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.

Disc Disease in Dogs

iv discAs pet owners, we all hope that our dogs never have to experience disc disease. However, this is a fairly common condition in some breeds and in many geriatric pets. Discs are essentially cushions that help to absorb tension and pressure between the vertebrae. Humans have this same mechanism and can also suffer from disc disease. By acting as shock absorbers, discs help to protect the very delicate nerves found within a dogs spinal column.

There are several reasons that may cause your dog to develop disc disease. In many cases, disc disease occurs due to a trauma, such as falling, jumping off of furniture, being struck by a car or even rough-play. Discs can also degenerate as a pet becomes geriatric. Obese dogs are very prone to developing disc disease as well due to the extra pressure on the back caused by the fat. Certain breeds, such as Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels and other breeds with long backs can be more prone to developing disc disease especially if overweight.

The symptoms of disc disease are normally rather obvious. These signs will vary; however, depending on which disc is affected as this disease can occur anywhere on the spinal cord. For example, if your dog leaps from the bed and a disc in the middle back becomes slipped (known as a slipped disc), they will have greater pain in this area and the rear legs may be more affected. The abdomen may become rigid, the dog may tremble and in some cases they may even lose control of their bowel and bladder. In cases where a disc in the upper vertebrae around the neck is affected, the dog will likely have difficulty holding its neck and head up. In any case, the dog will be weakened and often lethargic. In severe cases, disc disease can also lead to paralysis.

As pet owners, we all hope that our dogs never have to experience disc disease. However, this is a fairly common condition in some breeds and in many geriatric pets. Discs are essentially cushions that help to absorb tension and pressure between the vertebrae. They can rupture applying pressure to the spinal cord and delicate nerves.

As pet owners, we all hope that our dogs never have to experience disc disease. However, this is a fairly common condition in some breeds and in many geriatric pets. Discs are essentially cushions that help to absorb tension and pressure between the vertebrae. They can rupture applying pressure to the spinal cord and delicate nerves.

As pet owners, we all hope that our dogs never have to experience disc disease. However, this is a fairly common condition in some breeds and in many geriatric pets. Discs are essentially cushions that help to absorb tension and pressure between the vertebrae. They can rupture applying pressure to the spinal cord and delicate nerves.

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog, you should seek immediate veterinary attention. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough exam and will likely need to take X-Rays to further assess the health of your dogs vertebral column. If caught early, disc disease can be successfully treated with medications. Anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, pain medications or a combination can be used to treat this condition. Be sure to closely follow your veterinarians instructions on how to administer these medications. Dogs with acute ruptures will need surgery to remove the debris in the spinal canal and relieve the pressure on the spinal cord. I had a disc rupture a few years ago which did need surgery to remove the debris and I must say that the surgery has given me great relief and I am now pain free.

Treatment does not just involve giving medications. Your pets activity may need to be restricted and jumping and rough-play are definitely prohibited. This means no more leaping from furniture! If your pet is overweight, it will also be very important to begin a high quality diet that promotes weight loss. Your veterinarian will recommend a diet that is right for your pet. Once your pet has been cleared for increased exercise by your veterinarian, regular walks will greatly benefit your dogs weight and overall health.

Rabies

Rabies is the most infamous disease that can be passed from animals to people. It has been the subject of so many novels and movies that it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Knowing the truth about rabies can help you protect your dog and your family from this deadly disease.

What is Rabies?
Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It infects all warm-blooded animals, including people and is almost always fatal. In the United States, human cases of rabies are rare, only a few each year. The risk is still present though, since rabid animals are found in most states.

How Is It Spread?
More than 90% of reported cases of rabies today in the U.S. occur in wild animals. The species most likely to carry rabies include raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, and coyotes. Even though rats have been targeted as a major source of rabies in fictional stories, they are actually very unlikely to harbor the disease. The number of cases in domestic animals is small but still represents a significant risk, since people are more likely to come into physical contact with them.

Rabies is usually transmitted via the saliva as a result of a bite from an infected animal. The virus enters the nerves near the site of infection, and travels through the nervous system to the brain over a period of weeks or months. Symptoms occur once the virus reaches the brain. This is also the time when the saliva becomes infectious.

Rabies in Animals
Animals with rabies often exhibit behavioral changes. Wild animals may act friendly, groggy or unafraid of people. Pets may act fearful or agitated. Other symptoms include excessive salivation, difficulty swallowing, lack of coordination, and paralysis. The only accurate tests for rabies in animals are performed postmortem. Animals suspected of rabies are euthanized rather than treated, because there is no cure.dog

Rabies in People
The symptoms of rabies in people are similar to those in animals. People with rabies are kept as comfortable as possible in the hospital, but there is no effective treatment for the disease.

Rabies Prevention
Fortunately, this terrible disease can be prevented. Here are some of the ways you, your family, and your dog can stay safe.

  1. Vaccinate your pets regularly, even if they live indoors. Vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets, and horses. Vaccinated pets act as a buffer zone between rabid animals and you. If your unvaccinated pet bites someone or is bitten by a wild animal, he may be subject to a lengthy and costly quarantine.
  2. Help minimize the stray animal problem in your community. Have all of your pets spayed and neutered. Call your local animal control agency to remove strays in your neighborhood.
  3. Avoid contact with wild animals. Do not feed wildlife or allow your dog to chase or hunt wild animals. Keep garbage and pet food inside or in secure containers. Never try to keep a wild animal as a pet, or nurse a sick one back to health. Instead, contact a wildlife rescue agency for assistance.
  4. If your dog is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary care right away.
  5. If you are bitten by a wild animal or an unvaccinated pet, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. Seek medical attention immediately. Be able to provide your doctor with the location of the incident, the type of animal that bit you, how the bite occurred, and whether the animal has been captured. Treatment immediately after exposure is extremely effective. Dont be scared away by horror stories about countless shots in the stomach the current procedure is much less unpleasant than it used to be, and is certainly preferable to risking the disease.