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Give your dog a 'pawdicure': trimming your dog's claw doesn't have to be a stressful are some helpful tips.

Long nails may be considered de rigueur for many a fashion-conscious woman, but the unclipped look can be unattractive and downright painful for your dog. Untrimmed claws not only make it difficult for your dog to walk, but they can also cause joint and back problems by changing the angle at which your dog's feet hit the ground. If your pooch needs a pedicure, read on. These helpful tips can make trimming his claws a speedy and stress-free experience for both of you.


Rex in the City

If you live in the city, chances are good that your dog walks predominantly on sidewalks and asphalt. Although these hard surfaces will naturally wear down his claws as he strolls or jogs, most dogs still need to have their claws trimmed or a regular basis. Plan on trimming them about every three to four weeks, depending upon how quickly they grow. (Tip: if his claws are making a "click, click, click" sound when he walks, it's time to pull out the clippers.)

Quick Work of Claw Trimming

If you have ever trimmed your dog's claws, you are aware of the "quick," a blood vessel that runs down the middle of each claw. Cut the claw too short, and it will bleed and cause discomfort to your dog, If you accidentally cut the quick, blot the area with a cotton ball or tissue until the bleeding stops or dab the area with a styptic pencil, which will immediately stem the flow of blood.

The Three T's: Touch, Trim, Treat

Does your dog scan trembling at the mere sight of the clippers? Don't despair. If you follow the Three T's, he'll go from cowardly to courageous in no time.

Touch: Dogs are tactile creatures and they respond to a gentle touch and soft voice. With this in mind, take some time to massage the pads of your dog's feet and stroke his claws. If possible, begin this desensitizing process when he's a puppy. You may find it necessary to repeat this process frequently for several days before he allows you to trim his claws without a fuss.

Trim: Okay, the big day is here: Your dog's first pedicure! Begin by finding a comfortable position in which to sit or stand. If you're standing, place your dog in front of you on a cable or other sturdy surface. Some dogs may feel more at ease standing, while others prefer to sit or lie down. (If you're really lucky, he may even nod off during the procedure). Take hold of each paw, one at a time, press on the pad so that the claw protrudes, and begin trimming, moving quickly yet gently. Unless the claw is white and you can see where the blood vessel ends, only take off small amounts in multiple passes rather than cutting off all the excess at once. Remember to trim the dew claws, which are located on the inner surface of the paw.

Jason Fiedtkou, owner of For Paws Salon in Santa Barbara, California, and a dog groomer for the past six years, offers this suggestion: "If your dog resists, try placing him on his side or on his back and grasping his two back legs (or two front legs) in one hand while clipping the claws with the Other." If your dog is particularly wiggly, you may find it necessary to employ the assistance of a friend or spouse.

Treat: Whew, you're almost done; now comes the fun part. Praise your dog for cooperating and give him a treat. Over time, he should become accustomed to having his claws trimmed and may even look forward to the pampering session.

If you still feel uncomfortable trimming your dog's claws, make an appointment with a groomer or your veterinarian. For a nominal fee, they will give your dog a pawdicure that would win the approval of any true fashionista.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Eduipment you'll Need

Are you confused by the variety of tools available to trim your dog's claws? Here's a handy guide to assist you in making the right purchase. The following supplies can be found at most pet stores or in pet-supply catalogues.

* Clippers: There are many sizes and styles available, depending on the size and age of your dog. (Older dogs tend to have thicker claws, which can be more difficult to cut.) Replace or sharpen when the blades get dull.

* Grinder; A grinder can be used alone or in conjunction with clippers. This tool will smooth and round the edges of the claw.

* Stypic Pencil: You should keep this on hand to stop any bleeding.
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Title Annotation:Helpful Hints
Author:Stevens, Karen Lee
Publication:Dog Watch
Date:Sep 1, 2008
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