How to Recognize Signs of Overgrown or Ingrown Nails in Shih Poo

As pet owners, we always want our furry friends to be happy and healthy, but sometimes we may not realize when they are experiencing discomfort or pain. One of the commonly overlooked areas of pet care is nail trimming, especially for shih poos. Overgrown or ingrown nails can cause many issues that could be easily missed, leading to more severe complications. In this article, we will discuss the signs of overgrown or ingrown nails in shih poos and how to prevent and manage this issue to keep our pups healthy and happy.

Why Overgrown or Ingrown Nails are a Problem

Why Overgrown Or Ingrown Nails Are A Problem
The condition of overgrown or ingrown nails is a common problem that can affect Shih Poo dogs. Without proper attention to this issue, it can lead to various problems that may cause discomfort and pain for your beloved furry friend. Knowing the reasons why overgrown or ingrown nails can be problematic is important for every Shih Poo owner to take necessary measures to prevent and manage this issue. Regular nail trimming is essential, and it is the first step in ensuring that your dog’s nails don’t reach the point where they become overgrown or ingrown. To learn more about how to properly trim your Shih Poo’s nails, you can check out our Shih Poo Nail Trimming Guide.

Discomfort and Pain

Ingrown or overgrown nails can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain to your adorable Shih Poo. Their nails have sensitive nerves and blood vessels that can become compressed or damaged when their nails grow out of control or cut into the sensitive flesh of their paw pads. This can result in your Shih Poo experiencing acute pain every time they take a step or put pressure on their paw, which can cause them to become agitated, restless, and unable to relax.

If left untreated, the pain can become chronic, making it hard for your Shih Poo to sleep, play, or enjoy daily activities. This can lead to further complications and affect their behavior and overall well-being.

Regular nail trimming and grooming can prevent your Shih Poo from experiencing discomfort and pain in their nails, while also ensuring that they stay healthy and happy all year long. Neglecting your Shih Poo’s nails could lead to bigger issues down the road, which is why it’s essential to take care of their nails and paws properly.

Signs of Discomfort and Pain Due to Overgrown or Ingrown Nails in Shih Poo
Whining or Yelping While Walking or Running
Reluctance to Walk or Play
Redness, Swelling, or Tenderness on the Paw Pad
Licking, Chewing, or Gnawing at the Paw
Limping or Favoring a Paw
Difficulty Standing, Sitting, or Lying Down

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take action right away. Aside from regular nail trimming, you can also try soothing your Shih Poo’s paws with natural remedies like coconut oil or aloe vera, or invest in high-quality nail clippers like the Dremel 7300-PT. Additionally, it’s advisable to avoid declawing your Shih Poo, as this can cause more harm than good in the long run, causing pain and discomfort that could have been easily prevented with proper grooming and care.

Difficulty Walking and Running

When Shih Poos have overgrown or ingrown nails, it can lead to difficulty walking and running, which can ultimately impact their quality of life. The length and shape of the nails can affect the way dogs distribute weight on their paws, and when their nails are not at the proper length, it can cause discomfort and pain. This, in turn, can cause Shih Poos to limp or favor a paw.

Here are a few more ways in which overgrown or ingrown nails can affect your Shih Poo’s ability to walk and run:

Unnatural gaitWhen the dog’s toes are forced apart to compensate for overgrown nails, it can lead to an unnatural gait. This may cause the dog to walk on the side of their paw or on their dewclaws.
Injury riskWhen a dog’s nails are too long, they are more likely to get caught on the ground or other objects, increasing the risk of injury. This can happen when running, playing, or even just walking around the house.
ArthritisOvergrown nails can put extra pressure on the ligaments and joints of a dog’s paw. This can lead to painful inflammation and an increased risk of arthritis over time.

If you notice your Shih Poo experiencing difficulty walking or running or favoring a paw, it might be time to check their nails. If they are overgrown or curved inward, you may need to take action to prevent further pain or injury. The next section will cover the signs of overgrown or ingrown nails to watch out for and how to prevent and manage them.

Infections and Bleeding

Overgrown or ingrown nails not only cause discomfort and difficulty walking and running for Shih Poo, but they can also lead to infections and bleeding. This can become quite serious if not treated properly.

Infections: When the nails grow too long, they begin to exert pressure on the surrounding skin, causing it to rub and become sore. This can create small cuts and abrasions on the skin, creating an entry point for bacteria and other pathogens. It is not uncommon for dogs with overgrown nails to develop skin infections, which can lead to more significant health problems if not treated promptly.

Bleeding: In some cases, the pressure on the skin caused by the overgrown nails can result in bleeding. A dog with an overgrown nail may accidentally snag it on something, causing the nail to tear away from the toe. This can be a painful experience and cause significant bleeding. If not treated immediately, this can result in infections and further complications for your Shih Poo.

It is important to note that ingrown nails are even more likely to cause infections and bleeding, as the nail may begin to grow into the skin surrounding the toe, creating an open wound. This can cause your dog to be in a lot of pain and discomfort, and veterinary care should be sought immediately.

To prevent infections and bleeding, it is essential to keep your dog’s nails trim and healthy. This can be achieved through regular nail trimming, use of proper tools and techniques, regular exercise and walking, and veterinary care and consultation. It is also recommended to use nail care products and supplements to ensure your dog’s nails stay healthy and strong. Remember, taking care of your Shih Poo’s nails is an important part of overall health and well-being!

Can develop due to pressure on skinMay occur if the nail tears away from the toe
Bacteria and other pathogens can enter through cut skinCan cause significant pain and discomfort
Can lead to more significant health problems if left untreatedMay require immediate veterinary care
Ingrown nails are even more likely to cause infectionsCan result in infections and further complications

How to Recognize Signs of Overgrown or Ingrown Nails

How To Recognize Signs Of Overgrown Or Ingrown Nails
Do you suspect that your Shih Poo might be suffering from overgrown or ingrown nails? The first step in addressing this issue is to recognize the signs. Overgrown or ingrown nails can cause immense discomfort and pain to your furry companion, and it’s important to pay attention to any signs that indicate a problem. In this section, we’ll go over several key indicators to help you recognize if your Shih Poo is experiencing overgrown or ingrown nails. Keep an eye out for the following signs to ensure your pup stays happy and healthy.

Nails Growing Too Long

One of the signs that your Shih Poo may have overgrown or ingrown nails is when their nails grow too long. This can happen when the nails are not routinely trimmed or when your dog is not getting enough exercise to wear their nails down naturally. Long nails can cause discomfort and even pain for your furry friend. To recognize this sign, watch for the following:

  • Clicking sounds while walking: When your Shih Poo’s nails grow too long, you may notice a clicking sound as they walk on hard surfaces. This is because their nails are hitting the ground before their pads.
  • Nails touching the ground: Take a look at your dog’s nails as they stand naturally. If their nails are touching the ground, this is a sign they need to be trimmed.
  • Changes in walking: When your dog’s nails are too long, it may be difficult for them to walk properly. They may start to walk on the sides of their paws or adjust their gait to avoid putting pressure on their nails.
  • Discomfort when handled: Your Shih Poo may show signs of discomfort or even pain when you touch their paws due to the pressure on their overgrown nails.

It’s important to address overgrown nails promptly to prevent them from becoming ingrown and causing further issues for your furry friend.

Nails Curving inwards

One of the signs that your Shih Poo’s nails may be overgrown or ingrown is if they start to curve inwards. This can happen if the nails have grown too long and have not been trimmed regularly. As the nails grow, they can start to curl and bend, eventually digging into the paw pads.

How to recognize: To check if your Shih Poo’s nails are curving inwards, gently hold their paw and inspect each nail carefully. You may notice that the nails look longer, thicker, and darker than usual. If you try to extend the nail, you may notice that it is difficult to do so, as it is already tightly curled towards the paw pad.

Why it’s a problem: Nails that are curving inwards can cause discomfort and pain for your furry friend. They may start to limp or favour the paw, and even lick or chew on the affected nail. In severe cases, the nail can grow into the pad, causing deep wounds and infections.

What to do: If you notice that your Shih Poo’s nails are curving inwards, it’s important to have them trimmed as soon as possible. If you feel comfortable doing it yourself, use proper tools and techniques to trim the nails. However, if you feel unsure or your dog is showing signs of discomfort, it’s best to take them to a professional groomer or veterinarian to have the nails trimmed safely.

Prevention: To prevent nails from curving inwards, make sure to trim them regularly, at least once every 4-6 weeks, depending on how fast they grow. If you’re not sure how to trim them yourself, consult with a professional groomer or veterinarian. Additionally, make sure your Shih Poo gets plenty of exercise and walks regularly to wear down their nails naturally.

Limping or Favoring a Paw

Dogs who are experiencing overgrown or ingrown nails may begin to limp or favor a paw, and this is one of the most apparent signs of nail problems. Your Shih Poo may not bear weight on a paw with an ingrown nail, making it difficult for him to walk or run comfortably.

The limp or favoring may be observed when your dog is simply standing or walking, and it may become more noticeable during activities that require him to put more weight on the affected paw. You may also notice that your dog is holding up the paw, avoiding putting any weight on it at all.

In some cases, your dog may also develop a limp due to compensating for the pain from the ingrown nail. The limp can cause other joints to experience stress and pain, leading to issues with the hips and shoulders.

If you notice your Shih Poo limping or favoring a paw, it’s important to inspect the paw to determine the cause of the problem. Examine the nails to see if they are too long or if any are growing into the paw pad. You can use an html table below to keep track of the nail length and to observe any changes over time.

If you cannot see any visible signs of overgrown or ingrown nails, it may be necessary to take your dog to the vet to see if there are underlying health issues that could be causing the limp.

Licking or Chewing paws

Constant licking or chewing of paws is yet another sign of overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poo dogs. This compulsive behavior is a red flag that your dog is experiencing discomfort and pain that is most likely caused by overgrown nails. There are several signs that can help you recognize excessive paw licking and chewing in your Shih Poo such as:

  • Redness and Swelling: If you notice that your dog’s paw is swollen or has become red, it might be a sign of excessive licking and chewing due to overgrown or ingrown nails.
  • Biting and Chewing: If you notice that your dog is biting or chewing its paws constantly, it could be a sign of overgrown nails that are causing pain and discomfort.
  • Hot Spots: Overgrown nails can lead to hot spots which can cause an itchy sensation in your dog’s paws. This can cause your dog to lick or chew its paws excessively.

If you have noticed these signs in your Shih Poo, it might be time for a nail trim. However, if excessive licking and chewing of paws persists even after a nail trim, it might be best to consult a veterinarian. In some cases, the excessive paw licking and chewing might be due to an underlying health condition such as allergies or anxiety.

It is important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and habits to ensure that they are comfortable and healthy. If you suspect that your Shih Poo is experiencing discomfort or pain due to overgrown or ingrown nails, take action immediately by scheduling a nail trim or consulting a veterinarian.

Bleeding or Infection

Bleeding or infection are the most serious signs of overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poo dogs. If left untreated, these conditions can cause immense pain and discomfort, and potentially lead to more serious health problems.

Bleeding: Overgrown or ingrown nails can cause bleeding if they are left untrimmed or if the dog accidentally tears their nail. It can be a frightening sight to see your furry friend’s paw with blood. You may also notice your pet licking or chewing the affected paw due to the discomfort. The bleeding may stop on its own, but it’s important to disinfect the area with hydrogen peroxide or other antiseptics to prevent infection. If the bleeding does not stop on its own or if it seems excessive, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian for further treatment.

Infection: Ingrown nails can also lead to infections, which is why it’s important to recognize the signs of infection and seek treatment promptly. Signs of infection may include redness, swelling, discharge, and a foul odor. Dogs with infections may also be lethargic and have a decreased appetite. If the infection is severe, it may even spread to other parts of the body and cause more serious health problems.

To prevent bleeding and infection, regular nail trimming and proper grooming are crucial. If you’re unsure of how to properly trim your Shih Poo’s nails or if you notice signs of bleeding or infection, seek veterinary care. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our furry friends.

Here’s a table summarizing the signs of bleeding and infection due to overgrown or ingrown nails:

Signs of BleedingSigns of Infection
Bleeding pawRedness
Licking or chewing pawSwelling
Discomfort and painDischarge
Excessive bleedingFoul odor

How to Prevent and Manage Overgrown or Ingrown Nails

Ensuring proper nail maintenance is crucial for the overall health and well-being of your Shih Poo. In this section, we will discuss effective measures that can prevent and manage overgrown or ingrown nails. Neglecting nail care can result in discomfort, limping, or infections. Thus, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the following tips to keep your canine companion healthy and active. From regular nail trimming to using the proper tools, let’s explore the various ways to maintain your Shih Poo’s nail health.

Regular Nail Trimming

Keeping your Shih Poo’s nails trimmed is the most effective way to prevent overgrown or ingrown nails. Regular nail trimming not only keeps your furry friend comfortable and healthy, but it also ensures that they can move around freely and enjoy their playtime. However, some pet owners are hesitant to trim their dog’s nails for fear of hurting them. Here’s a table of some tips for regular nail trimming:

FrequencyTrim your Shih Poo’s nails every 2-3 weeks. Regular trimming will keep their nails at a healthy length and make the process less stressful.
Nail TypeObserve your pet’s nails and determine if they are light or dark. Dark nails are harder to trim since it is difficult to see the quick, which is the blood vessel inside each nail. Hence, it is recommended to trim light-colored nails.
ToolsUse the right tools, such as a high-quality nail clipper, to ensure that you don’t hurt your dog while trimming their nails. You should also have a styptic powder or cornstarch on hand just in case you accidentally cut into the quick and cause bleeding.
TechniqueTo avoid hurting your Shih Poo, make sure to trim their nails just below the quick. Gradually trim small bits off each nail, avoiding cutting a large piece at once. Reward your dog with treats during the session and praise them when they do well to create positive associations.

Regular nail trimming may seem daunting at first, but it’s an essential part of your Shih Poo’s grooming routine. If you’re still unsure about how to trim your dog’s nails, ask your veterinarian for advice or consider hiring a professional groomer. Remember, keeping your dog’s nails healthy will prevent discomfort, pain, and potential infections.

Using Proper Tools and Techniques

Proper tools and techniques play a crucial role in preventing and managing overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poos. Here are some tips on how to use them effectively:

1. Use high-quality nail clippers: Choose the right size and shape of nail clipper that suits your Shih Poo’s nail size and texture. Ensure that the blades are sharp and clean to avoid crushing or splitting the nail.

2. Use a nail file: After trimming your Shih Poo’s nails, use a nail file to smoothen the edges and prevent any rough or sharp spots that can cause discomfort or injury.

3. Identify the quick: The quick is the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. It’s essential to identify the quick’s location to avoid cutting it while trimming the nail. If you accidentally cut the quick, it can cause pain and bleeding.

4. Trim the nails frequently: Trim your Shih Poo’s nails at routine intervals of 6-8 weeks. Depending on how fast the nails grow, you might need to trim them more often.

5. Use reward-based positive reinforcement: If your Shih Poo is fearful or resistant to nail trimming, use positive reinforcement techniques like treats, toys, or praise to create positive associations with the experience. This will make future nail trimming sessions easier.

The above techniques are effective in preventing overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poos. Regular nail trimming is necessary to avoid discomfort, pain, and infections caused by overgrown nails. Use only high-quality tools and techniques and seek advice from your vet if you’re unsure about trimming your Shih Poo’s nails.

Regular Exercise and Walking

One effective way to prevent overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poo dogs is through regular exercise and walking. Exercise not only helps in maintaining an appropriate weight but also encourages natural nail wear down. Walking on hard surfaces like pavements or concrete can help file down the nails naturally, keeping them at an appropriate length.

Here are some tips to incorporate regular exercise and walking into your Shih Poo’s daily routine:

  • Create a schedule: Plan daily walks and exercise sessions for your dog to ensure that they are getting enough physical activity to maintain their overall health.
  • Add variety: Varying the walking route can help stimulate the paw pads and add different levels of resistance each day, which in turn, can provide different means to file down the nails naturally.
  • Go for a swim: Swimming can be another low-impact exercise for your Shih Poo that can promote circulation and improve overall fitness. It also helps in keeping nails smooth and shorter.
  • Consider dog parks: Taking your Shih Poo to a dog park can be an excellent opportunity for them to interact with other dogs while also getting in some exercise. Running, jumping, and playing with other dogs on different surfaces can help naturally manage nails.

Regular exercise and walking are essential in maintaining a healthy Shih Poo with properly maintained nails. Not only is it beneficial for their physical health, but it can also boost their mental health and overall well-being.

Veterinary Care and Consultation

When it comes to overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poo dogs, seeking veterinary care and consultation is crucial. Consulting with your veterinarian can help you identify the underlying causes of nail problems and provide treatments accordingly. Here are some ways that veterinary care can help prevent or manage overgrown or ingrown nails:

  • Nail Trimming Services: If you do not feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails, your veterinarian can provide trimming services in a safe and professional manner.
  • Diagnostics and Treatments: Your veterinarian can conduct diagnostic tests to identify any underlying medical problems that could be causing nail issues. They can provide appropriate treatments, such as medication, which can help prevent overgrown nails caused by certain medical conditions.
  • Surgical Options: In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove ingrown nails. This should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian with the necessary skills and equipment.
  • Educational Materials: Your veterinarian can provide you with educational materials and resources to help you learn how to properly trim your dog’s nails and prevent future nail problems from arising.
  • Recommendations for Professional Grooming: Your veterinarian can recommend professional grooming services that can offer specialized care for nail trimming to prevent nail damage and ensure proper nail health.

Seeking veterinary care and consultation is an essential step in preventing and managing overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poo dogs. Your veterinarian can provide professional guidance, advice, and treatments to help ensure that your dog’s nail health is maintained. Remember, proper nail care is crucial for your dog’s overall health, comfort, and mobility.

Nail Care Products and Supplements

When it comes to managing overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poos, nail care products and supplements can be very effective. Here are some of the most helpful products you can use to keep your Shih Poo’s nails healthy and strong:

  • Nail Grinders: Nail grinders are electric tools that allow you to file down your dog’s nails instead of clipping them. This can be a much gentler and safer option for dogs with delicate nails, and can prevent over-clipping or tearing. Look for a high-quality, low-noise grinder with a diamond drum bit for optimal results.
  • Nail Clippers: If you prefer to use traditional nail clippers, make sure you choose a sharp, high-quality pair specifically designed for dogs. Avoid using human nail clippers or dull clippers, as they can cause pain and damage to the nail. Always be careful not to clip too far down the nail, as this can lead to bleeding and pain.
  • Nail Files: After trimming your Shih Poo’s nails, use a nail file to smooth out any rough edges or sharp points. This can prevent snagging and discomfort, and can also help prevent nails from curving inwards.
  • Nail Softening Products: If your Shih Poo has extremely hard or brittle nails that are difficult to trim, consider using a nail softening product. These products help to soften the nail so that it can be clipped or filed more easily. Look for a natural, gentle product that won’t irritate your dog’s skin or nails.
  • Nail Supplements: There are a variety of supplements available that can help promote healthy nail growth in dogs. Look for supplements that contain biotin, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids, which all help to nourish the nails and prevent breakage. Always consult with your vet before starting your dog on any new supplements, however.

Remember, proper nail care is an essential part of your Shih Poo’s overall health and wellness. By using the right products and techniques, you can keep your dog’s nails healthy, strong, and pain-free.


In conclusion, it is important for Shih Poo owners to regularly check the state of their pet’s nails and take steps to prevent and manage overgrown or ingrown nails. Failure to do so can lead to discomfort, pain, difficulty in walking or running, infections, and bleeding.

Regular nail trimming is key to preventing overgrown or ingrown nails. Pet owners should invest in proper nail trimming tools such as clippers or grinders and learn proper techniques for safe and efficient nail trimming. It is important to avoid cutting too close to the quick, which can cause bleeding and pain.

Regular exercise and walking are also important for maintaining overall paw health. Exercise helps wear down the nails naturally and promotes proper paw alignment, reducing the risk of ingrown nails.

If the pet’s nails are overgrown or ingrown, it is important to seek veterinary care and consultation. A veterinarian can safely trim the nails and treat any infections or bleeding that may have occurred.

In some cases, nail care products and supplements may also be beneficial in promoting healthy nail growth and reducing the risk of overgrown or ingrown nails. These include “quick stop” powders or gels to stop bleeding and supplements containing biotin and other vitamins and minerals that support healthy nail growth.

Taking preventative measures and promptly addressing signs of overgrown or ingrown nails can help promote the health and well-being of Shih Poos. With proper care and attention, these adorable and beloved pets can enjoy a happy and active life free from paw-related discomfort and pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Shih Poos get overgrown or ingrown nails?

Yes, Shih Poos can get overgrown or ingrown nails, just like any other dog breed.

What causes overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poos?

Overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poos are usually caused by lack of regular nail trimming or improper nail trimming techniques.

How can I tell if my Shih Poo has overgrown nails?

You can tell if your Shih Poo has overgrown nails if you hear clicking sounds when they walk on hard surfaces or if you notice the nails are visibly longer than the paw pad.

Are overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poos painful?

Yes, overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poos can cause discomfort and even pain when walking or running.

Can overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poos lead to infections?

Yes, overgrown or ingrown nails in Shih Poos can potentially lead to infections, particularly if the nail cuts into the paw pad or breaks the skin.

Can I trim my Shih Poo’s nails at home?

Yes, you can trim your Shih Poo’s nails at home, but it is important to use proper techniques and tools to avoid causing pain or injury.

How often should I trim my Shih Poo’s nails?

It is recommended to trim your Shih Poo’s nails every 4-6 weeks, but this may vary depending on how quickly their nails grow.

What if I accidentally cut the quick of my Shih Poo’s nail?

If you accidentally cut the quick of your Shih Poo’s nail, it may bleed and cause pain. You can use styptic powder or cornstarch to help stop the bleeding.

Can a professional groomer trim my Shih Poo’s nails?

Yes, a professional groomer can trim your Shih Poo’s nails if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself or if your dog is particularly resistant to nail trims.

Are there any supplements that can help promote healthy nail growth in Shih Poos?

Yes, supplements such as biotin and fish oil can help promote healthy nail growth in Shih Poos, but you should always consult with a veterinarian before adding any supplements to your dog’s diet.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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