My dog has short nails so them being long aren't the issue but we have a very large tree in our backyard and have exposed roots in most of the yard that she keeps breaking her back paw nails on from running over them.

I've been reading and it says that shaving them can kill the tree but it also says not to cover them in dirt so the only thing to do is just leave them and keep dealing with broken nails?

My backyard is the only place she can run freely so it's not as simple as just taking her somewhere else. Trying to find some solution because my husband is set on just filing them down.

Exposed tree roots

2 Answers 2


You should consider filing down your dog's nails a bit, instead! Folks who regularly walk their dogs on asphalt don't have this problem, so if that isn't something you do regularly, then consider getting a dog nail grinder... there are plenty of them commercially available, they are cheap, and it doesn't take much time to do... your dog's nails won't break if they are shorter. They may already seem short enough, but if this is enough of a problem for you to be asking about it, then you should definitely consider this as a solution.

You will certainly harm the tree by grinding down the roots, and it will take far less time to grind down your dog's nails just a bit.


You can raise the grade around the tree and cover the roots as long as you do it slowly over a few years.

Every year add a half inch of compost or mulch around the tree. Repeat for as long as it takes to cover the roots.

Surface roots in urban areas are usually due the soil being compacted. Perhaps a bit of fencing to keep any compaction agents like dogs or kids away from the area would help as well.

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