How can I trim my dog’s toenails?

April 13, 2012

When you hear the toenails of your dog tapping on the floor when it walks, it is your cue to bring out the dog’s nail clipper, the nail file and the styptic powder – it is time to trim Fido’s or Lady’s toenails. Dog owners would tirelessly brush the coat of the pet to give it a gleaming and a lush appearance. But why trim the dog’s nails? The dog doesn’t care where it walks. Dirty feet are not uncommon in dogs as they walk on dirt, mud and they also have the propensity to dig. Isn’t trimming the nails a waste of time more so because not many dogs would like to have their feet touched and the nails trimmed? Trimming the nails of the dog though is necessary if you do not want your silk dress ripped if the dog jumps at you while you are dressed to kill for a party. Dogs have this habit of jumping excitedly at family members. An untrimmed toenail will appear like a hook that can accidentally pierce the skin not only of the dog but of the human as well. Did you know that long nails can have serious effects on the health of your pet? The foot can splay or spread because of long nails. This could cause the lameness of the dog.

A dog can run or walk more comfortably if the nails are trimmed. Nails should be trimmed once or twice a month. For dogs that are accustomed to nail trimming, the procedure will only take a few minutes. Trimming the nails should start while the dog is still a puppy. A puppy will be more manageable and the task can be done by one person. A grown up dog that pots up a resistance would need two persons, one holding the dog’s foot and the other cutting the toenails. This situation commonly happens in grown up adopted dogs. Still, toenail trimming can be done. First is to get the dog accustomed to having the feet touched. Once the dog is comfortable you can cut one nail a day. Treats would help to get the dog more cooperative.

A dog’s toenail would be easier to trim as they are not retracted unlike a cat’s. Before starting to give your pet a pedicure, prepare the things you will need. There are several types of nail trimmers. You can use any kind but be sure that it is sharp. Have a silver nitrate stick or styptic powder at hand. This will be needed if you have cut the nail too short and it bleeds. Look closely at the nail before you start to trim. Clear toenails would be easier to cut as the quick is easily visible. The quick is the pink part seen under the nail. Dark pigmented nails are harder to trim as you cannot visualize where the quick begins. Trim clear toenails by making a parallel imaginary line from the foot pad to the nail. The intersection point is where the nail should be trimmed. For dark pigmented nail, it is not advisable to clip the hook-like part in one go as this can cut the quick and cause bleeding. Trim the black nail a little piece at a time. Stop when you see the black or gray color under the nail turns translucent. You have reached the quick and cutting further will cause bleeding. This is why it would be necessary for the dog to remain still and relaxed. Don’t worry if you have cut into the quick. The dog is expected to bleed as the quick contains nerves and blood vessels. Apply pressure to stem the flow of blood and then apply styptic powder. If none is available use cornstarch or baby powder instead. Use a nail file to smoothen rough edges. All done! Reward the pet with a treat.

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