A dog who gets plenty of exercise on hard surfaces will usually keep his own toenails pretty healthy. But many dogs will require some help in maintaining toenail length and condition. A vet does a great job at clipping dog toenails but that can also get expensive. This is something that can usually just be done at home.
A good-quality pair of toenail clippers is required. It is important that your dog is not hurt when you are clipping their nails. Many dogs acquire a fear of this procedure, having been cut too close or if their paw gets pinched. A cut should not be made closer than about 1/10 inch from the tip. When clipping dog toenails, never cut from side to side. Always clip from the ground side to the upper side of the nail.
Here is a good video on clipping dog toenails
See more on proper dog care at our main page here
How to Cut Your Dogs Nails Especially When They’re Dark Colored and the Dog is UnwillingAuthor: Joe Cinova
(By Joe Cinova)
So here's the big question. When and how do I start to cut my dog's nails? It's a great question and with a little education and the right tools you can be on your way shortly. In this article I'll also give you my #1 secret for cutting a small, little, nervous dogs' nails.
The first thing you need to do before starting is to understand the whole procedure or it can be quite a traumatic experience for your pet and for you. The process itself is much easier on a dog that has "white" or "light-colored" nails than those like my Miniature Pinchers that are black. Ok so let's get started.
The first step in developing a successful program for cutting your pets nails is starting when they are young. Very young! Although cutting nails is a common occurrence for us, for a dog it's probably one of the most nerve-racking things they can be put through. Getting them use to having their nails cut is so important. It's something that will help them and you for years to come.
As soon as we got our girls home from the breeder, I got them used to having their nails cut. I developed my own process and started using it immediately. Even if I didn't really cut their nails I would go thru the actions of doing so. This way it becomes second nature to them.
Next, they always were treated and praised with a cookie after I am done. They very easily relate me cutting their nails to a positive outcome, providing I've done it correctly. To do so, the first and foremost item you need is a proper pair of nail cutters. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use nail clippers meant for a human. Here's why.
A dogs nails are different in 3 important ways. First, they are much harder than our nails. Second, their nails have what is called the "quick". This is where the "living" part of the nail begins. And third, a dogs nails are shaped completely different than ours. They are basically "flat and curved to the shape of our fingers.
The right nail cutters will make all the difference in the world. There are 2 basic types to consider. There are guillotine cutters or scissor type. Generally speaking the scissor type is better suited to a smaller animal in my opinion. Having to manipulate the larger guillotine type cutter on small nails just isn't an easy thing to do. Also, the scissor type nail cutters have a "backing" plate to prevent you taking off too much nail at one time.
Both of these cutters work well on a pet's claws for one big reason. They are shaped to enclose and cut all around the nail in one shot. If you used regular clippers for a human, they will "crush" the nail and it will break off in pieces. Your dog will go nuts.
When we cut our nails we know we can safely cut the nails down very close to the tip of the finger. If we cut too close to the skin, IT HURTS! Well, in a similar fashion, if we cut too close to the "quick" on a dog's nails IT WILL HURT THE DOG. Preventing this from happening is the difference between keeping them happy and you from sweating bullets.
So what is the "quick" in a dog's nail? Simply put it is a blood vessel that runs inside the center of a dogs nail. This is the part that you need to watch out for and the longer you wait between cuttings the closer to the end of the nail it will be.
On light colored nails it is easy to see. It is the "pinkish or whitish" looking colored part of the nail closer to the paw. Shining a light thru the bottom of the nail will also let you see it better. For dogs with darker or black nails it is much more of a challenge to cut the nail properly. Shining a light may help but the proper way to do it is a little at a time.
As you cut off very small sections of the dark colored nail you need to keep looking at the front edge of the nail. The nail will have a top dark color and the bottom will be a light or off color white. Once you cut the nail and are at a section where the "top dark color" turns to a slight gray or even a pinkish looking color, you need to stop. This is where the "quick" begins. Success! One down seven to go.
Clipping their nails on a REGULAR basis will help tremendously. Every three to four weeks should do the job. Even small cuts automatically make the quick retreat back towards the paw. This is what you want to happen so it's not as much of a worry. This is especially true for dark colored nails.
If you wait too long between cuttings it is a major discomfort to the animal. It can cause health issues including sore feet and hip problems. The nails should barely touch the ground when they walk. So if you hear them tapping on the floor or see them getting caught in the rugs, it's time to cut them.
Now for my #1 secret for cutting a small, little, nervous dogs' nails. Remember I told you I have Min Pins. They are quite a high strung breed and never have and still don't take well to having their nails cut. The girls, who are 5 years old aren't that bad. TC on the other hand is a male. He just turned 17 years old this year and is still feisty as ever.
He is the one that needs all the comfort and understanding in the world before I can touch him. He has never gotten used to it until a few years back. The secret I use is to cover him with his own blanket while I am cutting his nails.
He always tried to nip whoever cut his nails. So I first bought a small muzzle. That stopped him from biting but it made him More nervous. So I decided to place his blanket on my lap put him on it and cover him up in it while I cut. It calmed him down, which calmed me down and now we're both friends again. LOL!
I reach in and take one paw at a time and it's now a pleasure. For whatever reason, having the blanket around him keeps him calm so it's well worth trying especially on a smaller dog. You've seen the same effect on other animals. Ever watch them try to wrap up an alligator on TV? What's the first thing they do? They throw a blanket over their eyes. Well its doing the same thing here, its keeping them calm.
Talk to your vet and have them show you the correct procedure for trimming your pets nails. Use sharp nail cutters and remember to start them young and keep their nails trimmed. Proper pet care is a great responsibility. The most important thing for you is consistency and patience. Don't let the little things stop you from enjoying their company. You'll be glad you didn't and so will they!
Thanks for reading.
Copyright Cinova LLC - 2009
Joe is an on-line author and internet affiliate marketer. As an individual that's been involved with sports for years including martial arts (2nd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do), lacrosse, baseball, football, coaching and being a referee health and wellness are an important part of his life.
He has also spent years raising cats, dogs and birds. As an engineer he spends a great deal of time working on his house, designing and fixing things and developing his new business platforms.
With his experience he has written articles to share the information and experiences developed over the years.
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