Most of us are apprehensive of cutting our puppy’s nails ourselves because we are afraid we might hurt them. That is a fair fear to have, but let’s not harbour it. Pet parents, you got this! – once you and your puppy get acclimated to the simple process, it will be more of a fun activity less of a task. Let’s delve deeper into this simple process:
- In the beginning, let the nail cutter be hidden away in a drawer. It’s day 1 – take it easy. Start with making your pup comfortable with touch: check his ears, open his mouth like you would when trying to feed him medicine, play with his paws. Every day, make sure to playfully handle his paws while snuggling, hold each individual toe for a few seconds and then reward the puppy for allowing this. A regular scuffle on the head or small portions of treats are a must when your pup displays tolerant behaviour.
- In no time, your dog will get used to you going for his toes because it would become a familiar, positive action. Now you may bring out the nail clipper. But don’t cut just yet. Hold his paw and make his nails touch the nail clipper. Let him get a feel of this equipment and prepare him for what comes next. Do this repeatedly and reward him each time he does not show resistance. If he struggles, immediately let go. You don’t want him to have any bad memories with the nail cutter!
- Chop chop – it’s nail cutting time. Just like humans have the white part of nails emerging from the fingertip, dogs too have an area ahead of the light pink part called ‘quick’. You do not want to cut that as it has nerve endings and blood. If you can’t see the pink area, be on the safer side: use the natural curve and narrowing of the nail as your guide – cut just beyond that curve. The quick is easier to spot in dogs with white or transparent nails. If your puppy’s nails are black, brown or grey, it will be hard to recognize. In this case, cut only the edges not more than once a week.
TIPS FOR TOES
- Your puppy may whine but it’s not necessarily because he is hurting; he’s probably anxious or can feel some pressure on his nails. Even if you accidentally end up hurting him, there’s nothing a little bit of ointment can’t fix.
- With the constant use of praises and yummy treats, make nail cutting feel like playtime.
- Hold your pup’s paws gently. Squeezing the toe could hurt him. Also, use your fingers to separate one toe from the next.
- Nail cutting is necessary not just for neatness but also because long nails can make your pup’s toes spread, which in turn puts pressure on his ankle joints. This may cause discomfort while walking.
- Trim nails in a well-lit room to leave less room for accidents.
- Properly cut the nails every two weeks. Once a week, indulge in some trimming and filing.
As you now know, nail cutting is not complicated and you have nothing to be afraid of. Take your pup’s grooming in your own hands!