, it will not just be a small will grow into a nail that is attached to muscle and bone. It is a toe-like appendage that has connective tissue, flesh and bone. Removal at that time would involve surgery and anesthesia.
If you are thinking about having your Maltipoo's dewclaws removed, one must think about:
  • Are they getting the way? Is your dog getting the caught onto things?
  • Are they keep loosening? Are they ripping often and dangling or growing out of place?
If problems, including infections are re-occurring, then you'll want to consider removal.  

If you keep the dew claws on your Maltipoo, do keep in mind that trimming the dewclaws on a regular basis is very important. You will not want to allow them to grow long. Also, do take care when you brush and comb your dog, going carefully around the dewclaws so that you do not catch it with grooming tools. 
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