Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nail Clipping-A task EVERYONE seems to dread!

With the holidays coming and guests expected, it seems an appropriate time of year to discuss the dreaded and feared subject of Nail Clipping.

If done incorrectly, it can be bloody, messy, and stressful for everyone.
Always, it’s a good idea to get your dog used to you touching his feet and getting his toes manicured. This is best done when the dog is young, so you can build trust. Always speak in a calm voice and give a reward when you are done.

It is best to clip nails where there is a lot of light. To begin, separate the nail you are beginning with (with your fingers) from the rest of the "pack." When you are looking at the nail from underneath, you will notice a groove that runs along the nail from the tip to where it disappears into the paw and pad. Near the tip you will notice that it is grooved the deepest, creating an almost empty hollow. For safety sake, and to avoid the emergence of a stream of blood (although harmless), just clip the tip off. The quick is nonexistent in the deeply grooved part of the nail.

A couple things:

1. A dog will not bleed to death when you cut the nail too short. It looks bad, but relax, it will stop.
(Can a dog bleed to death??: "Only if the dog has a bleeding disorder like vonWillebrand's disease. Normal dogs will stop bleeding on their own.
It is not the end of the world if the nail gets cut too short. Even the professionals (groomers and vets) cut them too short fairly often."

Some homemade hints to stop the bleeding:

* Cover the bleeding nail area with a napkin or clean, soft cloth to stop the blood from getting everywhere. Get a small bowl. Fill it with flour, baking soda or corn starch. Remove the napkin then dip your dog's bleeding toe into the bowl. Hold it for a few seconds. Take it out. The bleeding should stop.

*Compress the wound with a paper towel and apply pressure. Rather than squeezing the paw, apply pressure on the wound toward the paw.

*Apply ice to the area over the paper towel or rag. Make sure your dog is comfortable during this time because it could take a while to stop the bleeding entirely.

*Dip your dog's nail in a tablespoon of Styptic Powder. This is a type of antiseptic that contracts the blood vessel back up into the claw.

2. Remember: If the nail is white, it will be easy to see where to stop clipping -- just above where the white meets the dark part of the nail.

In conclusion, getting your dog's nails cut is a task you should master. Nails that are too long can cause gait problems as well as grow so long they curl into the pads (which is very painful)

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