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Posted on 11-08-2013

Are you hearing your dog before you see them, click clacking across the kitchen floor? If so, it's time for a nail trim! Nail trims are easily overlooked or avoided but a very important routine to stick to for the comfort and well being of our dogs. They can be necessary for cats as well depending on grooming habits.

Ideally nails should not touch the ground when your pet is standing. Nails that are too long can be painful and force a dog to stand unnaturally. Over time this can lead to more serious health problems. We also see, more often with cats, instances where a nail will actually grow into the foot pad and require medical wound treatment.

Take a close look at your pet's nails, in the center of each toenail is a blood vessel referred to as the "quick" and this is what you want to prevent cutting. If you can't see the quick just cut little by little or shine a light behind the nail so the quick is visible. When a nail grows so does the quick. When the nails grow too long it is harder and takes more time (and nail trims) to get the nails back to a manageable length. Every time you cut the nail close to the quick, the quick will recede. You will need to cut the nails often, only taking off small amounts as to not cut the quick. The quick is the area that, when clipped, will bleed (sometimes excessively). When this happens, and it probably will at least once, you can apply with pressure cornstarch, flour, bar soap or a powder specifically designed for this that you can purchase at your local pet store.

Many dogs act like getting their nails trimmed is extreme torture. They put up a really good fight to prevent it from happening, but there are many different methods, tools and tricks that can be used to make the experience better for everyone involved. The best thing to get your pet comfortable is to handle their feet often so they get used to their feet being touched. Once you start trimming some trial and error may be needed to find the best way for your dog.

Every dog is different in the amount of restraint necessary. With some, "less is more;" where you use almost no restraint at all and they will allow you to continue. Others may need to be laid down on their sides and sometimes multiple people to assist in restraining. Sometimes trimming only a few nails at a time is best for both you and your dog's sanity. There are many different kinds of clippers on the market as well as tools that grind the nails. Find one that suits you and your dog most comfortably. Using positive reinforcement with treats throughout the nail trim can help tremendously as well.

If you are not comfortable trimming yourself, we offer nail trims at Eagle Animal Hospital with a technician. Also, if you want to start we can show you how to properly do them. Give us a call at (610)458-8789 to set up an appointment! We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding area.

Written by Kaelin Mast, receptionsist

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