clipping toenails

marricgardensNovember 30, 2011

We have a five year old australian shepherd. Cutting her toenails is always an ordeal, for us but I think more for her. She's alright with having her feet touched but toenails are a no-no. When she was small, I used to touch her feet all the time to try and get her used to it. I did some checking here and now know that the front paws are sensative for a dog. She's not aggressive when we do it, she just puts up a fight trying to pull away. Is there something else I can do to help calm her? I've thought about getting sedatives or something from the vet but Rosie has such a sensitive stomach I really don't want to do that. She does spend a lot of time running outdoors and I thought that would wear down her claws (they're more like eagles talons) but that doesn't do anything. Thanks for any advice. Marg

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Have you considered using a dremel instead? I use a regular dremel, not the brand ( Peticure ?) that has an opening that you stick the dog's nail into. A regular dremel allows you more control of the angle you want and trimming the edges of the nail is easier.

The link below has excellent advice so be sure to read the whole article, and especially the Ground Rules near the bottom of the page. They admit the nails in the photos are extremely short so don't panic when you see them :).
In using any dremel, the key is to not overheat the nail, so be sure and follow their advice to never use it more than 3 seconds on one spot.

BTW, since I switched to a dremel, my dog is always relaxed during a nail trim. I never have to deal with jerking paws and no more dreading the yelp.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dremel

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 11:47AM
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Those sound like they would do the job. How much noise do they make? Rosie is very sensative to high pitched noises.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 12:50PM
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I have the dremel 7300PT and it is great! Was around $25 on Amazon. On low its not loud at all, on Hi it is a bit loud! You can do a nail in seconds. Its cordless and its rechargeable. Much easier to use than my full size dremel that has a cord

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 4:47PM
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I don't consider my dremel noisy, but maybe it's because it has an adjustable speed. I've never had to turn it to full speed and would say it's 1/4 or less of max setting. Look for a quality dremel and ask the store's return policy in case you find the dremel too noisy.

I would give your dog an adjustment period to get used to the noise by running it off and on for several days. I suggest you totally ignore your dog while testing it since if you're at ease while it's running, she's more likely to be relaxed.

The link below shows the one I use. Besides using it for dog nails, it's also handy for projects around the house!

Here is a link that might be useful: Oster Dremel

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 4:57PM
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When I worked at a vet's back in the dark ages, we'd use 2 people to trim nails. One person crouched/sat next to the dog, and kind of put their arm around the dog, to hold the paw up and out to the person in front, who'd do the trimming. It helped keep the dog in position, and you can lay your own arm under your dog's while you hold it out. We also did that to draw blood, it can actually calm the dog to know what they can do, and the 'helper' can be firm or relaxed as need be. It's most important to remain calm, and abort the mission when it gets out of hand, else your dog will always 'win' this battle; and nobody wants to manhandle their own dog, it just makes it so much worse in the long run.

Good luck, it can be trying to trim nails!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 6:52PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 9:11PM
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There are videos on youtube showing how people trained their dog to accept the dremel! Mine didnt mind it form the beginning, but hated the nail clippers

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 10:27PM
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I used to have the battle royal with my little iggy come nail time. My daughter who was a vet tech pretty much told me the same thing jomuir is saying. It's all about keeping the dog relaxed and reassured. When his anxiety level got too high, I had to stop and take a time out with him. I also had to do the first trims very lightly, taking off only a token amount, to get him used to the idea it didn't hurt. That meant I did them every couple of days for a few weeks. He is now to the point I don't even have to hold him. He gets a reward after the nails are done and remembers it. Neither of us look forward to the sessions, but I can do a good trim in about five minutes now and when I praise him afterwards he just glows! I do use a clipper, but keep the blade sharp and new. I would assume the dremel routine is great. Just haven't needed it. Some dogs just have those long, fast-growing nails and mine is one of those those dogs.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 4:39AM
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Best advice is to go slow, set your expectations for 1 nail a day and reward the dog immediately. Start by just showing her the dremel and treat. Then put it away for the day. Then turn it on so pup can hear it, treat, and put it away. You need to desensitize. After a few days of this, do one nail lightly, treat and put it away. If you take a slow approach, you won't frighten her and you won't be anxious (she picks up on that too.) Use tiny high value treats the size of your little finger nail, not huge carb cookies.

I dremel 4 dogs every Sunday morning, and it doesn't take more than 15 minutes for the 4 of them. They come runnning because they associate the dremel with treats. At this point they all get one tiny treat after the front paws are done and after the back paws are done. One week-end I left the dremel on the kitchen counter and finally put it away a few days later. When I did that I knocked it over and the dremel turned itself on. Two dogs came running at the sound! One was a nine year old who was frightened to death of nail trims when she came to me just a year ago. So go SLOWLY, don't push it, always stop if the dog appears uncomfortable, and reward reward reward. Nails will become fun for both of you :)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 7:44AM
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**raises hand** dremel here, too! easy peasy once you get your dog conditioned to it. if you have a helper, smear some peanut butter or cream cheese on a wooden spoon and have your helper hold it for your dog to lick while you are doing nails. it's a great distraction!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 7:47AM
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I have a miniture dachshund. I worry about cutting her nails all the time. Hers are all black and I can't tell how far is too far....of course I only cut off small amounts, but it's always such an ordeal. And I bought one of those Pet-icure things for her, but she refuses to let me come near her with it. Any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 11:52AM
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animallover32, scroll back up and read my earlier response on desensitizing your dog to the dremel.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 8:46PM
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Got it Cynthia, I'm gonna try it. Hope it works.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 4:42PM
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Dremel should work great on medium to small dogs however my 245 lb dog ha ha ha.! i actually have to do 1 at time very quikly while he napps .

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 11:31AM
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Just gonna give you some advice, check prices before you buy a dremel. I bought one from a pet store, $49.95, (which sure didn't last very long) then noticed the very same thing at a very large department store for $24.95!! It is exactly the same dremel and it is labeled to be used on pets. It's a Dremel 7300. They are found back by the rest of the tools, not in the pet department. So you might want to check around. I had no idea you could purchase it somewhere that was not a pet store. btw it is still working beautifully.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 10:46AM
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