Nail trimming is an important part of basic grooming for your pet.
Long nails can affect movement, cause pain, and exacerbate orthopedic issues and arthritis. They can even grow long enough to curl and grow back into the pad, causing pain and dangerous infections.
Keys to trimming your pet’s nails:
- Get your pet’s cooperation! If they are stressed or upset, that will make each nail trim session worse. This is something your pet will need their entire life! Some pets need anxiety or calming medications to help with nail trims. Some pets get so upset about nail trims that they need to be sedated for this care. We prefer to minimize your pet’s anxiety about this important part of their care. Contact us to discuss medications if your pet does not like nail trims. See the resources below for more tips on how to keep your pet’s nail trims less stressful.
- Get the right tools! Sharp nail trimmers, delicious treats, and someone to help distract your pet can all make for a successful nail trim.
- We prefer Miller’s Forge Nail Clippers.
- Some pets tolerate a nail grinder or Dremel as well.
- Hopefully you won’t need styptic powder to stop bleeding, but it is good to have on hand!
- Go slow. Give your pet breaks as needed. Maybe just do a couple nails at a time and come back and do more later.
- Know what you are doing! Cutting into the quick (where the nerves and blood vessels are in your pet’s nail) can make your pet reluctant to get nail trims again. Make sure you can see where you need to cut. You are better cutting just a little every few days than cutting too much.
- Pets whose quicks have grown excessively long may not be able to have much nail removed. Frequent (every week) nail trims can encourage the quick to recede.
- Cat nails naturally shed, but keeping nails trimmed can help prevent damage to furniture or household items. In addition, some cats may not shed their nails due to age or inactivity, so it is recommended that you check them monthly to ensure they are not overgrown. In cats, you can usually just trim off the thinner sharp portion of the nail and easily avoid the quick.
Nail Trimming Resources:
Nail Trimming Videos:
Scratch Board Training:
Did you know you can teach your dog to trim their own nails? Check out these resources on Scratch Board Training.