Trim Your Dog’s Toenails… Without the Stress!

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If you are an owner of personal protection dogs or are interested in personal protection dogs for sale, you will want to know how to take care of them properly. This includes taking care of their nails properly. Even if your dogs are not specifically personal protection dogs, you will need to know this information.

Many people avoid trimming their dogs’ nails because they are afraid of cutting the quicks of their dog’s nails. Additionally, most dogs do not really like to have their nails trimmed, so when this needs to be done, people generally take their dogs to professionals to have the job done.

If you have a very active dog who is running all day long on all sorts of surfaces, you may not need to cut your dog’s nails. The contact with the surfaces might naturally do the job for you. However, this is not the case with most dogs. Protection dogs who live in the city or suburbs are generally lucky to walk outside for a mile or two every day, so they will need to have their nails trimmed periodically.

Why It’s Important

Many people think that the main reason to trim a dog’s toenails is for aesthetic purposes, as well as to keep the dog from destroying furniture and floors. However, what they do not realize is that a big consequence of overly long toenails is foot pain for the dog. When a protection dog’s toenails come into contact with hard surfaces, the hard surface will put pressure on the nail back up into the bed of the nail. This will force the toe to twist sideways or put pressure on all the joints of the toe. Neither of these is desirable because they will both make your dog’s toes very sore and even potentially arthritic. It’ll make it so that the slightest touch will be painful to your protection dog, and he will not be okay with you picking up his paws to trim his nails.

However, this is not the worst of it. It can also create more serious health problems in your dog. Animals rely on information from the nerves that are located in their feet so that they can process gravity in an accurate way and move through the world accordingly. In the case of wild dogs, they run long distances on a daily basis and their nails naturally get worn down. Generally, the only time their toenails touch the ground is when they climb hills. Since your protection dog has evolved from these wild dogs, his brain is naturally programmed to associate toenail contact with the ground with walking on a hill. As such, he will shift his body posture so that he leans forward over his forelimbs while he is “walking up the hill.” However, he is not actually walking up a hill, so he will also have to use his hind limbs to compensate for the altered movement of his forelimbs. This ends up bringing his paws closer together under his body, which is a hard posture to maintain. It will lead to overused muscles and overused joints, particularly in the hind limbs. This leads to the difficulty in movement that is likely characterized by a lot of the older dogs that you have seen.

As such, if your dog is having these issues, it is very possible that cutting his toenails short on a regular basis can be almost like a miracle cure for his hindquarters.

How to Use the Clippers

Make sure that when you are using the clippers on your dog’s nails, you only use the scissor-type clippers. The ones that are made in the style of a guillotine will crush your dog’s toe. Also, make sure that you never put the entire nail into a clipper.

Additionally, make sure you use the smaller clippers so that you have better control. Only the giant breeds will need larger clippers. Make sure your tools are always sharp, either sharpening or replacing your clippers on a regular basis.

If you are using a “Pedi-paws” type grinder, make sure to smooth out your trim after the fact with a rotating emery board. Only file the insensitive nail located around the sides and top of the quick.

What to Do If You Cut the Quick

If you happen to nick the quick, quickly get some corn starch to stop the bleeding. However, if you make shallow cuts, it will be rare that you actually cut the quick. If you do need to use cornstarch, it would be best that you use a small container where the powder is tightly packed.

Tips for Cutting Your Dog’s Nails

Make sure you trim your dog’s nails either in a well-lit room or outside where there is ample lighting. If you use reading glasses for reading, make sure you use them while you are clipping your protection dog’s nails as well.

It is good to know that you can more easily see your dog’s nail structures if his nails are pigmented than if they are white.

The insensitive nail, which is what you should be cutting, will appear as a chalky ring surrounding the quick.

Make sure to keep the blades of the clipper nearly parallel to the nail. Be careful not to cut across the finger when you are doing the clipping.

Make sure that you avoid squeezing your dog’s toes, as that will cause a great amount of pain to your dog. Using your fingers, gently separate your protection dog’s toes, and hold his paw in a gentle manner while you are doing this.

If you need to remove excess toe hair before doing the actual clipping, use a pair of blunt-edged children’s scissors in order to do so. The toe hair will quickly dull the clippers, which you do not want. Also, it will make it harder to see the nail, which could lead to more mistakes while you are cutting.

If you happen to accidentally slightly cut the quick, just give your dog a treat right away to help him forget about the pain. If the bleeding is severe, or your dog’s pain is severe, you will want to consult the vet afterward.

Your protection dog naturally does not enjoy the process of nail trimming, so try to associate with something fun, such as dog treats and other types of positive reinforcement. Do your best to make this quality time with your dog, with lots of affection and a positive attitude.

In order to maintain the short nails, cut them every two weeks. To shorten them, cut them every week.

Once you have been doing this for a while, the insensitive nail will start to thin out and no longer support the quick. In this situation, the quick will end up drying up and receding. After this, you will be able to cut your protection dog’s nails even shorter. If your dog’s toenails are very long, they will often become dry and cracked, with a pronounced separation of the insensitive nail and living tissue, which may actually make it easier to trim them.

It would also be smart to look at diagrams of the anatomy of your dog’s nail so that you can get a better idea of what angle at which you should cut. It is better to start on the hind feet because the nails there are generally shorter and less sensitive than they are in the front.

If your dog keeps moving and squirming around, you may not be able to make an accurate cut without hurting your protection dog, and in these cases, it would be better to get the help of a groomer or dog trainer.

Try to keep the order of toes consistent when you are cutting your dog’s nails, making sure that your trim every toe every 16 days. If your dog is particularly squeamish about this, you can consider trying to do one nail at a time.

You can also choose to give your dog a calming bath after the nail trim.

Whether or not you have any involvement with personal protection dogs for sale, remember that short toenails are very important to the health and happiness of your dog!

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