Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Trim Your Dog's Nails

Clipping A Dogs Nails
Trimming your dog's nails on a regular basis is an important part of the care and grooming process. Unfortunately, it also tends to be the most unpleasant. Most veterinarians will advise you to trim your dog's nails every 3 to 4 weeks; this may vary depending on the breed of your dog. Trimming your dog's nails at home can be a huge money saver and over time could become a bonding experience for you and your dog. Here are a few simple steps that will help you to be better prepared the next time you hear your pooch's nails tapping on the floor.

Prepare for Trimming Your Dog's Nails

Making sure you have all of the supplies needed in order to trim your dog's nails is the most essential step in the trimming process. You'll want to have all of the materials within an arms reach so you don't have to walk away from your dog in the middle of trimming. Important items to have on hand are:
*a) Dog Nail Trimmers
There are two types of nail trimmers that are most common and you should be able to pick these up at any pet supply store. The guillotine trimmer is great for small to medium dogs since they do not normally tend to have incredibly thick nails. It's sturdy and easy to grip, making it perfect if you have a dog that tends to struggle while you're trimming. The other type of trimmer is a scissor style, and this one can be a little bit more difficult to handle. It's best to use this type of trimmer if your dog has straight nails and is normally okay with getting their nails clipped. Its best to examine your dog's nail type and their level of comfort with getting a nail trim before making the purchase for either type of trimmer.
*b) Styptic Powder
Styptic powder is an antihemorrhagic powder you can use to stop any bleeding caused by clipping your dog's nails too close to the quick. If you can't find styptic powder at your local pet supply store, you can substitute using corn starch.
*c) Treats
It's great to keep treats handy to reward your dog for good behavior after you complete trimming each nail. This is positive reinforcement and will set up you for an easier trim the next time around.

Determine the Place

Since you're trimming your dog's nails at home, you'll want to find a comfortable spot where you both have plenty of room. If you have a small dog, it may be easier for you place him on a table or countertop, if not, the floor should work out just as well.

Prepare Your Dog

Once you have a safe spot picked out, make your dog comfortable by laying him on his side, this will also make access to all four paws much easier.

Begin Trimming the Nails

To begin clipping the nails, push back the skin around the nail so the full nail is exposed. If your dog has clear nails, you'll be able to see the quick and determine where to stop, however, if your dog has black nails you'll want to trim in small snips until you see a small dark circle. Once you see that circle, you know you're finished with that nail and can move on. If, by chance, you clip too close and cause bleeding, stop trimming immediately and dip the nail in styptic powder or cornstarch.

Reward Good Behavior

Since having their nails trimmed can be a stressful experience, you'll want to make sure you reward good behavior by giving your dog a treat with each finished nail. This will help to ease anxiety and make the experience much more enjoyable.

By using the steps outlined for trimming your dog's nails, you're making sure the process is safe and stress-free for both you and your dog. Don't feel bad if it doesn't go perfectly the first time, this will take practice and patience, but once you get started you'll wonder why you were ever worried to begin with. Your pooch's perfect pedicure is only a few snips away.

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