Trimming your pet’s nails can be a struggle and become exhausting quickly. Nail trims should be a regular part of your pets grooming. Long nails can break off easily causing severe pain and discomfort. If left unattended they can also become infected. Why does your pet find nail trims so alarming? Some pets have more sensitive nails that can feel the squeeze of clippers and pain is caused by the twist and break of the nail. Also the nail can easily be accidently cut too short causing the quick to bleed.
Dogs can be taught to love nail trims just like they can be taught to do tricks. Just like when training a dog to do a trick you have to follow up with a reward. If you pet likes treats make sure you give them a treat after the nail trim. If they prefer to play or take a walk make sure you follow up right after your done trimming their nails. Start out slow. Do one paw at a time or in some cases one nail at a time. Remember you don’t have to trim all of their nails the same day. Make sure you are relaxed. Pets can sense your frustration. Don’t let it get to the point because you are only causing this to be a bad experience for both of you.
Do your research. Explore the different variations of ways to trim your pets nails. Make sure it is something you are comfortable using. If you pet is sensitive to clippers try using a file. This will take longer depending on how long your pet’s nails are but it will save you a headache and your pet from discomfort. We recommend having clotting powder on hand in case you accidently hit a quick. If this happens remember to stay calm and continue to reward them. This would be a good stopping point for the day.
Take your dog’s toe and hold it firmly but gently between your fingers. If you’re using a scissors-type trimmer, hold them at a right angle to the nail with the tip of the nail between the blades. Quickly squeeze the handles to close the scissors and cut the nail. If you’re using a guillotine-type trimmer, insert the tip of your dog’s nail into the hole, holding the trimmer perpendicular to the nail so that you cut from top to bottom, not side to side. To be absolutely sure of where you’re cutting, you can face the cutting blade toward you rather than your dog. To produce a cleaner cut, you can face the cutting blade toward your dog, but you won’t be able to see exactly where the blade will make contact with the nail. Choose whichever orientation makes you most comfortable. When you’ve positioned the trimmer in the right place, squeeze the handles to cut through your dog’s nail.
If your dog has clear nails, you can see the live quick, which looks pink. Cut the nail no closer than about two millimeters from the quick. If your dog has dark nails, you can avoid cutting into the quick by trimming one little sliver of nail at a time, starting with the tip. As you cut slices off your dog’s nail, look at the exposed edge of the cut nail. Eventually, you’ll see a gray or pink oval starting to appear. Stop trimming when you see the oval. If you don’t, you’ll cut into the quick, causing pain and bleeding. Another option with black nails is to have an assistant use a flashlight to back-light each of your dog’s nails while you trim. The light from behind the nail allows you to clearly see the pink quick.
Remember that this can be a long drawn out process if done correctly but the benefits will be worth it. If you feel you don’t have the right tools, experience, time, or are at a frustrated state call us at 915-584-4491 to schedule a nail trim appointment. Mesa Veterinary Clinic or the Paws N Hooves Mobile Veterinary Services offer affordable nail trims and save you the hassle. Our veterinary technicians have years of experience performing nail trims on all types of pets.
-Monique Munoz, Client Coordinator