Tips for Nail Trimming at Home

shutterstock_45568159Most dogs aren’t accustomed to having their paws handled—although it’s much easier if done consistently and begun at a young age. A good way to get your dog used to having his feet touched is daily paw massages. After a week or two of massages, sprinkled with a healthy dose of praise and treats, he should be more tolerant of getting his nails trimmed at home. Here is what you need to know for drama-free nail clipping:

Tips for paw massage:
– Start by rubbing between the pads of the bottom of the paw.
– Rub between each toe (check the dog’s pads for injuries or abnormalities during this step).
– Using your thumb, massage the back of the dog’s paw gently in a circular motion.
– Lightly squeeze his paw in your hand for three to five seconds.

THE TOOLS
When choosing a nail clipper, you need to take into account the size of the dog and make sure you’re comfortable using it. The two most commonly used tools are a standard scissor-type clipper or a guillotine type. The scissor style is great for puppies and small dogs—in general, this is a good tool for tight spaces. The guillotine-style toenail cutter is used by placing the dog’s nail inside the circular shape; when pressure is applied, a blade moves through the toenail. For short nails you can use a grinder or Dremel tool. The quick, a vein that runs into the nail, will recess into the nail because of the heat of the grinder, allowing you to get your pup’s claws increasingly shorter.
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THE TRIM
Begin the trimming by inspecting paws for dirt and debris. ­Using a sharp nail clipper, cut off the tip of each nail at a slight angle just before where the nail begins to curve. The quick is visible and should be avoided. If your dog has black nails, you’ll have to be extra-careful. If you do accidentally cut into the quick, apply styptic powder (baby powder works too) to stop the bleeding. Once the nails have been cut, you can use an emery board to smooth out rough edges—although this usually gets taken care of during everyday walks. •

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