Pet Nail Care Grooming Tips

posted: 05/15/12
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How often should a pet's nails be trimmed?

The average for most pets is to trim nails every six to eight weeks. You must pay attention to your pet's nails. Nails should be kept short. If you don't trim them regularly, the nails can curl and grow into the pads, which is very painful. If you can hear your pet's nails clicking when they walk, they are probably too long. Long nails can lead to bone and joint problems, because your pet isn't able to walk right.

Cats' nails are easier to trim, because they are white and it is easy to see where the nail bed is so you know where to stop. It is more difficult with dogs, because their toenails are black and you can't see the nail bed. I recommend going to a vet and having them show you how to do it and where to stop so that you don't cut to the quick — which means you've cut into the vein.

Dogs who walk a lot on sidewalks and asphalt, like Manhattan dogs, will wear their nails down that way and might not need to have them trimmed as often as dogs who only walk in grass or soft areas.

What is the best way to get your dog used to nail trimming?

If you have a puppy or kitten, you should start now while they are young so they are used to being handled. Address the issue immediately when you get a new pet.

For older or adopted dogs, start slow - one nail a day. Make it a positive experience by having lots of treats on hand, talk calmly and praise them. You should also work with your vet on this. If your pet has anxiety, you might want to leave this to a professional groomer.

What nail-trimming items do you recommend?

Good nail clippers specifically for dogs or cats. Make sure you have blood-clotting powder on hand before you start trimming your pet's nails. If you do cut to the quick, this powder will stop the bleeding quickly.

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