You love taking care of your dog: walks, giving him treats, brushing his silky coat. Is there any part of dog ownership that is not blissful?
For many owners, one not-so-wonderful part of owning a dog is trimming the nails. The dog squirms, whines, and maybe even nips. You fear “quicking” the nail and drawing blood. The mere idea of clipping nails sparks dread in your heart, so you just avoid that vital part of pet care until you absolutely must trim them.
Stop the cycle of fearing dog nail trimming and causing a bigger problem in the long run. Today we provide some easy tips for making nail trimming more of a bonding experience and less of a torture session (for both of you).
Why Is Dog Nail Trimming So Important?
Beyond making marks on your hardwood floors or hurting you when your dog scratches at your leg for dinner, not trimming your dog’s nails can lead to serious consequences.
When your dog’s toenails hit the hard ground, the surface pushes the nail back up into the nail bed. This act of physics either asserts pressure on all toe joints or forces the toe to twist to one side, which can lead to soreness and arthritis.
Also, nerves in your dog’s feet help him navigate the world safely and process gravity. In the wild, the only time a dog’s nails touch the ground is when climbing a hill. If your pet dog’s nails are always long, the body always thinks it’s on a hill, adjusting the dog’s posture to accommodate this instinct. This “camped-under” posture is hard on a dog’s body and can lead to overly used joints and chronic stiffness and early-onset arthritis.
Save yourself expensive vet bills and misery for your dog by learning to prepare him for stress-free nail trimming now.
Safely Prepare Your Dog for Successful Nail Clipping
Ideally, you’d start helping your dog get more comfortable with nail trims as a puppy. Offering a treat every time you handle a paw and apply a little pressure with the clippers goes a long way quickly.
However, many of us already have adult dogs who have either developed an aversion to nail clipping or came to us that way. Regardless of your dog’s age, it’s never too late to start over and help your dog with his fear of having his toe nails clipped.
We suggest the following tips to help your pup accept pedicures:
- Throw a party every time your dog tries with treats and praise.
- Apply an “approach-and-retreat” system to nail trimming training. As soon as your dog relaxes, give treats and remove the clippers. Approach again and reward the slightest progress.
- Use only scissor-type or pliers clippers and never the “guillotine” style, which can crush the toe.
- Use a motorized file to smooth out rough edges and get a closer, safer trim
- Take off only small amount of nail at a time.
- Trim only until you see the white inside the nail with a small black dot in the center; any closer and you’ll reach the quick.
- Keep clipper blades almost parallel to the nail.
- Check your dog’s nails every three weeks or so to stay on top of trimming.
- If you do cut the quick, stop the bleeding with cornstarch and give the dog a treat to remove worry and stress.
- Hire a professional to work with you if you feel the task is too much for you to handle alone.
Dog nail trimming doesn’t have to be so stressful. Follow these tips to keep your dog healthy and happy so you can enjoy time together for many years to come.
For more info on how to safely clip nails and provide care to your pet, contact Kelly’s Creature Comforts today.