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Is Nail Trimming Time A Battle?

Does the idea of trimming your dog's nails send chills up your spine? After all, Giving poochie a bath - no problem. You might even be ok sticking a tooth brush in Lassie's mouth. But trimming doggie's nails is never going to happen!

Actually, giving your dog's nails a clipping is notnearly as difficult or freighting as it seems.

Nail trimming in dogs can be done very easily if youknow how. It's always a good idea to watch someoneelse first (vet, groomer or friend) who is experiencedin nail trimming.

Some dogs never need to have their nails trimmed. Manywill naturally wear the nails down or the dried ends ofthe nails will simply flake away without you evenknowing. But some breeds, especially Basset Hounds andDachshunds will likely need your help in keeping thetoe nails reasonably short.

There will be times when you accidentally cut a nailtoo short. It just happens sometimes, even withexperienced groomers. The nail will bleed if you cutit too short, so just be prepared for that.

Get a good nail trimmer. Ask your vet or the clerk inthe pet store which kind they recommend. Place themain part of the trimmer in the palm of your hand andthe moveable part so that it is controlled by yourfingers. You want to be able to see the small cuttingblade that slides when you squeeze the handle.

Make sure you're not cutting from the top downward; butrather from underneath. Slide the opening over the endof the nail while staying in the whitish part of thenail. The pink area of the nail is the live part andhas blood vessels throughout. Hopefully you'll be ableto see where the pink part starts.

If your pooch has dark nails you won't be able to seeany pink to know where the live part of the nailstarts. Just do a little bit at a time with the darknails. Check the end of the nail. The dead areausually is whitish and as you cut deeper into the endof the nail you will begin to see a dark area. Thatdark area is where the live part starts.

When you are ready to cut, make a smooth, quick squeezeon the handle while holding the trimmer steady. Don'ttry to "pop" the end of the nail off; it will fall awayon its own. You can file the edges or just let the dogwear the nail smooth. Taking your dog for a walk onthe sidewalk or street can help them file down.

Remember that at some point you will cut too short. When this happens, place a tiny piece of tissue papertightly against the end of the nail and hold it for afew minutes. Better yet, have some cornstarch or flouravailable and put a small amount against the bleedingend of the nail, hold it there with your finger. Thisworks right away. Or you can do nothing and thebleeding should stop in about five minutes. If itcontinues to bleed much more than that, give your vet acall.

Always remember, you can do this. Play with yourcanine's feet first to get them used to the idea. Ifyou do it once a week, it won't seem like such a tragicevent. If you can only do one paw a day, that's oktoo. Relax and enjoy your dog!

Suzy Kanninno, webmistress for, is a dog trainer and groomer and operates,the premier dog training site on the internet. Checkback for additional articles by Suzy.

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