Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Do You Dread Trimming Your Dog's Nails?

Whether you use a dog groomer or not, sometimes you need to trim your dog's nails.  Most dog's nails seem to grow really fast, a lot faster than their fur!  I almost never have to trim Icy's nails, she's so active they get worn down naturally.  I often need to step in and trim Phoebe's nails myself between grooming sessions.

Icy is always outside, running around the yard or taking very long walks and hikes.  Her nails always wear down naturally.  She goes to the groomer for a bath on occasion, but rarely needs any grooming.  Other than brushing of course, because the way Huskies shed, brushing them is like a full time job, LOL!

When you need to trim your dogs nails yourself, use the right tool.
Icy is so active, her nails wear down naturally and rarely need to be trimmed.
Phoebe, on the other hand, needs to be groomed several times a year.  I like to let her hair grow out in Winter to keep her warm, so she goes several months between grooming sessions.  During that time her nails get really long!  She goes out for walks and does some hiking with us, but she's not quite as active as her Husky sister.  Her nails don't get naturally trimmed the way Icy's do.

Do you dread having to trim your dog's nails?  Make sure you have the right tool
Phoebe isn't nearly as active as Icy.  Her nails seem to grow at lightning speed, so trimming her nails between grooming appointments is a must!
I had been struggling with trimming Phoebe's nails for a while.  It was getting so frustrating trying to clip her nails.  I'd get out the nail trimmer and make an attempt, but it didn't do the trick very well.  Then, I'm embarrassed to say,  I'd get out my own large toenail clipper and try to use it to trim her nails.  That didn't work out so well either.  I just couldn't get the hang of successfully trimming my dog's nails!

My husband, a serious DIY-er always says "You need the right tools for the right job".  I thought I had the right tool, a pet nail trimmer!  The trimmer came in a pet grooming kit I won at a party a few years ago.  I had used it but only sporadically.  What I didn't realize was that the trimmer had gotten really dull really fast.  I couldn't successfully trim Phoebe's nails because the trimmer was too dull to make a clean cut.  How did I find that out?  My husband suggested the trimmer might have gotten dull and was no longer able to make a clean cut.  I decided to make one last ditch effort and buy a new pet nail trimmer.  If I couldn't be successful, I'd resolve myself to extra trips to the groomer just to get her nails trimmed.  As though grooming isn't expensive enough!

These two dog nail trimmers look like the same kind of tool, but one of these things is not like the other.  One of these things is dull and won't cleanly cut!
I found one in the store that looked pretty good so I bought it.  I was trepidatious, I didn't expect it to work any better than the one I had.  I assumed the problem was me, I just couldn't perform the simple task of cutting my dog's nails.  To my surprise, the new nail trimmer worked perfectly!  I was able to get a clean, sharp cut the first time.  No flattening of the nail or not catching it, just a clean cut.  I was overjoyed!  I had felt so inadequate not being able to do the simple task of trimming my dog's nails.  Now I know, dog nail trimmers don't last forever.  They wear out and get dull!


If you have the right tool, the job of trimming dogs' nails is a lot easier

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO TRIM YOUR DOG'S NAILS?

Keeping your dog's nails trimmed isn't just cosmetic, it has actual health implications.  Letting your dog's nails get too long can cause them to lose traction as they walk and run, which could lead to a foot or leg injury.  It can cause pain for your dog to walk with nails that are too long.   When long nails hit the ground, it creates pressure back into the nail bed.  It also puts pressure on tendons in the foot and leg, and can cause injury to them over time.  

I like this analogy, given by Carol Bryant of Fidose of Reality:  "Imagine wearing a pair of high heels if you are accustomed to flats or wearing shoes: Now try running in those heels and wearing them 24/7: This is akin to what overgrown nails feel like on a dog"

A really overgrown nail can ultimately start to curve, and grow into the dog's paw pad!  This is an extreme case, but I have seen it once or twice at the animal shelter where I volunteered.  Most of us would notice something like that long before it happened right?  However, if your dog has dew claws it is something that could escape your notice for quite some time.  Those claws don't usually get very worn down during normal activity.  I was shocked and a little mortified when I once found that Phoebe's dew claw had gotten insanely long and started curling under. I hadn't been to the groomer in several months and I hadn't tried to trim her dew claws.  I didn't see them under all that hair!  Now I make sure to trim those too.


There was only one place for those dull dog nail clippers!

HOW TO TRIM YOUR DOG'S NAILS


➤➤ Before you start, trim the excess hair from around the toes using blunt edged scissors so you don't accidentally cut your dog's foot.
➤➤ Grip the paw firmly but be gentle, tiny paws are sensitive!
➤➤ Don't cut the fur with your nail trimmer, it will dull the trimmer.  I wouldn't be surprised if that's what happened with my trimmers.  It's so hard to get Phoebe's wavy hair out of the way to cut her nails.
➤➤ Be careful not to cut the quick,  the pink part of the nail that contains tiny blood vessels.  Cut the "shell", the clear part that hits the ground.
➤➤ Make a quick clean cut.  If you're having trouble making a clean cut, your trimmer might be dulled like mine was.

If you're still unsure, watch this video from PetMd on how to properly trim dogs' nails:

Some people prefer to use a grinder to keep their dog's nails trimmed.  I haven't used a grinder, mainly because I'm afraid Phoebe's wavy hair will get snagged in it.  I also feel more comfortable with a small hand trimmer than a powered tool.  It's a matter of personal preference.

PetSmart has a good variety of dog nail clippers, as well as nail grinders.  You can follow my PetSmart affiliate link here:
PetSmart


HOW DO YOU KNOW IT'S TIME TO TRIM YOUR DOG'S NAILS?  


I could usually tell by the way Phoebe's nails tap on my hardwood floors and tile.  I can tell they're too long when it sounds like she's tap dancing on the floors!  Now that I've got the right tool for the right job, and I no longer dread it, I can trim her nails on a scheduled of every 2 weeks or so.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:
 UNLEASH A FRESH SPRING LOOK WITH PETSMART GROOMIING
EMBRACE YOUR DOG's DIGGING!
EXTENDED FLEA & TICK PROTECTION IN A TASTY CHEW W/ BRAVECTO

Note: I am not a Veterinarian or Vet Tech, nor do I play one online!  I just share tips and information that I have found useful for my own dogs, my foster dogs, and those of my family and friends.

Do you trim your pet's nails yourself, or do you leave it to the groomer?  We love hearing your thoughts, so please tell us in the comments!  

43 comments:

  1. If mom does it super fast it's done. If she fiddles around we run, roll over, squirm or lick her face
    Lily & Edward

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  2. Trimming pets' nails can definitely be a frustrating experience! My experience is similar to yours. The first nail clippers I bought for my cats were cheap and never worked very well. Once I upgraded to a better pair, thanks to the recommendation of my vet, the experience of trimming their nails has been much more pleasant! The job gets done more quickly, and it's less frustrating for all!

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    1. It makes such a difference doesn't it!? I could not believe the difference my new nail trimmers made. I can trim Phoebe's nails without any issues now, I'm so relieved!

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  3. Great post. My last dog was fearful, so it was one nail clipped, bite of meat and done. Next day, another nail, meat and done. Finally at some point I was able to do all 4 feet in one session. ;) Patience.

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    1. Wow, what a long process that started as but it sounds like you made great strides! Sometimes it just takes patience, and lots of it!

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  4. Ahhh, nail trimming. We've dealt with our share of issues with this too, but for different reasons. For the longest time, I always brought my dogs to a groomer for nail trims. They all have black nails that you can't see through and it's hard to see the quick. Until someone told me that you can see the black quick from the underside. Sounds so simple, but I was so scared that I just assumed I couldn't do it and never really tried. It's not the easiest thing in the world and your dog has to stay still for it, but it's doable with good clippers. We had those cheap guillotine type clippers back in the day and they were rubbish. Now, I trim all of my dogs' nails except Roxie's. Hers are black and tiny and SUPER hard to see the quick. AND she squirms. Nope, off to the vet every 2 weeks for a trim. Our dogs hike ALL the time, but on dirt trails and vegetation, which doesn't grind them down like dogs who walk on rock or pavement. Great article!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Debbie, & I'm glad you enjoyed the post! Yeah, black nails make it very hard to see the quick. I didn't know you could see it better from underneath though, thank you for sharing that bit of information!

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  5. I've always trimmed my dogs nails at home... but having dogs with black nails can be a challenge. I need to do them more often.

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    1. Yes, black nails make it harder to see the quick. Debbie Bailey, in the comment above, was saying that you can see it better from underneath the nail vs. on top. I'm so glad I found a good nail trimmer and am now able to do Phoebe's nails!

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  6. What a great, informative post! I'm really glad that replacing the trimmers did the trick as your dog having super nails might add up to a pretty penny very quickly!

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    1. Thanks! I'm so glad you liked the post. I'm so relieved that I took the advice to get a new trimmer. It worked so much better and I can do Phoebe's nails myself. The trimmer paid for itself the very first time I used it.

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  7. And I thought it was only those of us with felines who had the claw clipping issues! You are so right about the correct tools. I finally found the best nail clippers and we do an assembly line with all five of them, it's wonderful!

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    1. No, not at all, dogs are definitely difficult too! You've gotta have the right tool for the job. I'm so glad I finally do.

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  8. I do not do Layla's nails, my eyes are lousy and I am scared of hurting her, my vet does them for her as I am blessed to belong to a wonderful organization who does it for free whenever we need them to. Plus my vet told me that because Layla walks a lot on sidewalks they also grind her nails so in general she is all good.

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    1. Oh wow, that's so amazing that you have a Vet that will do it for free! What a wonderful perk. The sidewalk definitely grinds down nails, but Phoebe doesn't walk on pavement quite as much as Icy does.

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  9. Great tips, great tools but I take the dogs to the groomer. I used to trim my cats' claws but dogs - never. I tried it once with Red and that was that. It's definitely not the most convenient thing, having to go to the groomer, but it seems to be the safest option for all concerned!!

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    1. If it works for you to go to the groomer then that's the way to go. I really wanted to be able to trim Phoebe's nails myself but it was always such a chore and didn't work out too well. I'm glad I can do them myself now. The groomer will do them too but just when she gets a haircut.

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  10. I take my dogs to the groomer or vet for nail trims. I don't trust my hand eye coordination.

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    1. LOL! If you don't trust your coordination then I think you're doing the right thing going to the groomer or vet for nails trims.

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  11. I need to trim Dusty's kitty nails and the messagge about good equipment hit home here.

    Thank you.

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    1. Oh totally, you have to have the right tools! I didn't think a simple nail trimmer would be any issue, but it obviously was. I'm glad I've got a good one now that works great!

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  12. I DO dread it! I worry so much about hurting Lyla. My daughter is experienced in doing this since she works at a grooming salon for pups but she rarely gets out our way to help. I often just run our Lyla down to the vet to get it done. I absolutely appreciate your advice and help and am glad I read this article!
    Thank you!

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    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful! Maybe your daughter can come out one day and show you how to do it, then you can do it yourself. I was nervous too, but it's easy to avoid the pink part (the quick) and not hurt them. Watch the video in this post, it shows you just how to do it.

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  13. Ugh...I always dread trimming the dog's nails. I think it's because I've gotten their quicks the last couple of times and I felt SO GUILTY. You're right, I need to get a new set of trimmers since it's been awhile since we had ours. That may help us a bit.

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    1. Ouch!! I would feel awful too, but it is quite common. Good timmers are a must and avoid that pink part, the quick. Good trimmers will cut cleanly and immediately, you need that.

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  14. Great post and how-to! I'll admit, although I have the tools, and have trimmed my pets in the past (dogs, horses & our bunny!), I opt out now (I just don't trust my vision any more, and with RA, it's difficult for me to get down on the floor by them). So, I have my house-calling groomer come to do my FiveSibes! As a matter of fact, they are due for one now! :-)

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    1. Thanks Dorothy, I'm glad you liked my post! If you don't trust your vision and ability to do it yourself it's best to leave it to the groomer or a Vet. I'm glad you have a good mobile groomer, it's not easy to find.

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  15. I never thought about accidentally clipping the fur could dull the clippers. I must clip Truffle and Brulee's nails on a regular basis.

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    1. Me neither! I read that not too long ago on a couple of sites. I definitely think I did that with my trimmer, Phoebe's wavy hair is hard to get out of the way to trim her nails.

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  16. We take Bentley and Pierre to the vet for nail cuts. Basset nails are sooo hard and I'm a chicken!

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    1. LOL! I can't imagine you being chicken of anything! If you don't feel confident though, it's best to leave it to the pros.

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  17. I hate having my nails trimmed so mom never tried. Even walking on pavement isn't enough. It's mostly the vet that does it but got to expensive so now I let the groomer at Petsmart do it as a walkin. Mom saw a neat new product at Global, it was a nail file and looks like it would be easy to use.

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    1. Phoebe hated it when I had the dull trimmer, but with the new one she wasn't so bad. She doesn't love it, but it was quick and easy with the good trimmers. I think she'll keep getting better with it. Oh wow, a nail file that can really trim is interesting.

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  18. This is great advice- I hAte having my nails trimmed
    Dear Mishu

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    1. Oh, thanks Mishu! Many other pups hate having their nials trimmed so don't feel bad.

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    1. It certainly is without good nail trimmers, LOL!

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  20. I trim Cricket's nails myself. I've done all the dogs for a while now. If they have to go to the vet for something else like a dental they will always do it while they're under. Luke won't let me anywhere near his nails though, so I have to keep a close eye on them. He'll have to be sedated to have them done soon. :(
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. It's great that you can do your dogs' nails yourself, that must save a bunch of money with multiple dogs! Poor Luke, I wonder why he's so sensitive about his nails?

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  21. Thanks for the shout out. I am going to share this post today with a photo of something I purchased to trim Dexter's nails onto my Facebook. Stay tuned. I will tag you. Great post.

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  22. Thanks for wanting to share my post Carol! I loved your analogy of the high heels and all the info in your post so I had to share it here.

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  23. Gosh, Carol's analogy is pretty powerful! I will be sure not to wait too long between trimmings. I am always nervous about trimming Ruby's nails mainly because they are black and it's tricky to see the quick.

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