Pet nail care basics

Cats and dogs may require nail trimmings every now and then. Typically if your dog’s nails are making that click-click noise when walking on the floor or when your cat gets its nails caught in the curtain, it means that it is time for a nice trimming. Trimming nails in pets however, requires some knowledge and even some manual dexterity.

First you will need a nice nail clipper. You can purchase this in a pet store or you may buy one on-line. Pedipaws has had a nice success rate because it makes trimming nails a breeze. However, we will presume you have the average normal nail clipper. In order to cut a dog or cat’s nails it is of utmost importance that you have good visibility and that you avoid to cut over the quick.

The quick is an area that can be seen well under a lamp. If you look at your pet’s nails you will notice that at some point there is a “pinkish area showing. This area is the quick, you do not want to cut over this area. Doing so may cause extensive bleeding that may be hard to stop.

However, let’s imagine that one day either because your were trimming the nails in a dim lit area or because your pet moved at the most inappropriate time, suddenly, you cut over the quick and find blood splattered all over. In such scenario, there are a variety of things you may do to stop the bleeding.

1) You can pack the nail with flour. Flour will stop the bleeding and absorb the blood. In order to work, you must keep the cat still for a few minutes so the flour remains in place allowing the blood to clot. If you have no flour cornstarch may work as well.

2) You can use a bar of soap as an alternative. You can basically scrape the nail against the soap bar so that it become packed with soap.

3) Place some tissue paper and keep against the nail with your hand until the bleeding stops.

4) Styptic is very helpful to stop the bleeding. Always keep some on hand. There are also special products such as Quickstop sold in pet stores to stop bleeding from over trimmed nails.

5) Keeping the affected leg above the heart level will also decrease the bleeding. Because of the paw being lifted up it is harder for the blood to climb up

In most cases, the bleeding will stop within 5-7 minutes. If there are no signs of the bleeding tapering off, you should contact your vet immediately.

Trimming your pet’s nails is much more than a pedicure. Dogs may have trouble walking when their nails get too long and their feet may even appear splayed. In this case, the feet will appear to be slightly or moderately deformed. In cats, often their nails may grow so long that they may actually embed into their paws causing a painful condition that may require veterinary care and antibiotics.

As seen, trimming your dog or cat’s nails is not a big of a deal. If you feel insecure, have your vet show you how. If your dog or cat has dark, blackish nails, it may be challenging to effectively detect the quick. In this case, it is better to be conservative and just cut small tips off. When it comes to taking care of your pet’s nails nothing feels better than a pedicure. Your dog will walk much better and your cat will not get caught anymore in the carpet.

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