Judging by how many panic stricken stares I’ve seen at the mere mention of nail trimming, it seems there are quite a few of you out there who are terrified of traumatizing or even mutilating Rover in an attempt to trim his nails. But with the right approach the whole process can be a stress-free activity for both of you.
There are plenty of tips on the internet, many just plain useless (not naming any names) and some downright cruel. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I have included a clip from internationally-acclaimed veterinarian and animal behaviourist Dr. Sophia Yin. A few additional pointers before viewing:
- Start when Rover is relaxed; after exercise – good. First thing in the morning – not so much.
- Prepare a dish full of delicious treats beforehand. That means something better than kibble for nearly all dogs. We’re talking Rock-Your-World Yummy. I like Wellness Pure Rewards because they’re healthy, gentle on the tummy, easy to break into small pieces and dogs love them but you can use chicken breast, cheese or liver treats. Yes your dog might like apples or carrots but probably not enough.
- Until you get the hang of it you might want to enlist an ‘assistant’ to do the feeding while you do the handling.
- Know where the quick is: It’s the inner part of the nail containing blood vessels and nerve endings. If Rover’s nails are light it’s easy to avoid. With black nails it’s a little more challenging so trim in very small slices. If you cut the quick by accident it will hurt as well as bleed for quite some time so have some styptic powder nearby just in case. Rest assured that he will recover but he might head for the hills the next time you appear with the clippers in hand so take extra care building up his trust the next time by going slowly and being even more generous with treats.
- Spend lots of time initially working on getting Rover feeling happy about you squeezing his feet gently and manipulating his toes. If you’re patient with this part you won’t even need to restrain him much.
Now watch and Happy Trimming!