Nail trimming is one of the essential responsibilities of being a good dog owner. It can be quite a task, especially if your dog has some ‘not so good memories’ with nail trims. Luckily, there are many tips and tricks to getting you and your dog more comfortable with nail trims.
Before going in-depth, let us understand some basics regarding dog nails.
They Vary In Color- This usually depends on the color of the surrounding area, such as the fur and hair. The colors range from white, pink, brown to black. Sometimes, a change in nail color can signify a health-related problem which you should bring to the vet’s attention.
They Contain Blood Vessels- The keratin is the crucial part that takes much of the nail composition. Apart from this, there are blood vessels present that extends from the nail outwards called the quick.
Just like humans, bacterial and fungal infections can too infect dogs’ nails. In an extreme situation, this can cause life-long nail growth damage. You can quickly identify diseases by a change in coloration along with a waxy substance. They can be a site of squamous cell carcinoma, i.e., cancer, and hence their toe should be regularly monitored for any swelling.
Therefore, I urge you to follow these five essential steps rightly to groom your doggies well.
Step 1: Begin When Young
Have you ever wondered why dogs bark at things when they see them for the first time? That’s because dogs have an in-built response to everything they see or hear. They bark to make you cautious about something, or it’s just their way of communicating.
If dogs are adapted to the nail trimmer since young, they know its uses and after-effects. It will also help you maintain a good rapport and understanding with your pet. It will be a kind of exercise that will familiarize them with all the equipment, their work, and how it will change their nail anatomy. Hence, your doggies will not be scared and will cooperate reasonably.
However, imagine, you suddenly get this tool and cut a small part of their foot! It is evident for them to be exasperated. Simply because they do not understand what is going on and the importance of grooming, you do.
Now, if you’re an adult pet owner and are still trying to cope up with this activity, start it right away. Firstly, acquaint your dog with all the grooming tools. Picture the entire set with the help of a dog toy so that your dog sees the whole process. Maybe, after the whole procedure, act as if you are petting the toy and giving it some snack or treats.
Step 2: Know When It Is Required
Did you know, dog nails are a part of their defense mechanism, and you are not supposed to get rid of them all the time?
Apart from this, nails also help them maintain their grip on the ground. If not the nails, they surely will slip and roll off the floor. Nail growth depends on genetic factors, breed, age, lifestyle, motility as well as diet.
So how does one know it’s the right time to get your dog’s nails groomed?
Ideally, it would be best if you trimmed nails after a period of 2 to 3 weeks. Remember, if they have grown too long, there will be clattering every time they move on hard surfaces. They should not touch the floor while standing and should not project out of the pad. Dog’s nails are supplied with blood vessels called ‘quick,’ and you are supposed to chop off just above the quick. The general advice is to cut 2mm above the quick. Now, this sounds simple, if it’s a light-colored nail. If your dog has a dark-colored nail, there are chances for the quick not to be visible. Therefore, in such a situation, try filling the nail edges, or on your next visit to the vet, make sure to ask and get your doubt cleared. If not, you could even request a professional dog groomer to locate it for you.
Some tips on cutting dark-colored nails
- Try focusing on some flash or bright light to locate the quick.
- It is sometimes visible on the under-side of the nail.
- Apply some baby lotion to smoothen the surface for an easy cut.
- It is often recommended to trim nails after a shower, as water retention aids in softening the nails.
- Invest in good quality trimming equipment.
Step 3: The Actual Procedure
- Get prepared
Assemble all the tools required. These include nail cutters, plucker, clippers or scissors, cotton, some baby lotion. Make sure all the pieces of equipment are clean and sterilized. Once you’re ready, grab your dog, give him/her some cuddles, and treats such as a bone or biscuits.
- Decide the length
While your dog is busy chewing the given treat, gently look for the length of its nail. Check for the quick. Use the flashlight tip and get ready for the process.
- Trim it right
The correct method is to trim parallel to the quick present above. If the floor beneath is laid horizontally, you need to cut it diagonally, making an angle of around 120 degrees. So, it will be in the direction of the upper left to lower right.
- Apply some lotion
Once you finish the trim, apply some lotion and give a gentle rub to the foot.
Step 4: Troubleshooting
While completing this process, there are chances for things to go wrong. There can be bleeding after the trimming. Be calm and clean the area with lots of clean water. Make sure there is less contact with the surface to prevent any infection. Look for some dog antiseptic cream or styptic powder and gently apply it over the affected area. If the bleeding doesn’t stop for over 30 mins, then give a ring to the vet or try contacting the pharmacy if an emergency.
Teach your dog to lay down in a relaxed position during the entire process. If the dog is hyperactive for some reason, it is advised to use clippers made particularly for dogs. Filing the nailing is also advisable because the trim has left pointy tips that can be dangerous to your pet. They will round on their own, but for safety reasons, you can do that instantly.
Step 5: Finish It With A Reward
Dog sticks, bones, biscuits are some treats your dog loves to relish. Rewarding is an excellent technique for encouraging good behaviors in your doggies. Every time they are disciplined and do something good, you can gift them these snacks. Dogs tend to remember every action they’ve been praised for or yelled at. And hence, they are smart enough to decide if they should repeat the same act or not. So, treating them for being good can motivate them to maintain the same discipline and order during their next grooming session.
Failure to trim regularly
– Longer nails can get tough and cause a lot of pain
– It also gets difficult to cut long hard nails
– Dust and dirt can quickly accumulate beneath or within the spaces
– Chances of infection and contamination when in contact with soil or mud
– They can crack and reduce traction to the surface
– Chances of scratches, if kids are playing with the pet
– Possibilities of them scratching their ears or nose
Positives of trimming regularly
– Reduces pain of longer cuts
– Less pressure over toe joints
– Good grip- comfortable to walk and move around
– Reduces damage to furniture
– Keep away potential injuries
– Keeps out all the unnecessary scratches while playing
– It is also believed that the right nail length helps dogs maintain their posture well
Take home message
These easy tips and tricks will guide you through a smooth grooming routine. So, the next time you plan on one, make sure to be well versed with all these points in mind.