Fear of cutting my dogs nails

dianamo_1July 12, 2011

I need help overcoming my fear of cutting my both of my dogs' nails.

I KNOW I can do it, but the weird thing is..I cringe and get sick to my stomach attempting it. I have this huge fear of closing the clippers around the nail, squeezing down on the handles, and having one of them yelp in pain. I can't get that vision out of my head.

A few days ago, I was able to gain the strength to clip two nails on my smallest dogs paw. Yayyyy! BUT, had to quit after that because my fear overcame me again.

Can someone please talk me into this???? I could take them and have it done, but I WANT to be able to do this myself.

Does anyone else have problems with this?

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When I had dogs... always LARGE ones... Rotts or Dobies... they had black nails. That made it even tougher for me. None of them liked having a mani/pedi but would reluctantly submit... usually under duress. I was always afraid of cutting nails too short, too, so would only take off very tips mayself.

Though dogs liked water, giving them a bath was not an easy chore. So periodically they would get a "day of beauty" at the groomer... nail trimming included.

Now I have a cat. When she was teeny, could trim SOME of her nails. Problem was I'd get 2-3 on a paw and then she would decided that was enough. Don't think I ever got all 4 paws done. Then I discovered that Petsmart does nails for $9... often have online survey to complete and get $3 off next time. Pretty much no appointment necessary... just have to make sure "cat person" is gonna be there. Very fast and I always get a good report on how June acts. By the time I wander the store for a few minutes and pay bill... she's done.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 7:58AM
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I suggest going to get a different trimmer. Those guillitine trimmers are very intimidating. So go check out the motorized ones, or just do the very tips of the nails on a regular basis making certain you dont go too far. Sounds like you are doing a great job in overcoming your anxiety tho...keep up the good work.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 2:04PM
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I can empathise. The thing is, the dog can and will pick up on your anxiety, and if you have a rescue dog like mine was you never know what to anticipate with the ritual. I had a battle royal at first and just took him in to the vets to get them done. $8 because a tech can do it in just a minute or two.

However, I was determined to get us into a comfortable routine neither he nor I would think scary. My dog is an iggy and they do not seem to wear their nails down appreciably and they seem to have normally long and rapidly growing ones, too. Thankfully all the nails but one are transparent. That makes the job so much easier because all you need worry about is not to cut into the pink zone of the quick (blood supply). Any acting out of the dog then can be attributed not so much to pain but fear.

I watched how my daughter does it. She was a vet tech and also a groomer. Her dogs sumbit without blinking an eye and it all had to do with confidence, patience to allow the dog to settle down between nails and firmness. I compensated for worrying about how deep to go by just hitting the sharp points at first...you can see that little triangle with the rough area underneath. As soon as his nails showed that the square trim was being worn down to a triangle again, I clipped again. I find that I need to clip about once a week to keep ahead of it. I also find the quick seems to extend further in the nails of dogs who are not trimmed frequently and if you can step up the frequency, the shorter nail seems to toughen up and the quick seems to recede. Once you get the nail to the length you want it..........it's much easier to keep it that way. If your dogs have long, overgrown nails turning sideways, you'll have to be persistent, careful and work gradually to get them in shape.

It's pretty important for the dogs comfort and also to prevent a nail from getting caught and tearing partially loose. That's very painful for a dog and usually requires a vet visit to remediate it.

My last trim job..........was a breeze. I stopped if and when the dog seemed to get nervous and distraced him a minute and then started again. It only took a minute to do and I immediately praised him to high heaven and gave him a dog treat. He knows what activities are associated to treats and this helps a lot.

Oh btw, guillotine clippers can get old, dull blades and that surely applies a lot of pressure to the toe when you try to snip the nail. Did you know you can and should buy replacement blades because they get dull? I didn't.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 4:13PM
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I do some grooming and work at a groomery. If you don't really know what you're doing (and there's nothing wrong with that), it's best to have a groomer or vet's office do this for you, or at least show you how. Better safe than sorry. They have the training, experience, and know what to do in case it gets really bloody.

Even with sharp clippers, it can cause a lot of dogs pain. There will always be some squeezing of the nail, which puts pressure on the quick. Some dogs are more fearful than others and will yelp, while others are just more sensitive than others or have longer quicks and it can really cause them pain. My own dog has quicks right down to the ends of her nails and I'd never be able to clip them without causing her pain and drawing blood.

I HIGHLY recommend grinding instead of clipping. Get a Dremmel like grinding tool from a hardware stop, don't waste money on the junk pet ones. They break and/or don't have enough power. I have a plug in Black and Decker but you might prefer a cordless and something more quiet. You can also get an extender and be able to put the actual tool away from the dog which lessons the noise and fear factor.

You start by showing them and letting them sniff the tool and giving treats and praise. The next day, you touch the tool to their nails and give praise and treats. The next day you turn it on near them, but don't touch it to them, praise and treat. Slowly work up to being able to use it.

There is no pain unless you grind too much and that's pretty hard to do if you pay attention to what you're doing. Friction causing heat isn't a big factor either because you don't need to have the grinder on their nail for too long. If you accidentally draw blood, the grinder on high speed will cauterize it. In all the time I've been grinding, I've never drawn blood.

Basically, you don't grind off too much at one time. You do it about once a week, grinding off a layer at a time and it keeps the nail length maintained. In the beginning, you may need to grind off more or just get them cut first and then maintain the length with the grinder.

You also get really smooth nails that won't scratch up surfaces.

Youtube will have some helpful videos on how to do this.

My dog just lies there while I do it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 1:14AM
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Thank you for the replies. I really, really appreciate them!

Tomorrow my DD is bringing over her dog for me to babysit while she goes away for the weekend on a mini vacation.

She has asked me to give her dog a bath while he is here and of course I said yes. I think I will turn tomorrow into a sort of doggy 'spa' and also give my two dogs a bath too. And then...I'm going to try the nail clipping again.

I will let you know how it turns out.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 2:06AM
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I am also very fear when I am cutting the nails of my little kitty. but it is too danagerous to have long and sharp nails, she have hurt my mom sometimes.

So I buy a dog nail grinder
. it resolves the issue of nail trimming �" making it safe and pain free.

If you have trouble to cutting the nails of your baby, have a look of the dog nail grinder
, I think it is really helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: how to use the dog nail grinder

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 2:26AM
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