Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to cut toenails

  Not cutting your puppy's toenails can lead to problems-- later as an adult you can not control or hold your dog to cut it's toenails.  I begin cutting toenails at 3 days--and then I do them weekly until 10 weeks of age--then every 2 weeks.  My puppies/dogs learn to stand quietly as I trim their nails.  No wrestling, mouthing/biting, no screaming, and no bleeding nails.

You need to have the right tools--proper size toenail clippers, a Dremel tool, and some quick-stop powder (it can be bought at most pet supply locations or online stores).  Until your dog is fully trained, have an assistant to help hold the dog--it your dog begins to struggle and get up and away from you--you will have an issue each and every time you try to cut nails--because it has learned it can get away from you and this procedure--and mostly likely will choose to do s every  time.

As very young  puppies, I use nail clippers; for 4-8 month old puppies I use large toenail clippers.  For older puppies and  adults  I use a toenail grinder--a Dremel tool that can be bought at Home Depot or Lowe's.   Large breed dogs have thick nails which are very difficult to cut--often the gullition type toenail clipper twist the toenail as it cits--and that hurts.  So I Use a Dremel tool--easier and more comfortable for the dog-- I use the "sanding" belt and grind off the toenails.  I find grinding toenails less stressful to dogs--once they get use to the noise of the Dremel--it's a few quick strokes, round off the edges, grind off the underside ridges (and the nail will grow slower!!) and  no sharp edges ( your clothes and skin will love it!!).

Have carpet in your home?  Well, you need to cut toenails because their is no contact surface with the nails as the dog walks so they never wear down. Inside house dogs need their nails cut more frequently.

Have you ever let your toenails get too long, so that when you put on shoes your feet hurt?  Well, your dog walking around with long toenails feels the same--the long nails make his toes sore and sensitive--so when you do try and cut them--it hurts for you to touch his feet.   They can also get caught on fencing, rugs and other objects  getting twisted, broken off in to the quick, or pulled out--making for a very sore foot.  If you can hear toenails click on the floor when your dog walks--it's time to cut toenails!!

Walking with long toenails also will cause your dog's feet/toes to lengthen and your dog will  walk off the back of his feet not his toes, placing stress on his shoulder and hip joints-- it will also affect his gait and the way he will stand.  Long nails make it difficult for your dogs foot pads to make contact with the floor surface--so they make slip on some floor surfaces. Those beautiful strong arched toes and "tight" cat feet you see on those show dogs on TV come from routine nail care, exercise, and good diet.

So, keep those toenails trimmed!!  Good foot/nail care begins in puppy hood--start them young, train them to lay quietly while you examine their feet,  rub their toes, and massage their feet--get them accustomed to you handling their toes and feet--this will help desensitize them and make it easier to  trim their nails.  Get them into a routine and trimming nails will never be a "wrestle-mania" at your house. Anyone can have the feet of a champion!!

Catie C. Arney  KioKee Mastiffs  Hickory, NC