November 4, 2016

Nail and Paw Care Tips

Vet trim cut dog nails at clinic

When was the last time your pup had a nail trim? If you can hear those nails click-clacking on the floor, it’s been a little too long.

Ideally, you should trim your dog’s nails before they make contact with the ground, but many pooches put up a struggle whenever they see the nail clippers. That’s why dog owners – despite their good intentions – tend to put off nail trimming. Another option is to take your dog to a professional groomer whose skills include putting dogs at ease.

If you want to try clipping your dog’s nails at home, these tips may help:

  • Start simply. Dogs may respond more favorably to nail clipping when they’re used to their feet and toes being touched. Consider touching your dog’s toes, squeezing them gently and rewarding your dog with a treat afterwards. (If your dog is extremely fearful, or growling, discontinue this exercise).
  • Trim the tips. When using a standard nail trimmer, clip just the tips of the nail so you can avoid cutting the quick – a small vein in each toenail.
  • Get a styptic pencil. If you should accidentally cut the quick, you can use a styptic pencil to stop the bleeding.
  • Use a motorized trimmer. Motorized trimmers have a grinding attachment that lets you gently grind away the toenail. The associated noise may be too startling for some dogs, so if you plan to use a grinding tool, acclimate them to the sound repeatedly for a week or two before using it on nails.

Don’t forget the paws

Paws need some attention, too, especially during the summer and when snow is on the ground. A dog’s toes can crack if they become too dry, so check them periodically and apply paw cream if toes seem dry. And don’t let dogs walk on asphalt during hot weather – the surface temperature can burn their paw pads.

Some dogs are sensitive to ice melt, which may cause sores or wounds on their feet. Apply Vaseline to toes to protect them from ice melt – or, if your dog will allow it, you can buy slip-on dog booties to keep their feet dry.