Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Don't be afraid to trim your pets nails


   Throughout my many years as a veterinary technician it seems to me that pet owners were afraid to trim their pet’s nails.  So I always made it a point to show people how easy it can be, I would do a few and then let them try.  Usually they left very happy and empowered by my lessen.
Then one day……..
The doctor asked me to go into a room and trim a puppies nails.  I opened the door and saw a tiny Maltese sitting on the table, behind him a very nice older lady wearing a poncho.  I smiled and introduced myself and began trimming “now you try it” , I said to the lady. “ Oh, I couldn’t” she protested politely.“Don’t be afraid  ”, I said, “no ,no I can’t”,  she said again. “Oh sure, you can just give it a try” I said, and smiled.  And that’s when she said it, I’ll never forget it. She looked right at me and said “I can’t, I only have one hand”.  You see, she was wearing a poncho, I had no way of knowing.  Anyway, I finished the nails quickly turned and said "alrightie then, you’re all set" and I sputtered out of the room.

So here are a few tips.  If you’re so inclined to trim your pets nails.

   1.    You should start early with your pet getting them used to you, touching their paws.  Make it a good experience.  Start out slow.  Don’t just grab their foot ,and remember they don’t understand that you’re just trying to help so be patient.

   2.  Use treats and praise.  This will make your pet more comfortable with you holding his paw.
            If you do one or two nails while sitting on the couch watching TV with your pet, that’s fine .

   3.    There’s an old wives tale that if you cut the quick, your pet will bleed to death.  That’s not true.  And if you do make the nail bleed, they sell a septic powder at pet shops, or you can use flower or cornstarch or even baby powder will help stop the bleeding.
         So don’t panic.  It’ll will be fine. 

   4.    Hold the paw with one hand and push the hair away with your fingers and use your other hand (assuming you have two, if not get someone to help)  to cut with. If the nail is white, you will probably see the quick and be able to cut before it, but if the nail is black, just cut where the nail starts to bend at the tip and you’re usually safe. 

   5.     And remember if you’re calm your pet will more respective to you.  And although most pets   don’t like having their nails trimmed it can avoid a costly vet visit should one split or crack.

   6.      Don’t be afraid to use a muzzle.  If your dog gets grumpy , still remain calm, take your time. 
           Good luck

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