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Advice on how to

Trim and Clip a

Dog's Toenails

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For the Beginner: Learning to Clip the Toenails of a Dog
By: Tippy & Turbo

Unless your dog is a full-time working or hunting dog that
wears its nails down enough you will need to keep its nails
trimmed yourself. Here's some advice from experienced dog

First make sure that your dog is as relaxed and calm as
possible. After an outing, a petting and a brushing (if your
dog likes being brushed) may be a good time for the first
nail clipping. Hopefully you are starting your puppy out on
nail trimming so that it will be comfortable with the
process when it is older. But whether your dog is a puppy or
is just nervous about the nail clippers, take your time, speak
soothingly, handle the paws gently and move slowly so as to
keep the dog as comfortable as possible.

As you handle your dog's paws and pet its head, check the
claws to see if they need a trim. Be sure to also check the
dew claws if your dog has them. Dewclaws aren't worn down by
the dog's walking, and if forgotten they can become ingrown
and infected.

If you do need to trim the dog's claws, use special nail clippers
designed for dog's claws, and clip vertically rather than
horizontally. You only want to take off a little bit of the
tip of the nail; otherwise you run the risk of cutting the
quick, hurting the dog and causing it to bleed.

If the claws are white, locate the quick that runs down the
center inside the claw, then clip so that there is still a
little nail between the quick and the end of the nail. If
the nail is black you will need to be very careful to remove
only a short bit of the claw. If you clip the claws
regularly the quick will gradually retreat into the claw and
allow you to trim off a small bit more each time.

Have a styptic pencil ready in case you do accidentally cut
too much nail and nip the quick. This is important because
your dog will bleed and the wound does not always clot right
away. A cut to the quick is painful to your dog so you must
be careful and soothing when doing this process.

If your dog starts to squirm when you are clipping the nails
do not force your dog to remain still, just praise it, give
it a treat, and try again later when your dog is tired after
some activity. Never force the issue. If you dog wants out
then let it go. Trying to force the dog to allow you to trim
its nails just makes it frightened and creates a negative
association with the grooming process. Be calm, be patient
and praise your dog throughout the entire process and it
will eventually at least tolerate nail clipping.

Some breeds of dogs need to be combed or brushed out once a
day, and even if your dog's breed doesn't require daily
brushing, it is a good way to spend time and love on your
dog. So when you are brushing your dog, check its nails too.


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