There is a lot of things we do for our dogs to make sure they are well taken care off. One of the most hated tasks among dog ownership seems to be the trimming of the dog’s nails.
Most of my dog loving friends say their dogs “hate” to have their nails clipped or trimmed and the task is almost always stressful for both the owner and the pet. Many dog owners even take their dogs to the groomer or the vet to have their dog’s nails trimmed, some go as far as having the dog put under anesthesia.
Although it does take some of the stress from the owner, going to the vet or the groomer can be just as stressful for the dog, as having you cut his nails at home. Here are a few tips for a less stressful maintenance program for your dogs pedicure.
Touching the paws:
As with any other training, it is best to condition the dog to associate calmness with the situation when you don’t actually need to trim his nails. So start the process by handling your dog’s paws frequently without doing any nail trimming. If your pet is particularly sensitive to having his nails done, make it a point to touch paws daily. Just sit quietly without talking. As you pet your dog, see that he relaxes, then start to touch the paws. If possible hold them for a short period of time. Work to being able to hold the paw, squeezing paws gently to spread the nails apart, as this is the way you would handle his feet during the trimming process.
Introduce the tool:
Once you can touch and hold your dog's paws, you can introduce the tool you will be using for the trimming. You may use Clippers or a Dremmel-like tool. No matter which tool you prefer, introduce the item to your pet first without actually trimming the nails. This is very important! Simply sit with your pet and have the tool nearby. Let the dog sniff the item and relax around it. If it is an electric tool, first introduce it without being turned on, and wait for your dog to be calm around it before introducing him to the sound. If your pet has had a negative experience with the tool in the past, sit and gently touch the pet with the tool, rubbing it against the neck to desensitize him. Let him completely relax before going any further! His body language must indicate he is not afraid of the item, before you should use it to cut his nails. Never force the issue if the dog shows any kind of distress.
Cutting the nails
Once your dog is used to the tool and used to having his paws touched and held, you can start cutting his nails. Do so gently, only cutting a little bit at a time. Be patient. Even if you only get to cut a few of this nails, you are teaching him to be calm and quiet. Don’t try to cut the nail too short, risking to cut the quick, rather cut only a short amount first. Commit to cutting the nails more often rather then cutting them too short in one setting. Make the trimming a weekly process.
Here are a few tips to make sure you are cutting the nails efficiently:
Use a sharp instrument. Many people use clippers that are dull and squeeze rather then cut the nail. Be sure your clippers have a sharp edge and cut through the nail easily without rushing it.
If you need cheaters for reading, use them for clipping your dog’s nails as well and make sure you are in a well-lite area.
Keep clipper blade parallel to the nail.
On a black claw, the interface between sensitive and insensitive nail is usually chalky and white – very easy to discern.
On a white claw, the sensitive quick will look translucent and glossy, like living flesh.
If you are afraid of cutting the quick, the sensitive part of the claw, consider switching to a Dremmel like tool. Most groomers and vets have switched to using these and they are available to purchase in pet stores and online. I personally use an electric rechargeable Pet Nail Grinder by Hertzko.
We would love to hear your experience with trimming your pet's nails. Please share your comments below. If you feel someone else may benefit from our post, please like and share the blog post to your Facebook feed.
Until next time: Keep Your Paws on the Road!