Posts Tagged ‘trim cat claws’

Answer: Your dog, if it’s been a while since he’s had a nail trim.

Have you examined your pet’s feet lately?  What do the toenails look like?  Unless your dog or cat gets groomed on a regular basis, its nails could be growing wild.

  • Some dogs and cats are afflicted with claws that grow around into the toepads.  The result is a bloody and painful mess.
  • Dewclaws or “thumbnails” which are not trimmed can sometimes catch in rugs, upholstery, or fences and tear or break off, which also leaves a bloody and painful mess.
  • Untrimmed nails may cause your pet’s toes to spread apart when standing or walking, which can cause discomfort.

     If your pet’s toenails are clicking on the floor, then it’s probably time to trim them back.  You can do this at home with a cooperative pet, a good pair of nail clippers, and steady nerves.

Start with a good pet nail trimmer.

     If your pet’s nails are white and you can see the pink quick inside, trim in front of the quick to lessen the chance of cutting a vein.  The quick is the fleshy part of the toenail, which has veins and can bleed when cut.  Leave a small amount of white nail between the trimmer blade and the quick.

Note:  Since cats normally retract their claws, you will need to gently squeeze each toe to extend the claws for trimming. Take care to wrap your cat in a thick towel if he tends to scratch or bite. 

     If your pet’s nails are black, you will not be able to see the quick.  In this case, trim off small amounts at a time.  In some pets, the tip of the nail is thinner than the base and is hollow-looking from the underside.  This is typically a safe area to cut, as it rarely contains blood vessels.

     Do not trim more than you are comfortable with.  If you feel that you have not removed enough of the nail, be sure to ask a groomer or vet to finish the job.
     Keep in mind that a pet will sometimes sense the owner’s nervousness and become nervous in response.  If you are anxious about trimming your pet’s nails, because you are afraid of cutting the quick, your anxiety may transfer to your pet which will then run and hide, saving you the trouble of trimming its nails.  As a result, you may wish to ask a groomer or the veterinary staff to do it for you.

     If you do cut the quick, the nail will bleed.  Use styptic powder or cornstarch with cotton and firm pressure to stop the bleeding.  Cut the other nails longer than any that bleed.  You can try a dremel tool like the sort advertised on tv, but we have heard few positive remarks about them.  Most clients report that their pets do not like the sound of the tool and run out of the room.

     Need a photo demonstration?  Washington State University has produced a guide to trimming claws on dogs and cats. 

Originally posted on October 26, 2010.

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