How do I… Trim My Pet’s Nails?

by | General Pet Care |

One aspect of pet care that can’t be ignored is the trimming of nails. Overgrown nails can be uncomfortable or even painful for your dog if they crack or split, but can damage floors and scratch people by accident. Trimming your dog’s nails is an important aspect of keeping them healthy.

Introducing your new puppy to the experience of having people handle their paws is a great way to extend the experience of nail clipping. By incorporating praise and treats, your puppy will look forward to this interacting. For inexperienced owners, watching and learning about how to do it properly from your veterinarian during your puppy’s annual shots is very useful. The nail is partially filled with blood and nerves near the base of the nail. Accidentally cutting the nail too far will cause pain for your dog, as well as bleeding.

To trim your dog’s nails, you will need a clean pair of nail trimmers that are in good condition and free of rust.

Tips for a great trim:

-Less is more. It is better to trim near the end of the nail and cut more off if you need to, then cutting too far and risk hurting your dog.

-White nails will visibly show the blood vessels underneath. Take care not to cut close to this area. On black nails, trim smaller amounts at a time.

-Rewarding your dog with petting, praise and a treat is a good way to associate this experience with a good thing, to keep them quiet and comfortable.

-If you do cut the quick of the nail and there is a small amount of blood, use clean gauze to stop the bleeding. (If there is more than a few drops, call your vet for advice and possibly emergency care.)

-Trim the “dew” claw as well, which is the extra claw further up the leg.

Cats do not typically have problems with overgrown nails if they have a proper scratching post or board. There are many new products on the market that have specialized textures and scents to attract cats to scratch them. Be sure to periodically inspect your cat’s paws, to ensure the nails are healthy and strong. Your veterinarian should inspect problems, as they could be a part of a more serious problem or become infected at the base of the nail.

Other house pets such as rabbits may also require nail care. Talk to your veterinarian about how you can ensure your pet’s nails remain healthy and strong.

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