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Trimming Dog Nails

Have you been hearing that telltale "click, click, click" for the last few days when your dog walks across the hardwood, tile or linoleum? Have you recently brought home a new puppy or dog and are looking to maintain his or her nails yourself? Either way, here are a few tips to help make at-home pooch pedicures more pleasant for everyone.

Overly-long nails are detrimental to your dog's health and comfort. They make walking difficult; in extreme cases they may cause the toes to twist or even grow into the sensitive pads. On a less important note, they can destroy furniture and flooring, as well.

First off, invest in a good pair of dog nail trimmers that are appropriate to your pet's size and nail thickness. When cared for properly, they will last a lifetime. Cheap trimmers may break or cut unevenly, turning clipping into an ordeal.

Also purchase a styptic powder, pencil or pads in case you cut too short. Within the nail there is a vein, referred to as the "quick" that grows as the nail grows. Therefore, it is especially easy to do in dogs with overgrown nails. Either way, styptic products will quickly and effectively stop the bleeding.

When your dog is standing squarely, his nails should not touch the floor. This is a good guide to proper length.

Try to make pedicure time fun for your dog. Collect your clippers and styptic powder. It is best to trim weekly - doing so will prevent nail overgrowth. If your dog is not used to having his feet handled or his nails trimmed, work gradually. Start by feeling his toes firmly for a few seconds. Do this until he is comfortable with you holding all feet for a few minutes at a time.

When it comes to clipping, grasp one toe at a time and clip very gradually. After each small snip, look at the bottom of the nail for a black dot, which is the bottom of the quick. Once you see this, stop cutting. If a nail starts to bleed, quickly use your styptic product to stop the bleeding. With regular trims, the quick will recess, allowing you to maintain a shorter nail length without bleeding. Don't forget the dewclaws, which are located on the insides of the legs, above the feet.

Trimming nails should be a main component of your dog's weekly grooming routine. It is good for them, good for the furniture and floors, and good for you!

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  • Published:
  • Updated: 7/14/2019: 1:21:55 PM ET