Tips for Trimming your Pet’s Nails

Nail care is a vital part of your pet’s total health care. Because nails continuously grow and are not necessarily worn down as they could if they have been going for walks, in that case it is up to you to help in keeping them at a more comfortable length. Whenever nails are too long, this affects the manner a dog walks which may lead to inflammation of the joints later on in life. Additionally longer nails could possibly get snagged as well as torn, or on occasion curl back into the toe pad and may also cause an infection. Trimming nails is not that upsetting if you have the correct gear and have taught your dog to let you hold the paw.

The nail has a “quick” which houses the veins and nerves of the nail.The quick is easier to see in white nails. By trimming small amounts at any given time and trimming with the plane of the bottom part of the toe pad (horizontally rather than vertically) you can keep from cutting the nail to short as to make it bleed.

Here are a few additional guidelines to successfully cut your pet’s nails:

small nail trimmers

1. Get started while your pet is still a puppy or kitten by gradually holding their feet. Start by making a sport of it and examining the nails, chances are they will allow you to cut them when they grow older.

2. Decide a nail trimmer for the size and age of your pet. I will sometimes use a human toe nail trimmer for young pet’s nails since it can easily get to the tiny points a tad easier and they are generally sharper. As your kitten or puppy grows older, I may then switch nail trimmers to the scissor action style of trimmer as an alternative to the guillotine trimmer. I find that these stay sharper longer and are easier to use. The guillotine type some times catches the nails and doesn’t necessarily make a clean cut. Your veterinarian will help you choose a proper trimmer.

large dog nail trimmers

large dog nail trimmers

3. When you are trimming your pet’s nails, by no means undertake it when your pet is sitting in your lap. Enlist someone to aid you and set them on the counter or lid of the washer or dryer. You may wrap them with a bath towel to assist holding them even better. If your pet begins to fight, just try holding the paw until he calms. In the event you let go of the foot when your pet begins to protest, you are just encouraging the poor behavior and will make the next nail trim episode even more difficult. (Go back to number 1)

styptic power

Styptic Powder

4. Be well prepared. Have available styptic pencils like silver nitrate or Kwik stop powder. Be aware that the silver nitrate on the end of the sticks will stain counters and your skin in the event you get it on you. The styptic powders are better for beginners.

5. If your pet has light colored nails, you are able to see the pink portion of the quick. If your pet has darker nails, trim only a little at a time. I like to carefully press on the toe and extend the nail out. I then draw an imaginary line level with the bottom of the toe pad and extend it out across the nail. I then trim the nail at this imaginary line so that the nail is now level with the floor when the pet is standing.

6. You can use an emery board to smooth the rough edges.

pedipaws

Pedipaws

7. Pedipaws or similar rotor drill sanders are helpful to smooth rough edges and to trim just a small amount of nail. If the nail is very long whatsoever, then it can take you forever to get it trimmed. You might use the drill to keep the nail shorter or for smoothing the nail after you have used the clippers. Your pet will also need to be taught not to be terrified of the motor, so it is advisable to proceed gradually while you each figure out how to control the drill.

With a little practice and a lot of patience, you may soon be trimming your pet’s nails with confidence. If all else fails, your veterinarian or groomer are there to help.

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