Maddie (age 10) has some arthritis in her spine and hip and as a result, she drags one of her back paws a bit when she trots.  This wears the two middle nails on her back right paw.  She did great all winter because we were walking on snow, but now we have a thaw and after just two days on pavement, one of her back nails started to bleed.   I feel just awful that I didn't notice til she was hurt.   It didn't bleed heavily, but that has to hurt.  Poor girl.

Last time we were at the vet, I believe she said that if they kept wearing we might need to try nail caps.

Has anyone used Soft Claws or something similar for this?  If so, what was your experience?  And what size do you get?  Based on the chart, it seems we'd need X-Large, but that hardly sounds right.

Thanks!

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Hi Beth, I don't have an answer to  your question, but I want to tell you that, many years ago, I had an Alaskan Malamute who, around the age of your Maddie, started to drag a back foot.  My vet recommended trying a Choline supplement.  I don't remember the dosage, as it was so long ago, but it took care of the problem and she lived to be 12.  Like all supplements, it took a bit to see the effect.  You may want to look into that as i don't think it could hurt her.  Best wishes.

Thank you, she has some other neurological symptoms too, so that might help.   I'll ask the vet to make sure it doesn't interfere with her medication.

She is mentally so youthful that it is hard to see her struggle physically. She is a happy dog and it doesn't seem to bother her outlook, but I sure miss seeing her being able to chase frisbees like she used to.

Mine was otherwise normal, but I had noticed a tendency to stumble going down steps. It all went away after being on the supplement.

Yes!

I use Soft Paws on Mishka's inner nails on his front paws, also for dragging. Going on year 3.  I do get the X-Large for front paws; Large was too small, and Mishka is average in size.  However, his back nails (and feet, for that matter) are a little narrower than the front, so you may end up with a Large after all.

Also, Mishka's nails are short, so I trim a bit from the open end, so the cap doesn't go all the way back to the skin.  X-Acto knife.

One other note:  the supplied glue tubes are hard to use.  I get a bottle of krazy glue with a brush applicator (the glue is the same - nothing special about the chemicals in the supplied glue).  Dab a tiny amount all the way in the tip of the cap, set it down, then use your fingers to hold paw fur away from the nail, and brush a little glue on the very end of the nail, then apply the cap to the nail, and they'll bond.  Sliding them on with glue is easier if you put them on the nail without glue for a few minutes first - to stretch them into shape. 

Took a couple applications before I was able to do with without catching any fur.  

His drag is pretty pronounced, so he wears through a set of four every week.  But they do the trick!

That was very helpful, thank you!  They arrived today.  I struggled a bit to get them on;  her nails are worn so short that there is not much to work with.  I am hoping that if I can keep them covered long enough, they will grow out a bit and be easier to work with.  I had to cut fully half the nail cap off from the open end.

Do you find them difficult to get off, or do they just fall off as they wear?  

She sure sounds funny now walking on the vinyl floor.  The scraping is more pronounced. 

You're welcome!  :)

They will definitely get easier to work with as the nail regrows.  It was much harder when I started and there seemed to be barely any nail to glue to.

They do fall off as they wear.  First they get flat where the nail drags, then you get a little hole and the wear on the nail continues, but buffered by the cap around it.  Sometimes they pop off before they get hole-y enough for the nail to really start wearing - but I'd rather use less glue and lose the cap early than have the cap wear down to where it isn't helping anymore and have to struggle to get it off. 

To get them off before they wear off, I use a pick.  I have a dental pick from one of those cheap drug store sets that has a pick, a scraper and a little mirror on long handles, but you could use anything that is easy to hold, small enough to slide in the empty corners between the nail and the cap, and strong enough not to bend too easily.  Usually, since I try to keep the glue on the topside of the nail, I can slide the pick in on the unglued side, then move it around to where the glue is still holding and wiggle a little to unstick.  If for some reason I have to get a cap off before it has been worn down at all, I snip off the end with nail clippers before using the pick.  Makes it easier to separate from the nail if the tip isn't there to hold it tight.

The Soft Claws do the trick of allowing Maddie to go on walks again, but I am having some trouble getting them to stay on. I capped three claws. Two fell off after a day. I reglued them both, and they lasted a few days. However, one of them (the shortest claw) fell off again after 3 days. I put it back on and used more glue this time. Hopefully that helps. She does like her walks. I think as the nail grows, it will grip better.

We are beginning to think, though, that Maddie's issues with her foot-dragging are more serious. More to come....

Keep us posted - I hope whatever it is, is fixable/easily managed.....

I just invented my own using denture adhesive [watch for my new post soon, with photos].  It's like a dentist making a mold for a crown.  Clean the paw thoroughly.  Remove all fur from the toe with good scissors.  Heat the plastic in hot water -- ceramic cup, handle with metal spoon (it sticks to any plastic) -- until it turns clear and pliable.  As it cools and hardens, it turns white.  It remains pliable at temperatures below burning hot, so you have time to work with it.  Use a glob about the size of a pea.  Mold it onto the claw, hold until white and hard (a minute or so).  Mark the top side with a magic marker or Sharpie pen, else it's really hard to get it back on right.  Pull it off (do not let go), have your assistant (it's a 3-hand job) carefully place a drop or two of super glue into the cavity, then cap the claw and hold until the glue sets.

Use quick-setting super glue.

Practice on pencil tips first.

I did not use denture adhesive.  I have a plastic splint left over from a hand surgery, same stuff.  [Anybody know where to buy this stuff?  Amazingly useful.]  I cut off small pieces and heat in water in the microwave.

Ensure that your caps are not too wide or too big; you must avoid distorting the posture of the foot.  The caps must not spread the toes apart.

Super glue is spilly and bonds skin instantly.  Be careful.  Assistant recommended.

Super glue was developed for medical uses -- closing wounds, replacing sutures -- but the original stuff (now sold in hardware stores) is too inflammatory/irritating. It's been reformulated.  The veterinary stuff is called Vet-Bond.   DO NOT USE SUPER GLUE FOR CLOSING WOUNDS.  It's extremely hard for the E.R. people to clean out.  I used super glue here because it's just plastic-to-claw, not an open wound.

Good small precision cutting tools (maybe a good nail clipper) might be handy for removing any rough edges.

Inspect your work closely and often for any unexpected problems.

Gwynnie has DM, no cart yet, but she's scraping her hind feet badly and wearing the claws down to the quick on pavement.  So far, this seems to be working.

To be continued.

You can get/order thermoplastic pellets at Walmart, Blick ArtMichaels, and a bunch of other places.  I've used it to fit fake teeth for costumes, etc.  (Those links are to thermoplastic listings.)

Cool.  That stuff is handy!  I got the idea from my Halloween vampire fangs.  What I actually used was bits of a thermoplastic splint from my broken finger.

I just posted my whole procedure.

John,

What a creative solution!   Just remember to check the tops of her paws every day for sores.  That's the next stage....   :-(  

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