Trimming your dog’s nails is a vital part of essential grooming. Correct hygiene greatly contributes to your dog’s health and comfort. But, isn’t the idea pretty scary? Are you afraid you’ll cut into the quick (nail bed) and cause your dog pain? Of course, it doesn’t help matters that dogs seriously dislike humans messing around with their paws and claws!
Why is it necessary to trim my dog’s nails?
Mother Nature didn’t intend for dogs to live in houses! The friction of concrete or gravel will naturally keep an outside dog’s nails shorter.
If neglected, long nails will compromise your inside dog’s health. Extra long nails will curl under and begin to grow into the footpads. Not only is this situation painful, it can cause infection. Also, if your pet companion catches one of his long nails on an object, he could split or tear the nail off. This could necessitate to trip to the veterinarian.
Preparation for First Pedicure
You can help your pet companion adjust to this dreaded phase of grooming by mastering the art of correctly caring for your dog’s nails.
If your dog remains uncooperative after a couple of attempts, consider scheduling a hands-on session with a professional groomer. He/she can show you tricks of the nail trimming trade!
Try to recruit a willing assistant to hold your wiggly pooch. Next, purchase a pair of nail trimmers specifically made for dogs. Also, buy some styptic powder to quell bleeding in the event you accidentally cut your dog’s nails into the quick. For hygiene and safety sake, wear gloves during the procedure.
The Dreaded First Pedicure
Like any journey, mastering the art of the pedicure begins with a single step!
Before taking that first snip, talk to your pet companion in a soothing voice. He may not appear nervous, but you can safely assume your dog will not enjoy his first pedicure.
Note: Experts suggest if a nail feels “spongy” stop trimming, as you’re reached the quick.
Your assistant should hold your dog in a supine position, either on a table or the floor, so that both of your hands are free.
Hold the nail trimmers in your dominant hand and firmly grasp the paw with the other. Spread the toes apart, select the first nail and squeeze the doggie nail trimmers in one confident motion.
Repeat until all your dog’s nails are clipped.
Provided the planets are aligned correctly, you will have successfully accomplished that dreaded first pedicure! Give your companion a doggie treat. Hug and praise him for being such a good dog.
However, things happen!
What if I cut into the quick?
You’ll know it immediately. Your dog will yelp in pain and the affected nail will bleed. Clean the area with a paper towel and pack a pinch of styptic powder on the injured nail tip.
Be mindful that although cutting through the nail’s quick will cause a sharp pain (thus the “yelp”) it is of short duration.
Also, like humans, your dog has “muscle memory”, causing him to cry out in pain with each squeeze of the nail trimmers. If the area does not bleed, you can conclude he has experienced pedicures where humans cut his nails to the quick. His yelps are caused by pain expectation.
Just talk to him in a soothing voice and reassure your dog everything is all right.
What if my dog refuses to be still?
It certainly increases the difficulty level of nail trimming if your dog persists in wiggling and squirming. You might try clipping your dog’s nails in increments – trim only one nail the first attempt. Praise him, “You’re such a good boy!” if he tolerates it. This gradually gets him adjusted to the entire procedure.
But, if he struggles so hard he could get hurt or hurt you, delegate this area of your dog’s health regime to a professional.