Grooming Your Dog
Most people really don’t handle their dog’s feet until they are
about to clip the nails and then...watch out! Some animals can get very upset at
this totally foreign feeling. That’s why it’s a good idea to get your dog used
to having her feet touched before you attempt a nail trim. Rub your hand up and
down her leg and then gently press each individual toe-and be sure to give her
lots of praise and some food treats as you do this. Every animal is different,
but chances are that within a week or two of daily foot massage, your dog will
be better able to tolerate a trim. Here’s how to do it:
- Begin by spreading each of your dog’s feet to inspect for dirt
- Use sharp, guillotine-type nail clippers to cut off the tip of
each nail at a slight angle, just before the point where it begins to
- Take care to avoid the quick, a vein that runs into the nail.
This pink area can be seen through the nail. If your dog has black nails,
however, the quick will not be as easily discernible, so be extra careful.
- If you do accidentally cut into the quick, it may bleed, in
which case you can apply some styptic powder to stop the bleeding.Once the
nails have been cut, use an emery board to smooth any rough edges.
Special Breeds, Special Needs
Dogs with loose facial skin or wrinkles-such as shar peis and
pugs-will need special attention. To prevent dirt and bacteria from causing
irritation and infection, clean the folds with damp cotton. Always thoroughly
dry the areas between the folds.
If your dog has long or droopy ears, you should check them
weekly. Remove wax and dirt from your pet’s ears with a cotton ball moistened
with water or a little mineral oil. You may need to remove any excess hair
leading into the ear canal; ask your pet’s vet or groomer to show you how
before trying it at home. There are special hair removers that allow you to
carefully pull one strand at a time.