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How to Take Care of Your Dog's Nails

Don’t let your dog scratch up the wooden floors in your house - take care of those nails and keep everything looking good as new! Taking care of your dog’s nails can be a bother, so here are a few tips to keep it as painless and stress-free as possible.

Walk often

One of the best ways to ensure you need minimal nail trimming is by taking your dog on regular walks. Especially with heavier dogs, walking on concrete will do wonders for keeping their nails filed down. You will still want to keep an eye on things to make sure nails don’t get out of control, but regular walks will benefit their nail health (and will get you both up and moving!)

Keep your dog comfortable around the nail clippers

Even with regular walks, you’ll still need to trim nails on occasion. A lot of dogs don’t like to have their feet touched, so it can be quite an endeavor! To keep things as easy as possible, you’ll want to keep your dog comfortable around the clippers. There are two styles of nail clippers - “guillotine” and “pliers.” We recommend the pliers style, as it is generally easier to use. Let your dog sniff the clippers, comfort them and offer plenty of praise, and give them a treat when you are ready to start.

Trim a bit at a time

When it’s time to start, you’ll want to hold your dog’s paw off the ground just a bit. You will only want to trim a small amount of each nail at a time so you can avoid cutting the quick. The quick is easy to see on dogs with clear nails: it is pink and in the middle of the nail. On dogs with black nails, you won’t be able to see it. Many models of nail clippers have a guide so you won’t cut too far. If your clippers do not have a guide, just cut a very small amount as needed. Also, check your dog for dewclaws - some have them, some don’t. These are remnants of a fifth toe, and are often a few inches up the inside of their leg. Dewclaws won’t wear down during walks, so they’ll need to be trimmed regularly if your dog has them.

Keep styptic powder handy

If you accidentally cut your dog’s quick, there will be a very small amount of pain and it will bleed. You’ll want an anticoagulant on hand - styptic powder is great for this. Just dip the affected nail in the powder and the bleeding should stop almost right away. If you don’t have styptic powder, using a bit of flour or cornstarch will fill the same role.

When it’s all said and done, you’ll want to reward your dog with praise and their favorite treat. Once they’ve gone through the process a few times and know they’ll get rewarded, trimming nails shouldn’t be as much of a frightening process.

In addition to taking care of your dog’s nails, you might also want to consider keeping a supply of Bio-nihilator around the house. It’s great for taking care of little accidents; care for those stains and smells and get back to enjoying time with your furry best friend!

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