Proper Pet Nail Care
Short Nails For Happy Pets!
Did you know that proper pet nail care is one of the most over looked pet health issues currently in the USA? A dog’s nails should be cut, on average, once a month for maintenance. This average is for dogs whose nails are not too long and are routinely clipped; some dogs require more frequent nail trimmings to maintain a proper length.
Why are long nails such a big deal?
Long nails for your dog are not only uncomfortable but can make walking more difficult. They affect joints and posture, as well as cause pain and major health issues from joint pressure. Imagine wearing a pair of sneakers that are one size too small 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; that is what your dog feels when their nails are too long.
How long is too long?
It’s surprisingly easy to tell if your pup’s nails are too long. Listen to them walk! Yes, you read that right! If you can hear their nails on hard floors, they are too long. Ideally, a dog’s nails should not be able to touch the ground when they are standing. While this is important for all dogs, it is particularly important for older dogs to help prevent bad hips and joints as they age, allowing them to live a long, comfortable life.
Help! You were told your pup has long quicks!
Not to worry! You are not alone and we can help! Your dog’s quick is the blood vessel within each of their nails. Cutting it is often painful and causes your pup to bleed. The longer the nail grows, the longer the quick will become, so the question becomes how can we get the nail and quick shorter? The answer: nail trims more often.
Okay, so how do we get the nails shorter?
Training a dog’s quick to recede can be tedious but not difficult. Luckily, it’s actually a fairly simple process! Here are a couple options that we suggest:
- Trim your dog’s nails more frequently: about twice a month on average.
- For more effective, often faster results, dremel (file) your dog’s nails once a week.
But My Dog Hates Having Their Nails Cut!
This is very common, don’t worry! Here is a trick to make everyone’s nail cutting experience a little more pleasant and a little less like a wrestling cage match:
- Find your pup’s favorite treat or even a kong filled with peanut butter. Only give them this special treat when you do these exercises. It makes the treat and experience that much more rewarding.
- Offer them the kong or special treat and begin by touching your dog’s foot. Touch the foot, then offer the treat. Repeat until your dog is comfortable with you touching each foot, then move to picking up each foot. Make sure to praise while you do this: “Good boy!” “Good girl!” “Yes!”
- Once your dog is comfortable with you touching and picking up their feet, give them treats to eat while you gently massage each foot, rubbing between each tow and pad.
- Ideally, you will start by doing this at least once a day, keeping sessions short and positive. You want your pup to enjoy the experience and enjoy getting their feet played with. This is the first step to creating a positive and enjoyable experience; building a positive association with their feet being touched. Once your pup gets more comfortable, you can perform this exercise less frequently.
If you cut your pup’s nails at home, you can move onto the next step, which is clipping one nail and rewarding heavily. If your pup is happy for the first nail, move onto the second nail. If your pup isn’t comfortable with the first nail, massage the rest of their toes, reward heavily with a ton of verbal praise, and wait until the next session to clip the next nail.
If you get your dog’s nails trimmed with us at Abracadabra, we suggest you continue the training as outlined above, and you can bring your dog in to see us between nail trims for some treats and loving attention. This will give your dog positive associations with us and will make the actual nail trimming experience much more pleasant for your dog.
At Abracadabra we are always looking for ways to keep your pets happy and healthy. For more expert behavior tips call us at 386-673-8189 or come in and talk to our dog trainer, Sha. Need your pet’s nails trimmed? Walk-ins are welcome Monday-Saturday, 8:00am-2:00pm.