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Trimming Your Dogs Nails

A Stress-Free Way For Trimming Your Dog’s Toenails


The most common reasons for avoiding nail trims are that the owner is afraid of “quicking” the dog, or that the dog fusses and creates bad feelings around the procedure.

 

Nail cutting becomes an event surrounded by angst and drama. For very active dogs who run all day long on varied surfaces, cutting nails may not be necessary. High mileage wears them down naturally.

 

But among city or suburban dogs who are lucky to get a mile or two walk daily, excessively long toenails are more common than not.

One of the consequence of long toenails is painful feet. When a dog’s toenails contact hard ground, like a sidewalk or your kitchen floor, the hard surface pushes the nail back up into the nail bed. This either puts pressure on all the toe joints or forces the toe to twist to the side.

Either way, those toes become very sore, even arthritic. When the slightest touch is painful to your dog, he will fuss when you pick up his paw to cut nails.


Tools Of The Trade

NAIL CLIPPERS 


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Use only “scissor” type clippers. Guillotine style clippers crush the toe, which is painful. Never put the whole nail in a clipper.

Use small size clippers for better control. Only giant breed dogs will need large ones.

Keep your tools sharp: either replace or sharpen your clippers regularly.

File only the insensitive nail around the top and sides of the quick: “Sharpen the pencil” where the nail is the wood and the quick is the lead.

IF YOU CUT THE QUICK

Use corn starch to staunch the bleeding if you make a nail leak. With shallow cuts, this will be rare.

It’s easiest if you use a small container with tightly packed powder.


TIPS AND TRICKS

 

Trim nails outside or in a well lit room.

If you need “cheaters” for reading, use them for toenail clipping too.

It’s actually easier to see the nail structures on pigmented nails than on white ones.

The insensitive nail will show as a chalky ring around the sensitive quick.

Keep clipper blades almost parallel to the nail – never cut across the finger.

Don’t squeeze the toes – that hurts!

Use your fingers to separate the toes for clipping and hold the paw gently.

Use a pair of blunt edged children’s scissors to remove excess toe hair: nothing dulls clippers quicker than cutting hair!

Remember, no dog ever died from a quicked toenail. If you “quick” your dog accidentally, give a yummy treat right away.

Make nail trimming fun: always associate nail cutting with cookies and praise.

For maintenance, cut every two weeks. To shorten, cut every week.

Once the insensitive nail is thinned out and isn’t supporting the quick, the quick will dry up and recede. This will allow you to cut your dog’s nails even shorter. Each dog’s nails are different, but very long toenails often become dry and cracked, with a clear separation of the living tissue and the insensitive nail. This will make it easier to trim back longer nails.


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