Tips on Clipping your Dog’s Nails
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Book Three in our blog series ‘A Life with Dogs’ has been all about GROOMING.
Today we touch on clipping your dog’s nails.
A dog’s idea of personal grooming is to roll on a dead fish! – James P. Gorman
Even though the clickity-clack, pitter patter of tiny paws (say that three times fast) is adorable, the universe’s cruel joke is that once you can hear your puppy’s nails on your hardwood, they are already too long.
Why not learn to trim their nails at home and spend that spare $10 on pizza and popbetter things?
Below are tips for clipping your dog’s nails safely.
Purchase Proper Clippers
There are three types of clippers available: guillotine, scissor, and grinder.
According to the AKC, each type of clipper has benefits for different dogs.
For instance, the guillotine is best for small to medium sized dogs, as greater hand strength is required for this style.
For large dogs, scissors are best because they help apply extra force.
For dogs that cannot stand having their nails clipped, a grinder may be appropriate, which simply sands the nail down to manageable length.
Follow the steps below to trim your dogs nails:
1. Pick up a paw and firmly but gently place your thumb on the pad of a toe and your forefinger on the top of the toe on the skin above the nail.
2. Push you thumb slightly up and backward on the pad while pushing your forefinger forward. This extends the nail.
3. Clip only the tip of the nail, straight across.
4. Avoid clipping past the curve of the nail or you risk hitting what is called the quick. A nick there is painful and will bleed.
Desensitise Puppy to Paw Handling
For many pet owners, the hardest part of nail clipping is getting their dog to simply engage in a hand-holding session for the required amount of time.
If your puppy is rebelling against showing its mom or dad a little love, work on desensitising your puppy to paw handling by providing a reward every time you touch or pick up its feet.
Enlist the Help of a Friend
The first few times you clip your puppy’s nails it may be best to have a friend help you by holding your dog still and also speaking calmly to your pet and stroking its egotelling it what a good, brave, special, etc. dog it is.
Beware of Clipping the Quick
Dog owners may be fearful of clipping their dog’s nails at home because of the chance of accidentally clipping the quick of the dog’s claws, which is a blood-filled vein that runs into the nail bed.
For dogs with white nails, the quick is easy to see (look for a red or pinkish area along the side of the nail) and make sure to leave a little bit of space between the end of the nail and the quick after it has been trimmed.
As soon as you see a black circle in the middle of the nail you are nearing the quick and should stop trimming.
If you do accidentally hit the quick, don’t worry: even professionals make that mistake sometimes.
Simply grab a styptic pencil to stop the bleeding, and then give your pup a well-deserved treat.
Provide Plenty of Praise Afterwards
Nail trimming can be stressful for pets, especially for those who do not like to have their paws handled, aren’t used to the sound and sensation of nail clippers, or who simply can’t sit still for that long.
Always reward your dog profusely for any and every good behavior, and never punish your pet for being anxious or unsure of a nail trim.
The American Kennel Club also tells us, that regular nail maintenance is more than just cosmetic.
Unhealthy nails can cause pain and, in rare instances, trigger irreversible damage to your dog.
“A dog’s nail consists of the living pink quick and the hard outer material called the shell. The quick supplies blood to the nail and runs through the core of it. Nerves in the quick cause bleeding and discomfort when cut. Regular nail trimming will cause the quick to recede from the end. Short quicks are the preferred length for the dog’s well-being and easy maintenance.
Long nails can actually turn a sound paw into a splayed foot and reduce traction, and they can cause deformed feet and injure tendons over an extended period.
As the long nail hits the ground, the pressure puts force on the foot and leg structure.”
Apart from keeping your dog’s feet in a healthy state, trimming their nails at home can save a lot of time and money, as well as help you better bond and socialise with your pet.
Learning how to complete this task at home is easy with the proper tools, calm, and a little practice.
Pup Update – 1-2 Years
“Jerry’s my name… and grooming’s my game!”
My boy has matured beautifully. If you can remember Jerry as a Puppy, none of his freckles were visible, he had a smallish head and his Cocker nose was no-where to be seen. 18 months later, he has grown into such a regal looking dog. Remarkable markings, a real Cocker snout, and eyelashes any girl would be jealous of. Grooming has been such an important part of Jerry’s growth, and to be honest, that of any dog. To become comfortable in the hands of a stranger while they handle all their precious bits, maintaining trust and calm is not something you should take for granted. Once we found the right Groomer, that was it! Maintaining this relationship was the most important thing for Jerry’s comfort. When it comes to nail clipping, well I prefer his Groomer to handle this as I just don’t feel confident. Ear cleaning, well that’s something we do at home and, if you know anything about Cocker’s… well that’s a regular event!
Ash Sukhwani a.k.a. Mother of Jerry
Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan
Next up is the final ‘Grooming Talk’ Chapter
Another very important at-home grooming task: Ear Cleaning.
Watch this space – Chapter Twenty-Three – Coming Soon
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Photo Credits: Bailey – @baileyb767, Arlo – @arlothecavoodle, Calvin – @calvinthecockerspaniel, Maisie, FADM, Barry, Jax, Bailey – @baileyb767, Bella, Jerry – @jerrythecockerspan