The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Clipping Your Dogs Nails The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Clipping Your Dogs Nails
Showing posts with label Clipping Your Dogs Nails. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clipping Your Dogs Nails. Show all posts

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tips On How To Properly Trim Your Dog's Nails

The most common reasons for avoiding nail trims are that the owner is afraid of “quicking” the dog, or that the dog fusses and creates bad feelings around the procedure. Nail cutting becomes an event surrounded by angst and drama. For very active dogs who run all day long on varied surfaces, cutting nails may not be necessary. High mileage wears them down naturally. But among city or suburban dogs who are lucky to get a mile or two walk daily, excessively long toenails are more common than not.

Consequences Of Long Toenails
So what’s the big deal? The first consequence of long toenails is painful feet. When a dog’s toenails contact hard ground, like a sidewalk or your kitchen floor, the hard surface pushes the nail back up into the nail bed. This either puts pressure on all the toe joints or forces the toe to twist to the side. Either way, those toes become very sore, even arthritic. When the slightest touch is painful to your dog, he will fuss when you pick up his paw to cut nails.

The second consequence of long toenails is more serious. All animals rely on information from nerves in their feet to move through the world and process gravity accurately. For millions of years, wild dogs have run long distances while hunting and worn their nails short. The only time their toenails would touch the ground was when climbing a hill. So a dog’s brain is evolutionarily programmed to associate toenail contact with being on a hill, and he shifts his body posture accordingly: leaning forward over his forelimbs, up the imaginary hill as reported by his toes. Since the hill is not real, a secondary compensation with his hind limbs is necessary to avoid a face plant. This abnormal compensatory posture can be called “goat on a rock,” because it brings his paws closer together under his body.

Normal neutral posture is a nice show dog “stack,” with vertical legs like a table. Recent research shows that standing with limbs “camped-in” is hard work to maintain. These goat-on-a-rock dogs get over-used muscles and eventually over-used joints, especially in their hind limbs, making it difficult to jump in cars, climb stairs and even hard to get up from lying down. Sounds like a lot of older dogs we know! Cutting toenails short can be like a miracle cure for your dog whose hind end has become painful, weak and over-used.

How To Trim The Toenail
Toe nail maintenance requires a trim every two weeks, just like maintaining human fingernails. If you can hear nails clicking on your kitchen floor, they are much too long. But don’t despair, the technique shown here will make short work of getting your dog’s nails back to their correct shape. The concept is easy: trim around, never across the quick, which is actually your dog’s finger.



  • Use only “scissor” type clippers. Guillotine style clippers crush the toe, which is painful. Never put the whole nail in a clipper.
  • Use small size clippers for better control. Only giant breed dogs will need large ones.
  • Keep your tools sharp: either replace or sharpen your clippers regularly.
  • “Quick-guards” obscure your view of the nail. If possible, remove them, or at least tape them back so that they won’t interfere with your work.
  • “Pedi-paws” type grinder: Smooth out your trim afterwards with a rotating emeryboard.
  • File only the insensitive nail around the top and sides of the quick: “Sharpen the pencil” where the nail is the wood and the quick is the lead.

Use corn starch to staunch the bleeding if you make a nail leak. With shallow cuts, this will be rare.
It’s easiest if you use a small container with tightly packed powder.


  • Trim nails outside or in a well lit room.
  • If you need “cheaters” for reading, use them for toenail clipping too.
  • It’s actually easier to see the nail structures on pigmented nails than on white ones. The insensitive nail will show as a chalky ring around the sensitive quick.
  • Keep clipper blades almost parallel to the nail – never cut across the finger.
  • Don’t squeeze the toes – that hurts! Use your fingers to separate the toes for clipping and hold the paw gently. Use a pair of blunt edged children’s scissors to remove excess toe hair: nothing dulls clippers quicker than cutting hair!
  • Remember, no dog ever died from a quicked toenail. If you “quick” your dog accidentally, give a yummy treat right away.
  • Make nail trimming fun: always associate nail cutting with cookies and praise.
  • For maintenance, cut every two weeks. To shorten, cut every week.

Once the insensitive nail is thinned out and isn’t supporting the quick, the quick will dry up and recede. This will allow you to cut your dog’s nails even shorter. Each dog’s nails are different, but very long toenails often become dry and cracked, with a clear separation of the living tissue and the insensitive nail. This will make it easier to trim back longer nails.

What’s inside your dog’s toenail? (image above)

On the left, the interior structures are shown, along with the suggested angle to remove the “roof” of the nail, while not harming the sensitive quick. On a black claw, the interface between sensitive and insensitive nail is usually chalky and white – very easy to discern. On the right is a close-up view of the inside of the nail. On cross section, the sensitive quick will look translucent and glossy, like living flesh. In untrimmed claws, there will often be a “notch” below the tip of the quick. It is usually safe to initiate your angled cut at the notch.

Some dogs act like cutting their nails is their worst nightmare. This may be a learned behavior from their painful, overstimulated toes, which will slowly dissipate along with the pain once the nails are short. Use all your best restraint and behavior modification tricks to get through the initial phase, whether your dog is a squirmer or a drama queen.

Start on the hind feet, because the nails tend to be a little shorter and less sensitive than the front. But remember you can’t make an accurate cut on a moving target so get help from your dog trainer or groomer if needed. Make nail trimming “quality time” you spend with your dog. Lots of kisses, lots of treats and a positive attitude go a long way. If you dread it, your dog will too, so learn how to be a good actor until you succeed in believing it can be a loving experience for you both. If your dog loses patience quickly, try cutting one nail a day. As long as you keep the order of toes consistent, this will be a good maintenance schedule, giving every toe a trim every 16 days.

Short toenails are critical to your dog’s health and soundness. Failure is not an option!


Friday, March 13, 2015

A Couple Took Their Dog to PetSmart to Get His Nails Clipped and He Died Shortly Afterwards

Niles, Michigan  - A couple took their dog to PetSmart to get his nails clipped and he died shortly afterwards.

Terry Archer and Sheri Mills took their four year old English Bulldog Bubba to the PetSmart in Mishawaka for the nail clipping.

"We were looking forward to a good day together. We were going to go buy him some new toys, take him to get his nails clipped, and go for a walk on the beach later," said Archer.

When Archer and Bubba got to the store, they walked around the store while Archer picked out new toys for his dog.

Then he decided he would go by the salon before he and Bubba left.

"It all happened within a matter of about five minutes, at least that's the way it seemed in my mind," Archer said.

He recalls there being about five to seven dogs in the grooming salon when Bubba was taken in by the groomer.

Archer stood and watched through the window.

"I'm watching the girl in the back and she says, 'Hey I need some help, can somebody please hold the dog?' So another girl walks back there and I see her lay over the top of Bubba, Bubba's laying on the table, arm around my neck and lays around the top of him,” Archer added.

The next thing he knew he was carrying Bubba's lifeless body out of the store and riding in the car with the groomers on the way to the emergency vet clinic where he was pronounced dead.

“I had his lifeless body in my arms and he was just limp and hanging over," he said.

Archer and Mills said they have never had a dog like Bubba before and see him as just another member of the family.

"We've never fallen in love with an animal like we did with him. I've never hurt so bad about losing an animal than we do with him. We loved our dog, he was a family member," said Mills.

The couple said that PetSmart expressed condolences to them for their loss a few days after it happened.

PetSmart also released a statement, that said: "At PetSmart, the health and safety of the pets in our care is our top priority, and we are truly saddened by the loss of Bubba. An investigation is underway, but our initial review indicates that our associates acted appropriately by helping the pet parent find the nearest open pet emergency center. We require all of our pet groomers to complete an extensive training program and an annual safety certification. We believe that a continued focus on high standards is an effective way to hold groomers accountable and promote safety in our salons."