Monday, August 15, 2011

Grooming Lessons

Since we do most of our walking on grass or trails and not on concrete, the boys' nails don't wear down. They can get pretty long, and especially with Kool's long hair, I often don't notice how long they've gotten. I tried to use a Pedi-Paws nail filer, but it took so long to get the nails to a manageable length, and they grew so fast. I finally gave up and bought a nail clipper.

The clippers worked okay until the day I clipped one of Swift's nails too short. He yelped, of course, and began to bleed everywhere. I mean, this wasn't just a little nick. I definitely cut it way too short. (I had just gotten my carpets cleaned, and he was dripping blood over my clean carpet!) I panicked. I tried to find something to stop the bleeding. I knew I didn't have a styptic pencil or powder, but I thought that maybe flour would work. No such luck - all I managed to do was get flour all over the counter and all over Swift's face and paws.

So here I am, carrying Swift in my arms, holding a bloody paper towel around his paw, trying to figure out what in the world I am going to do. By this time, Swift has calmed down, and he's just fine with mommy holding him, but now I'm the one panicky and upset. I finally go next door to Kira and Chris, holding Swift, asking if they know what to do. They have a dog and a daughter, so they are used to these kinds of things. :) Their calming presence relaxed me. Kira poured some cornstarch (or cornmeal - I can't remember) into a bowl, and we were able to stop Swift's bleeding.

I brought back the little bowl of cornstarch into the house and let Swift go but tried to keep him calm. Yeah, right. All the excitement got to him, and he kept running and jumping. I had to keep putting more cornstarch onto his nail because it kept coming off. Luckily, the bleeding had mostly stopped by this point. Now all I had to do was clean the blood up. I kept finding spots on the carpet from when the cornstarch would come off, and I also found some on the couch. Jeez, dogs are hard work. :)

Ever since that incident, Swift does not want his nails even touched. I have to put my entire weight onto him to hold him down. I'm lucky if I can get even one nail clipped on Swift at a time. Kool struggles a bit, but he's pretty calm for the most part. I can usually get a whole paw done at a time. I clip their nails once a week to try to keep them under control. Last week, I clipped Kool's just a tiny bit short (only a tiny drop of blood showed up - not even enough to drip), and he got upset. I gave him a treat and tried to pet him afterward, but he just ran away from me. No way was he going to let me touch him! Poor little guy.

I feel badly that I can't keep their nails trimmed nicely. I feel like I'm torturing them - especially Swift, who has began to screech when I try to hold him down. Does anybody else have horror stories about clipping nails?


  1. don't worry, amy. you are surely not alone. and, yes, the pedi paws is crap. it's really not strong enough to do anything, and when you apply pressure to the nail with it, sometimes it stops spinning. waste of money. we actually use a Dremel sander--as in the power tool. sounds crazy but works really well. (plus, it's handy to have around anyway.)

    desmond never wanted anyone to touch his paws at all, so we conditioned him to the pedi paws and dremel with lots of treats. the first time we used the dremel, i basically fed him treats the whole time while my husband filed the nails. we're now at a point where my husband can file desmond's nails alone and without treats! so maybe you can try that?

    there's always the option of paying someone else to clip nails, but that's not always convenient and filing is better for the dog anyway. good luck!!

  2. I agree with the above post, an actual Dremel tool works way better than the pedipaws thing.

    My dogs don't like their nails done either, so we do the front feet one day, the back feet a different day, and since we do bike rides on the bike paths and roads, their nails get wore down naturally as well, which is nice. I always have to watch their dew claws though, because even if every other nail is getting ground down on the road, those ones aren't and need to be clipped.

  3. I should come over and try it with you sometime. Not that I am magic...I just have never seen a dog freak out so bad...even when I do clip a nail :)

    No, seriously, maybe with two of us it would work.