Whether they are sitting pretty on the couch, chasing after the Frisbee, or cuddling with us in bed, dogs fill our lives with so much joy.
Unfortunately, they are scratching superstars. These little fellas are born to scratch. They do it out of fun, to stretch their muscles, as an outlet for frustration, to mark territories, and sharpen their claws.
If you’ve ever owned a dog before, you know that they love to scratch the most prized possessions at home. These range from the sofa, rugs, drapes, and even your skin.
Trimming the nails does the job but some pups don’t enjoy having their precious claws touched let alone clipped.
Declawing is the most permanent solution but it is inhumane and unsafe for your pet.
Enter claw claps.
These are good alternatives to declawing. They are safe and effective in curbing scratching behavior.
In this guide, we will tell you all there’s to know about nail caps for dogs including a list of the best nail caps in the market right now.
Are Nail Caps Safe For Dogs?
Nail caps are little caps made from vinyl with the shape of a dog’s nails.
They are glued onto the nails to blunt them and reduce their ability to scratch unwanted places.
The fake nails look like your pooch’s nails except these are hollow. They cover the entire nail keeping it from going on a scratching rampage.
As far as the safety of your pet is concerned, nails caps are safe for your pet. For one, they allow for retraction and extension of the nail.
As long as the caps are properly applied to the nail, your dog can make natural movements with his nails. This way, the fake nails will not burrow into his paw.
Secondly, the nail caps are made using a soft and non-toxic material that won’t cause any discomfort to your doggie’s nail beds or paws. The trick is to choose the right nail cap size with a comfortable shape and fit for your pet’s nails.
Lastly, fake nails are great because they allow for the growth of your pup’s nails. When your pet wears them, her nails will keep growing.
Pros and Cons of Claw Caps
Nail caps are great and all but they have their downsides too. Here’s a rundown of the good and bad of using nail caps.
- Effective at Preventing Scratches: With claw caps, your dog will no longer damage your carpets, furniture, and drapes. They also protect your beloved family members, guests, and kids from dog scratching injuries.
- Humane and Safe: Nail caps are soft and offer comfort to your dog. Since they still allow for retracting, extending, and natural growth of the nail, they are safer than declawing.
- Helps with Training: If you are training your doggie to use the scratching post (yes, dogs can also be trained to use a scratching post just like cats!), the nail caps will come in handy.
- Affordable: Compared to declawing, nail caps are much more affordable.
- Difficult to put On: If your dog has super-delicate paws, putting the caps on might be a real challenge. This also rings true for dogs that don’t enjoy having their paws touched.
- Requires A High Level Of Cap Maintenance: You need to monitor the caps regularly and change them accordingly to prevent an infection.
- Limits The Dog’s Locomotion: Although nail caps don’t limit retraction and extension of the claw, they certainly affect the climbing and walking ability of the cat. This, in turn, may affect the health of the dog as a whole.
- Some Dogs Don’t Like Them: Not all dogs are fine walking around with colored fake nails. Some will take forever to learn how to walk in them. Others will detest them and may ingest or chew them off doing more harm than good.
When Should You Get Your Dog Claw Caps?
Now that you understand the pros and cons of claw caps, at what point should you get your pup some claw caps?
Well, here are situations when claw caps make the most sense:
- When you have an elderly dog or dogs with skin or blood clotting issues in the paws caused by medication or underlying health problems
- When you are looking to protect your antique furniture, rugs, quilts, etc
- When you have puppies who play rough or tend to show aggressive behaviors
- When you have a dog with chronic itching or skin issues
- When you have a dog whose claws tend to get stuck in the carpet, clothing, and other fabrics
How to Remove Dog Nail Caps
Ideally, nail caps should fall off by themselves as the nail grows in about 4-6 weeks.
However, sometimes they don’t fall off as designed.
Other times, you need to manually remove them if your pet shows signs of discomfort. Perhaps her nails are the kind that grows too fast for the cap to catch on.
No matter the reasons, here a step-by-step guide on how to remove claw caps.
- Restrain The Pet: You can wrap them in a towel or blanket only revealing the paw. Consider having a second person help hold the dog in place as you remove the nails.
- Hold the dog’s paw and spread the claws using your fingers.
- Grab the claw clippers and clip the ends of the claw covers to break their seals. Next, trim the cat’s nails slowly without puncturing the quick.
- Gently squeeze the remaining part of the claw caps until it becomes loose and starts to peel off. This can take anywhere from minutes to two days, so be patient if it takes too long.
Best Claw Caps for Dogs
If you are looking for claw caps, here are the top 5 best options in the market right now.
I came up with this list after sparing a few hours to look at the best-seller lists, past user reviews, social media buzz, and editorial mentions of the best claws suited for dogs.
Adjustable and colorful, the JOYJULY Dog Nail Caps will turn your dog from a scratching maniac to an adorable pet.
The caps are available in a wide range of vibrant colors that will compliment your dog’s beauty.
The covers are also incredibly easy to put on. Simply size the open end to cater to your furry friend’s needs – no need to trim the nails first.
The caps utilize natural vinyl resin that has passed Europe’s UNITSSGS environmental certification. It is safe, non-toxic, and durable.
For one package, you get a total of 140 nail covers as well as 7 pcs of glue and 7 pcs of applicator.
The best thing about this product is that it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you are looking for a safe buy, this one fits the list.
The Brostown Soft Pet Nail Claws is another great product in the market right now. It is 100% non-toxic and dog-safe.
Although it offers features similar to other products in its category, this one has an edge, thanks to its durability.
Even the most excited cats don’t seem to dislodge the claw clovers meaning they stay longer than most. This saves money in the long run.
The package comes with 100 covers, 5 pieces of the applicator, and 5 pieces of adhesive.
If you have a medium to a big dog of 40-70lb bodyweight, these claw covers are made with him in mind.
The product is made in the USA and you can trust its safety and quality.
The material of construction is non-toxic vinyl while the adhesive is cold-bonding, non-toxic, and veterinary-grade. It is both humane and safe for your doggie.
One package comes with 40 nail caps and two tubes of adhesive.
You also receive clear instructions on how to apply the adhesive and the nails on the dog.
The kit is sufficient to last you 4-6 months.
These Dog Toe Treads are great for a dog that has mobility issues perhaps because of age or arthritis.
They are designed to offer traction as the dog walks or runs on hard floors.
Along with offering mobility support, these treads also curb scratching to a greater extent.
Made with 100% FDA-approved material, the caps are safe for your dog.
They last about 3-4 weeks between applications making them impressively durable as well.
With 20 treads, adhesive, and a cleaning brush, your dog will be sorted.
Here is another set of fancy nail caps worth your money.
The caps come in some pretty cool colors that will give your kitty the appearance of a manicure.
They are made from a soft vinyl material that meets the requirements of EU MSDS as far as safety is concerned.
The pack of 100 claw covers is highly durable. One application will last 4-6 weeks as long as you apply it properly.
With a detailed instruction manual, you will have an easy time applying the nails to your doggie.
It comes in different sizes so you will find one that fits your pet perfectly.
Do claw caps for dogs cause damage to a dog’s nail or nail bed?
The short answer is No. As aforementioned, most claw caps are carefully crafted to be soft and no-toxic to dogs.
And when they are applied correctly and professionally, there shouldn’t be any damage or discomfort to a dog’s claws or nail bed.
Correct application entails:
- Getting your pup the right size and shape of claw cap for his nails.
- Trimming the nails the right way before allowing your dog to wear claw caps. It is recommended to trim the nails slightly longer than typical nail trim and ensuring that a small gap is left between the claw cap and the dog’s nail bed.
- Using the right type and amount of glue so that there is no overflow to the dog’s nail bed, hair and skin around the claw.
- Replacing claw caps regularly—no more than 6-8 weeks—to maintain good length and health of a dog’s claws.
Are dog claw caps cruel?
No. I don’t think so. Well, some dogs might not like them, and others may be totally fine with them.
Nonetheless, I consider claw caps as one of the many options that dog owners should leverage if they cannot train their pups in other ways.
Scratching is instinctive to dogs. You are okay letting the dog scratch on trees, fences, and other places but when they damage your floors and furniture, it’s not funny anymore.
That’s where claw caps come in. Not only are they affordable but they are safe and humane for your doggie.
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Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.