When it comes to nail hygiene, you and your canine friend have more in common than you may realize. Just as overgrown nails can become bothersome for humans, unkempt paws are a pain for pets and can make it hard for them to get traction on smooth surfaces. If you’ve ever played fetch on a hardwood floor then you know what we’re talking about: the Scooby-Doo style running in place, followed by a frantic skid across the room. This slipperiness may cause your pup to adjust their gait, which could lead to poor posture and chronic joint trouble. If their new stride goes unchecked, they could even experience hip dysplasia, arthritis, or other painful conditions in their old age.
If you notice these symptoms when your dog is in hot pursuit of their toy, it may be time for a trim! Here are some helpful tips for giving them a salon-quality “pawdicure.”
Trimming nails is a team effort, so it’s critical that your furry friend is cooperative. If your dog has never had his nails trimmed –or had a bad experience with it– one way to reduce his anxiety is to get him accustomed to having his paws touched. Teaching him to “Shake” can be a fun and effective solution and can even come in handy when it’s time for a manicure. Just be sure you do this trick for fun as well: otherwise your pup may associate “Gimme Paw” strictly with nail time and shy away from your requests.
Getting your dog used to seeing the clippers can be helpful as well! Simply touch his paw with the trimmers and release (and throw in a treat for good measure)! He will gradually become desensitized to the clippers. Speaking of which…
Investing in a good pair of clippers is another way to make manicure time easier for both you and your canine friend. The clippers you choose should be comfortable and easy to use so you can trim your pup’s nails with confidence. Some modern clippers even have sensors, which tell you precisely where to trim!
When in doubt, research! Read up on the best clipping methods and make a game plan: for instance, you might start out trimming just the nail tip, then make additional cuts once you’re more comfortable.
Choose a well-lit spot in your home to give you a clear, bright view of your pet’s nails. This will help reduce the risk of overcutting and injuring the quick— the nerve ending on each toe.
And remember: you’re only human. Mistakes happen, so why not prepare for them? Another tool to have handy is a styptic pen or powder, which will help stop the bleeding if you do cut into the quick.
Now that the deed is done, be sure to praise your pup and give him his favorite treat! Not only will he enjoy it, over time he may even associate manicures with rewards, making him even more cooperative during the whole process!
If you find that nail trimming makes you uncomfortable, ask your local Raleigh vet for a tutorial! They can show you their preferred method and give you pointers on how to replicate the process at home!
Alternatively, you can even bring your pup in for routine nail trims! Schedule your pet’s mani-pedi with a Raleigh, NC animal hospital today!