The Well-Manicured Pet … taking matters into your own hands!

Julie Articles

You may be harming your pet and don’t even know it.

Take a look at his toe nails. Are they long? Do you hear their clicking sound when your pet walks across a tile or wood floor?

If the answer is “yes,” then you’re putting your pet at risk. You see, unclipped nails can cause lameness, aggravate arthritis and hip dysplasia because your pets’ weight is not properly distributed on his paws.

You can’t depend on that once a year trip to the vet to do the job. Imagine if you trimmed your own nails only once a year – they’d become pretty unmanageable, wouldn’t they?

If more frequent trips to the vet or the grooming shop are hard on your pocket- book and busy schedule, there is a solution – do it yourself!

1) Buy a nail clipper designed for your type of pet – there are many clippers designed specifically for cats and dogs. Some even come with guards on them so you can’t cut off too much at a time.

2) Adjust your pet to having his feet touched. You’ll need to work on this for a few weeks – so he’s not pulling away and you’re not wrestling with him. Build up a positive association using lots of praise, his favorite toy and treat. Let him think that when you handle his feet something wonderful is going to happen.

3) Show him the nail clipper each day for a week or so. Just leave it out so he can smell it and get used to seeing it.

4) Look at his nails. If they arc light colored, you’ll be able to differentiate the nail tip from the darker area set further back where the vein is located. If his nails are dark colored, it’s harder to know where to clip… but it can be done.

5) If you’re nervous about it – and a lot of people are – just clip the very tip. After a week, the vein will recede and you’ll be able to clip just the tip again. Continue cutting a little at a time each week until the nail is short enough. In other words, you shouldn’t be able to hear those nails go click click click as your pet walks across a tile or wood floor.

6) Have a toe nail product on hand that stops the bleeding if you should accidentally cut too deep. These products are available at almost any pet counter. Yes, it hurts if you goof, the same way as if you were to break your own nail below the quick. But it quickly passes. Generally it looks worse than it is because there tends to be a lot of bleeding – hence the nail-bleeding product. Remember, even professionals will create a bleeding nail from time to time.

7) Try a natural calming remedy to help de-stress your pet. I recommend Quiet Moments Calming Aid for dogs, a delicious chewable nugget that will help take the edge off. Cats may be given Calm Down, an easy to administer liquid which can be given straight, or added to Kitty’s water.

One final suggestion, if you’re unsure of the techniques listed above, ask your vet or groomer to show you how to do it. Make no excuses, clipping your pets’ nails is one of the healthiest things you can do for them!