Nail Trims- the short and quick of it.

“He doesn’t like it, he snaps at us”
“She won’t let me near her feet!”
“His nails are too dark, I don’t want to cut him”

Sound familiar? These are just some of the reasons pet owners are hesitant to cut their dogs nails. With the cold weather around us and less time outside running around, the familiar “clickety-clack” of our dog’s nails on the floor can echo through the house. As pet owners we need to remember that their nail health is just as important as anything else.
Trimming your pet’s nails is an important part of keeping them comfortable. Long toenails can add unnecessary pressure onto the nail bed, which can be painful for some pets. Imagine wearing a pair of shoes that are too tight- this is the same type feeling your pup may be feeling if her nails are too long.
Proper nail care can also help to improve posture. When your dog’s nails are too long he may adjust his posture to overcompensate, which can lead to joint problems over time.
The most uncomfortable situation of all is the risk of having overgrown nails split, tear or even curl into nail bed. These can all be very painful for our beloved dogs.
Here at My Vet we want to help take away the fear, anxiety and stress of giving your furry pal a nail trim. Below are some steps to getting comfortable with giving your pet a pedicure!

Here’s what you’re going to need:
• Scissor type nail clippers: These are available at all pet stores. Here at My Vet we recommend using the scissor type nail trimmers as they are more user friendly!
• Styptic Powder: This is available at all pet stores. Styptic powder is an antiseptic clotting powder that helps to stop bleeding by contracting the blood vessels and preventing bacteria from entering the bloodstream.

photo of red handled scissor type nail trimmers and a bottle of styptic powder

Ready? Let’s go!

Step 1: Get comfortable! The most important thing to remember is to make nail trimming time as calm and comfortable as possible. The best way to do this is to pick a time when your dog is relaxed, even sleepy. Taking a seat on the floor with your pup and gently rubbing his paws while giving treats and letting him smell the nail clippers can help him get used to nail trim time.
Step 2: The cut! Take your pups toe and hold it gently, but firmly. Having a firm grasp can help give you better control over the area you are trimming.
• While holding the toe, place the nail through the trimmer’s opening. Start with just the tip of the nail- you want to make sure you do not trim more than 1/16th of an inch at a time.
• Remember to avoid the pink area in your dog’s nail- this is the quick. The quick is the part of your pup’s nail that holds the blood vessels and the nerves. Cutting into this area can bleed and become uncomfortable for your dog. If your pup has black nails you can avoid this area in two ways- look at the underside of the nail and you will see an area where the nail separates into a triangle shape- you will want to cut above this point. The second way to identify the quick is to look at your dog’s nail after you cut the tip- you should see a black dot in the center of the nail when looking at it directly. This area will look a gray/pink color when you are close to the quick.
• Don’t forget the dewclaws! These nails do not get worn down with daily walks and can easily be missed. These are the nails that are about 2” above their front feet (not all dogs have them but make sure to check).
• Oops! You cut the quick! Don’t panic! If this happens, apply styptic powder to the nail with some pressure. This should work quickly to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t stop in 30 seconds or less you may need to apply more styptic powder until it does- if you do, do not wipe the nail before applying; this will help to clot the blood. As messy as it may be, remember to remain calm and feed your pup some treats to move his focus.

Step 3: Reward! Reward! Reward! Give your pup lots of praise. You want to have them associate nail trims as being another fun bonding moment between the both of you.

We have attached some videos to show you how it is done. As always, you are more than welcome to phone My Vet at 773.235.8387 with any questions or to schedule a nail trim for your pup!