Many dogs dread getting their nails clipped about as much as some humans do appointments with the dentist. Despite the intense anxiety these grooming sessions might cause for your poor pooch, the task simply has to be done. Neglect of a dog's nails can bring upon a lot of unnecessary distress.
If your dog's anxiety makes you constantly put off cutting his nails, think again. Excessively lengthy nails not only can split, bleed and induce infection, they can also negatively affect your pet's walking style and can even occasionally trigger skeletal issues. Canine nail clipping isn't just a matter of looking tidy; it's an important health and safety issue.
Many different things can cause dogs to feel stressed out over nail trimming. He may object to the contact with his feet. He may have had a traumatic clipping experience. It might be that the concept of nail clipping confuses him. If you suspect that your dog's problem with all things tactile might be due to something like negative experiences with a previous handler, including pain during nail clipping, get serious about managing his apprehension. A professional animal behaviorist might be able to assist you in that department. Waste no time.
Make nail clipping process as tranquil and stress-free as can be. Be slow in your approach. Instead of going for all of your dog's nails at one sitting, trim two of them and establish a positive link to the activity in your dog's brain by promptly rewarding him with a tasty treat. Act as serenely as possible while you're trimming his nails. Speak in a hushed, calm, even and sweet voice. Make your pet comfy.
Another vital thing is to never go too far in the clipping. You want to clip off only the dead tips, not the quick or the living portions of the nails. If you clip off the quick, your dog will undoubtedly feel it. If your dog's nails are pale, the quick will be easy to discern, with a pinkish tone. If his are dark, you might not be able to make out the quick. If that's the case, play it safe and clip off only tiny pieces each time. If you're not comfortable doing this, a veterinarian may be the one for the job -- tons of experience dealing with frightened pooches.
If your dog's nails never seem to grow long enough to require a trimming, never fear. This is simply because he grinds them down all by himself, through normal physical activity such as running. If this isn't the case with your pet, however, make a point to examine his nails once in each three to four weeks or so. If you can actually hear your pet's nails tapping onto the ground as he walks, it's a surefire sign that his clipping is overdue.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Trimming Your Dog's Nails
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Fear of Nail Trimming
- Owensboro Humane Society: Nail Trims
- Nebraska Humane Society: Grooming Your Dog
- DogChannel.com: Trimming Dog Nails
- Animal Humane Society: Grooming Tips for Dogs
- George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images