Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed is an important part of maintaining their overall general health. By leaving nails untrimmed, it increases the risk of them getting caught, snagged or becoming overgrown and curving into the paw pads. This can lead to pain, mobility concerns and potential infection. Generally, nail-trimming every 10 to 14 days is recommended for kittens and puppies and approximately every 6 weeks for adult cats and dogs. However, there are a lot of factors that can cause variation in the length of time between nail trims for pets, an indoor vs outdoor pet, the surface they spend most of their time on, and even nutrition are just a few examples. As a rule of thumb, your pet’s nails should not be clicking on the floor or getting caught in things as they walk and should be trimmed before they are touching the ground.
Some pets become quite stressed when attempting to have their nails trimmed. To get them used to having their paws handled for nail trims, you can start by rubbing your hands up and down each of their legs. If they are comfortable with this, you can then attempt to hold each paw and gently press each toe. Be sure to follow this up with lots of praise and treats; positive reinforcement is key! Make this a daily routine and hopefully, within a week or two, your pet will feel more comfortable with having their paws handled so that you can trim their nails with ease.
Sometimes, despite the most patient and gradual introductions, pets remain nervous about having their nails trimmed. Make an appointment with us to see if we have better luck with getting the job done. We have some other techniques and methods that we can incorporate into nail trims to make the process easier for everyone.
How to Trim Your Pet’s Nails
- Start by examining each paw and between each digit to ensure there is no dirt, debris, or injury.
- While holding one paw in one hand, use your other hand to hold the nail clippers at an angle that will allow you to cut the nail from top to bottom. Do not cut the nail from left to right, or vice versa.
- Begin by cutting a small amount of the nail off at a time until you are comfortable and aware of how long your pet’s quick is. The quick is a vascular structure, where the nerves and blood supply for the nail is located. If you do cut the quick, do not panic. Apply a small amount of styptic powder (or cornstarch) to the nail to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding continues for more than a few minutes, contact your veterinarian. Be extra careful if your pet has black nails, as it is harder to distinguish where the quick begins.
- Once the nails have been cut, observe your pet while he/she walks around for a minute or two to watch for active bleeding and to ensure enough of the nails have been cut off.
If your pet does well with nail trims, but you would prefer to avoid doing the task yourself, stop by and take advantage of the new service we offer; Nail Trim Days! Our Nail Trim Days are every second Monday of the month between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm. The nail trims are by donation, with a minimum of $10 donation, where all proceeds go toward our Amy Fund. There is no appointment necessary, so just stop on by with your furry friend!
Written by Emma Elford