Animal Care

NAIL TRIMMING

How often should I trim my dog’s nails?

Unfortunately, in many cases, the answer to this question will be “more often than you think.” Many pet owners put off trimming their dogs’ nails, waiting until the next trip to the vet or groomer. The reason for this reluctance is simple: most pets don’t like getting their nails trimmed at all, and many owners are deathly afraid of cutting the quick of the nail and making a pet bleed.

Both of these fears can be addressed. Pets will grow accustomed to nail clipping if it’s done calmly and becomes part of their routine. (This is why you should strongly urge new puppy owners to get their pets into the habit of nail trimming early.)

In terms of cutting the quick, even though the blood may look scary, this is not a serious injury. To stop the bleeding, apply styptic clotting powder or gel to the edge of the nail and hold in place, applying pressure for 30-60 seconds, or until the bleeding stops.

Clipping nails is important to a pet’s health and well-being. Long nails can become snagged in carpets and furniture causing an injury to the pet, plus they cause undue stress on the joints of the paws.

There is no set time formula for nail clipping, since nails grow at different rates. More active dogs will wear down their nails during play, allowing them to go longer between clippings. In all cases, nails should be short enough so that they do not touch the floor when the dog walks.

You can choose from guillotine style and scissor style nail clippers. Guillotine style is usually better for smaller dogs, while scissor style trimmers are more suited for larger breeds. When using either, the dog’s paw should be held firmly, and gentle pressure should be exerted so that the nails protrude. Clip in small pieces, working from the very tip of the nail, and taking care to avoid the quick.

Wetting a dog’s paws beforehand will make the nails softer and easier to clip. If a dog is nervous about clipping, do only one or two paws per session. Don’t forget the nails on the dewclaws, which are slightly above the feet on the inner side of the legs.