Good pet grooming includes the nails or claws. We've got some useful tips to help make that easier.
A good pet grooming schedule includes more than just bathing or brushing your pet. Clipping the nail/claws is not only necessary to protect both the owner and pet from unnecessary scratches, but also to keep your pet healthy.
It is best to start holding and touching your pets paws when they are very young so they adjust to having their paws handled. This will help them become accustomed to having their nails clipped, as they will not be frightened or feel confined when you need to hold them to groom their paws. Some pets, however, just won't adjust to someone holding their paws, no matter how early you begin conditioning for this important grooming step. Remember to be patient and don't get discouraged. In such cases, try clipping only one nail at a time until you have clipped all of them. In difficult situations consider having a groomer or veterinarian do the trimming.
Indoor pets may need more frequent attention. Animals claws wear down naturally through normal activity, but cats and dogs; especially when kept indoors, often need them trimmed more often as they are not as active and generally walk on softer surfaces than their outdoor counterparts. Cats in particular may try to remedy this problem by sharpening their claws on the curtains, couch or carpet. When a dog's claws are too long you may hear them click as they walk across a hard surfaced floor; this is a sign the claws are too long and need to be clipped. Long claws are also more prone to infection. Overgrown claws can be the source of painful paw injuries for both cats and dogs. A claw can snag something or even crack in some cases, resulting in a very painful wound.
Dogs need their nails clipped and filed on a regular basis, usually every 3 to 4 weeks. It is not uncommon for dog owners to wait too long between nail clipping. Overdue nails can raise health issues. Extended growth can result in painful ingrown nails. Elongated nails affect the comfort and health of dogs. Some dogs will find it difficult to place their full body weight on their feet with discomfort from elongated nails. As a result these dogs develop sore feet, legs and hips and overall discomfort, and the simple act of just walking can be a painful experience for them.
About 1" to 3" above the inside of their front feet (and sometimes rear fee) dogs may have "5th nails" commonly referred to “dew claws.” Nail clipping should include these nails. Since dew claws are never exposed to friction from touching ground surfaces, they are often longer and sometimes overgrown. In fact, you may find neglected dew claws grown into a full circle circle and even painfully ingrown requiring veterinary care. It is not uncommon for pets to have dew claws on some feet, and not on others.
There is a blood vessel in dog and cat nails commonly referred to as "the quick." The quick is usually visible to the eye except for dark-colored nails. Because it is possible to cut the quick and cause a nail to bleed, many pet owners are fearful of cutting their pet's nails. Instead, they bring their dogs to groomers or veterinarians for clipping.
If the quick is already very near the nail tips, daily filing for approximately three weeks may encourage nail quicks to recede enough for a comfortable, nail clipping of a very small amount of the tips of the nails without bleeding. Continuing to file the pet's nail several times a week, will allow you to be able to clip the nails a little shorter each time until the quick has properly receded and avoid discomfort caused by overly long nails. Thereafter, the nails should be clipped and filed on a regular basis in order to maintain their healthy state, and prevent the pet from having to suffer bleeding nails. If clipping the nails is too difficult for you, or you are too scared you'll cut to far, there is almost no risk of causing the nails to bleed when filing them. Although filing the nails takes longer and must be done more frequently, it is a good alternative to clipping.
Clipping your pets' nails can be tricky if your dog has ingrown toenails. Many dogs that require little professional grooming and styling still visit groomers for a nail clipping, or a bath which includes nail clipping. Generally, dog owners do not like to cut nails, and many of these pets don't really care for nail clipping either. Learning how to hold and handle the dog, and properly use the correct tools, makes nail clipping and filing a much more bearable procedure for dogs. Most nail clipping procedures cause no pain to the dogs.
Nail clipping is essentially the process of cutting away excess nail, and the key is to learn just what is the "excess nail." If you can hear your dog's nails when he walks on a hard floor surface, there is probably a sufficient amount of excess nail to clip and/or file down. It is better to cut a small amount regularly than a large amount at once. However, since dogs may go many weeks between professional grooming appointments it is usually the task of owners to reasonably clip more excess nail.
When trimming cat claws, squeeze the paw lightly to expose the claw and carefully clip off only the very point of the nail. This is different than a dog's claw, where the trimming point is where the nail starts to curve down. Trimming too little is much better than trimming too much.
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