A guide to toe­nail clip­ping your pet

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - News -

TOE­NAIL clip­ping is an ac­quired skill but with prac­tice and pa­tience any­one can learn to do it well.

To be­gin with, nail clip­ping in all but the most placid an­i­mals is a two per­son job - one per­son to hold the an­i­mal and one per­son to clip the nails.

Good re­straint is nec­es­sary to keep the dog or cat still.

In cats wrap­ping them up in a towel can be a good way to keep them still while one leg is pulled out at a time.

If your pet doesn’t like hav­ing its nails done then do­ing it pro­gres­sively, one foot at a time over sev­eral days can be an ef­fec­tive strat­egy.

If the pet is get­ting very up­set it is best to give up and come back to it rather than per­se­vere and in­grain the toe­nail clip­ping as a bad ex­pe­ri­ence. Us­ing good equip­ment is help­ful. A qual­ity pair of nail clip­pers may be up to $50 but they will last a long time, es­pe­cially if they are just used at home. Us­ing a smaller pair for cats is help­ful too. The main key to clip­ping the nails is avoid­ing the quick which is per­fused with blood and will bleed if cut into.

In dogs and cats with white to clear nails the quick can be seen as a pink tri­an­gle en­cased in the nail and should be eas­ily avoided by care­ful place­ment of the nail trim­mers.

If the nails are dark or black the quick can­not be seen and a more cau­tious ap­proach tak­ing a small amount off reg­u­larly is rec­om­mended.

In dogs we gen­er­ally take the nails off level with the flat sur­face of the toe pad, but if the nails are over­grown this may lead to bleed­ing as the quick length­ens with the nail.

If your pet’s nails are very long it is best to take a small amount off reg­u­larly (weekly) and the quick will re­tract back to its nor­mal po­si­tion al­low­ing grad­ual short­en­ing of the nail back to its orig­i­nal po­si­tion.

The need for nail trim­ming is very vari­able be­tween an­i­mals.

In gen­eral as an­i­mals get older and less ac­tive the need for trim­ming in­creases.

If you are not keen on trim­ming your pet’s nails your­self then your vet­eri­nary clinic will be more than happy to help for a small fee and will able to show you how it is done as well if you ask. Tim Craig BVSc, vet­eri­nar­ian

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