Trimming a dog’s nails can be tricky. Long-haired breeds that visit a groomer regularly can have their nails professionally trimmed, but pet owners with short-haired breeds that may not frequent a groomer need an alternative to professional nail clipping.
Like a wiggly child, it may be quite a challenge to successfully trim a dog’s nails. If not done properly, nail trimming can cause a lot pain for the pet and stress for both parties.
THE TOOLS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE: The first task is finding a trimmer that you are comfortable using. In addition to regular nail trimmers, there are also battery-operated rotary tools that file the nails, rather than cutting them. Finding the tool that is comfortable for you to handle can make all the difference in the process.
HOW OFTEN TO TRIM: Nail-trimming frequency differs among dogs. An average is about once every eight weeks, but dogs that spend a lot of time walking on cement may not need their nails trimmed as often, as the concrete works as a nail file.
PRACTICE HANDLING A DOG’S PAWS: Most dogs are sensitive about having their paws handled. This can be a problem because the nails cannot be trimmed if the dog doesn’t keep still. Try trimming just one nail, just a little bit at a time, and offering a positive reward, like a treat, to encourage the dog and make the nail-trimming a positive experience.
DON’T BE QUICK TO CLIP THE “QUICK”: Some dogs have black nails, some have while nails and some have a mixture. It is easy to spot the quick — the blood vessel inside the nail — on a white nail because the pink area where the quick begins is visible. On black nails, the quick is not detectable. It is crucial to take it slowly, clipping a little bit off at a time to avoid clipping the quick. There is a circle inside the nail, and once that is visible, the blood vessel is close, so stop there. If the quick is cut, there will be excessive bleeding and a lot of pain for the dog.
KEEP STYPTIC POWDER ON NEARBY: If the quick is cut, styptic powder will stop the bleeding. Keep it on hand and at arm’s reach just in case. It can be found at the pet store, and the human version works just as well.
If the whole nail-trimming process seems overwhelming, know that there are alternatives to doing them at home. The veterinary office can trim the nails as part of a regular wellness appointment, or at any time throughout the year, as needed. Also, most groomers and pet stores that have grooming services will offer an a la carte nail trimming for a nominal fee.
Events and more
SATURDAY: Animal Rescue New Orleans will be at Petco, 3520 Veterans, Metairie, from noon to 4 p.m. with adoptable dogs and cats. For info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
SATURDAY: The Al Briede Gold Cup will be held at Lake Pontchartrain Lakefront in Metairie at 8 a.m. The 49th annual race is a 10k, 3 mile and 1 mile — a NOTC Grand Prix Series Race (CCC qualifier) that benefits the Louisiana SPCA. Come out to run for the animals and also to kick off your training for the Crescent City Classic. Adoptables and a Louisiana SPCA information booth will be on site. To sign up and for info visit www.la-spca.org.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY: Offsite Pet Adoption & Yard Sale, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA at Petco, 3018 Holiday Drive, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet for your family. A variety of shapes, colors and sizes of four-legged friends eager to find a new home will be available for adoption. In addition to adoptions, items donated by Petco will be for sale to profit the Louisiana SPCA’s heartworm fund and Kitten Krewe. Call (504)368-5191 or visit www.la-spca.org/offsite for information.
Tuesday: Puppy Manners Class will be held at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. Teach your puppy basic manners, address and prevent behavior problems and provide an important socialization experience for your new family member. This is an open enrollment, five-session class. You may start at any time, but your five classes must be used consecutively due to age requirements for this class. Puppies must be 16 weeks or younger at the start of their first class and must have received their first two rounds of DHPP vaccinations administered by a licensed veterinarian.
Puppies adopted from a shelter must be in the home for two weeks before they may attend a class. Humans may attend classes without their puppy until their puppy is eligible. The cost for the 5 sessions is $115 and registration is required. Visit www.la-spca.org/grouptraining for info.
ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE: The Humane Society of Louisiana, a statewide animal advocacy group headquartered in New Orleans, is accepting donations of used vehicles, RVs, motorcycles and boats. Proceeds from the sale of these items will support their humane initiatives around the state. Donors will receive a tax credit. For additional information, contact the Humane Society at (888) 6-humane or write to email@example.com.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org. In JeffersonParish, send to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, and in St. Bernard Parish, send to email@example.com.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.