For most pet owners, nail trimming is a necessary evil. Unfortunately, our pets tend to think its more evil than necessary. Here are a few quick pointers on keeping your pets nails in tip-top shape, while avoiding the typical stresses associated with nail trimming.
- Take your time and go slowly. There’s no law that says you have to clip every single nail in the same day. Try just one paw a day, and if that’s too stressful for your pet, only do a single nail. Stay as calm as possible so that the animal doesn’t pick up on any of your own anxiety.
- Make positive associations! Gently pet your cat or dog, and talk to them in a soothing voice. Feed them bite-sized treats after each nail gets trimmed.
- Use distraction to your advantage. Here’s a tip that’s worth its weight in gold- Give your cat or dog a treat that distracts them from the act of having their claws clipped.
- Keep your pet secure. If your pet is small, keep them on your lap and hold them gently but firmly with one hand while you clip with the other. If you have a large cat or dog, have them lay down and make sure you are holding them secure. If you need help, ask a friend to hold them for you.
- Make it routine. The more regularly you trim your pets nails, the more comfortable they will be with it. Regular nail trimming also has the added advantage of shrinking the quick (the pink inner part of the nail that can bleed), which is especially important for animals whose nails have suffered from overgrown nails for a long period of time. Aim for once every 7-10 days.
- Use sharp, well maintained equipment. Dull clippers tend to crack and twist nails rather than cut them, which can cause your pet pain.
- With dark nails, less is more. Only remove little pieces at a time, since the pigment makes it impossible to see the quick inside the nail. When you start to see a white “pulp”, stop clipping and move to the next nail.
So, how do you get started clipping your pets nails? First, make sure you are in a quiet, relaxing environment where your animal will be able to stay somewhat calm. If your pet is small, place them on your lap. Larger animals can lay down next to you.
- Take up one paw at a time and be sure to praise the animal in a soothing voice.
- Look over each nail before you trim it to make sure it isn’t cracked or bleeding.
- For cats, gently press down on the top of the toe to expose the claw.
- Clip off the hooked tip of the nail, being sure not to clip too much. If the nail is clear, you should be able to see the pinkish-red “quick” inside. Do not clip this, or you pet will bleed. Instead, clip just a little bit below this point.
- If you clip too far and the nail starts to bleed, don’t panic. One good episode of freaking out can be enough to make your pet fearful of nail trimming for the rest of their life. Just try to keep as calm as possible, and dip the nail in either a styptic powder or a little bit of corn starch. The bleeding should stop within a few minutes.
For more info on nail trimming check out the following links:
http://www.drjwv.com/care.php?view=nail_trim.php – helpful charts/images
Hope you found this useful!
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