Experienced dog owners know that clawing is a whole science. As practice shows, many lovers of four-legged people prefer to go to the veterinarian than to conduct such a scrupulous procedure on their own. If you want to care for your dog at home, be sure to check out the theory, and then ask the vet to show you how to trim the dog’s claws! A one-time practice under the supervision of a physician will be enough to confidently manipulate the clappers in the future.
Dog claw anatomy
In the descriptions of dog breeds, more specifically, in the detailed examination of the structure of the paws, usually, the shape of the claws is indicated. If you combine all the characteristics, we get three types of claws:
- Feline – Bent with a curved tip.
- Undercut – arc-shaped.
- Hare – straight, long and often sharp.
The first two species are characteristic of service breeds, the third – decorative and a group of terriers. Claws are a full-fledged part of the paw that performs certain functions. The first thing that comes to mind: a dog digs with the help of claws, but besides the obvious … claws affect the position, balance, and quality of grip when walking and running.
Suppose you decide not to cut the claws of a dog, what will be the consequences? If your ward is active and gets sufficient walking distance – the minimum, but for decorative rocks – catastrophic. So, claw clipping warns:
- Problems with the musculoskeletal system – too long claws abut the floor or asphalt, because of which the fingers are constantly in an unnatural position. When the claws grow back and become slightly longer, each step of the dog will be painful and she will deliberately start kosolapit. The displacement of the centers of gravity will lead to the deformation of the joints … at the beginning of the legs, and later on the spine.
- Severe injuries – everyone knows that most pedigreed dogs have four toes on their hind legs, five toes on their front paws. In outbred quadrupeds do not remove or condemn the dewclaws on their hind legs. The fifth fingers are above ground level, on the inner side of the paw, that is, they do not wear out when walking and are constantly growing. As a result, a long and curved claw can cling to a bush or blanket on the bed, which will translate into tearing of soft tissues.
- Loss of balance while running – short claws give additional support during movement, and long fingers twist.
- Minor inconvenience – A pet who stands up to drink some water on a quiet night will not go unnoticed, since his “manicure” will be quite loudly clicking on the floor covering.
Important! Caring for a dog necessarily involves clipping claws!
Claw clipping tools
Horrified by the length of the claws of your pet, have you grabbed hold of ordinary scissors? First, stop, second, do not take the scissors too far away if your pet is long-haired. The claws of the dog are much thicker and stronger than humans, so tweezers, nippers also set aside. To care for dogs developed special tools – kogterezy. However, everything is not so simple, the tool must be of high quality and properly selected:
- First of all, you are interested in the material from which the clappers are made – at least steel, better – brass (the harder the metal, the slower the blades become dull). The design should be cast, fastened with rivets.
- The second thing you should pay attention to is the coating of the blades and the shape of the handles. The metal can be chromium (preferably) or untreated (some metals rust).
A large number of colorful packages can confuse you when choosing a tool. In addition, you will need a nail file to process the already clipped claws. Remember, there are only 2 types of kogterezov:
- Scissors – similar to a pruner, there are 2 handles and 2 blades, one straight, the other bent into a hook.
- Guillotine shears – a design with an opening for a claw and the handle lever.
- Files – usually represented by a wide range of models, have a hard sputtering and are graded to the size of the dog and claw stiffness.
It is worth mentioning the electric (battery-operated or mains) scraper. The tool is a "base", at the top of which there is a rod for nozzles. The nozzle is a grinding stone. With the help of an accessory, you can grind down claws to the desired length and shape, without resorting to a haircut. There are also disadvantages – the price (on the tool and the “spare wheels” themselves), noise and heating of the claw from friction. In short, not every dog will appreciate the modernity and convenience of the new technology.
Measure seven times – dog claws rules
So we got to the difficulties of this simple-looking procedure. Each dog’s claw has a cavity filled with a large number of blood vessels and nerve endings. That is, one wrong move will be worth the serious stress for the pet and unwillingness to resort to this procedure in the future. Remember, you probably beat your little finger on a corner of furniture, at dusk at night … remember these feelings? Did you get goose bumps on your back? So multiply it by 3 and be able to imagine what the dog feels if its claws are sheared incorrectly. Call your pet right now and look at its claws, you will see the following:
- If the dog’s claws are black, you will not see anything new and this is the most difficult case.
- On light, beige and brown claws you will see a darkened area from the base of the claw and almost to its very tip. This is the pulp, which can not be damaged when shearing.
Important! On the black claws is not visible pulp. Try to illuminate the claw with a flashlight and if the situation is not cleared, you will have to cut it at random.
Put your pet’s paw on the floor. When you cut the claws, the line of the claw blades should be at an angle of 45 ° and 1–1.5 mm below the pulp. Never shorten the claws to the desired length immediately! This is guaranteed to end injuries! Yes, cutting the dog’s claws at home is difficult even in theory and only practice will help, but remember that even veterinarians make mistakes when performing the procedure. Be careful and do not rush!
Black claws are cut off by 0.5 mm per pitch. As soon as you see that the cut has become brighter or pink, you need to stop – the next “step” will damage the pulp. By the way, each haircut "drives away" blood vessels deep into the claw. Thus, perseverance and constant periodicity will help to shorten the pet’s claws to the desired length without injury. Another guideline that can help you is the hollow on the side of the claw (if there is one), sometimes called the bloodstream. The pulp, as a rule, corresponds to or 0.5–1 mm longer than this hollow.
Important! The most common and critical mistake is rude handling of a dog. You tune up, cook with your pet sharply, squeeze a paw, and there are droplets of sweat on your face. The picture, presented to the pet, evokes a premonition of "slaughter for life and death." In addition, practice shows that a person makes many more mistakes when he is worried.
Preparation and hygiene – what you need to consider when clipping claws
Well, if your pet is perfectly obedient, calm and trust you without limits. However, this is a great rarity, usually, seeing strange preparations, the ward begins to worry and tries to sneak away from the upcoming procedure. Ideally, the dog should be trained to trim the claws from puppyhood, but we will consider the case more complicated. Suppose you took a pet from a shelter (from the street) or it has already experienced a negative experience associated with shortening claws:
- If the dog does not allow to cut claws, howls, twists, bites, hides, then just before shearing you should spend a few "idle" preparations. That is, you are fully prepared for the procedure or you stop not finishing if the pet is very nervous. They laid out the instrument, gave the dog a sniff, fed it with sweets, caressed and put everything in the nightstand. At the “dress rehearsals”, and there will be several of them, touch the claws with the claws, but do not cut. Vigorously praise your pet for perseverance and trust, do not regret and treats, so you consolidate the positive emotions associated with the tools for clipping claws.
- The instrument must be sterile. To the note, the clippers from the packaging are not sterile and are quite rarely clean. Treat the blades with alcohol, boiling water or an antiseptic.
- If the dog has a long coat, Trim it between fingers and around claws before the procedure.
- Wash and clean your feet well., it is not necessary to process with alcohol or antiseptic!
- Inspect the pads for cuts and scuffs.. If there are injuries, be careful and try not to hurt your pet by fixing its paw.
- Inspect claws on the subject of fungus, cracks, fractures – in the first case, it is worth contacting the veterinarian, in the second, the injured claws do not shear, but file off.
- No matter how trite it sounds, wash and clean your hands. Your palms are a source of fungi and infections, even if they look clean.
- If the pet is unfamiliar with clipping claws, bites, experiencing pain or very nervous – fix the ward on a short leash and put on a muzzle.
- Choose the right time – if the pet is not in good spirits or tired, additional stress will fix negative emotions regarding the procedure.
Important! During the preparations be affectionate with your favorite. Speak calmly and quietly, calm and support the dog! Your attitude and confidence are half the success. If your hands and voice tremble, put off the instruments and go to the vet! Prepare and tune in another time you can, but the dog will not forget the pain.
Claw clipping – a step by step theory
You have chosen the right time, processed and prepared the tools, fastened the dog on a leash and are ready for the procedure. Where to start? Pet the pet, tease it a little with a toy and make sure the dog is in a good mood. While you entertain your pet, prepare yourself mentally for the fact that you may not finish the procedure, for example, trim only 2-3 claws. Tune in positively and confidently, the ward must feel that he is safe. Next, proceed to the haircut:
- Start with the front paws. Give the command "Give a paw" and generously praise the pet for the implementation. It is recommended to shave off claws of hind legs not immediately, but after a break of 2-3 hours.
- Inspect the fingers and remove excess wool. Again, praise your pet for endurance.
- Take the claws, let the dog sniff them.
- Place the claw blades 1.5 mm below the pulp at an angle of 45 ° and cut. You can adjust for a long time, but you need to cut the claw quickly and confidently.
- Everything went well? Praise the dog as if it had just conquered Olympus! Feed your treats and be sure to take a 2-3 minute break.
- Treat the sections with a nail file. This is an optional condition, but its implementation will help to blunt the sharp edge of the claw.
- With hind legs will be a little more difficult. During the haircut pet must lie on its side. Over time, when the procedure will not cause excitement in the dog, the claws of the hind legs can also be cut in a standing position.
Important! Stop the procedure as soon as the dog starts to get nervous and break out. Even one clipped claw during the first procedure is a result that must be supported by positive emotions, not fear.
First aid for injuries
Many dogs are very nervous before clipping claws, even if they have not experienced negative emotions before. One alternative is sedatives. Usually, sedatives are made from herbs and dull nervous excitability, this is exactly the effect that is needed for the procedure. Next, prepare a special powder or wipes with a hemostatic effect. If you cut the claw too deep, several dozen vessels will be damaged. Usually, injuries are accompanied by severe bleeding, which causes a mutual panic of the owner and the dog.
Important! In no case do not handle the fallen claw with green paint, fucorcin, iodine, alcohol, dimexide, peroxide, alcohol, vodka, etc. If you have no special powder at hand, the usual food flour will do. Any alcohol-containing and cauterizing solutions will only increase the pain!
Another rather difficult injury is undermining a claw. Usually, this happens if you slowly squeeze the nails, and the dog pulls the paw hard. The fixed claw remains in the forceps, and the skin and soft tissues are torn. The first thing to realize is that it hurts a lot! Be prepared for the fact that the dog will whine hard and try to escape. Act quickly and without panic:
- Do not stop talking to the dog, calm, do everything to distract her.
- Intercept the injured paw with a gauze cut around the wrist (metatarsus).
- Tighten well and fix gauze, it is desirable to raise the limb as high as possible.
- Apply to the injured paw cold – ice, frozen vegetables or a piece of minced meat from the freezer. Beforehand, wrap the compress in a cotton towel and cellophane. The cold will help to stop the bleeding and partially ease the pain.
- Inspect the wound, if there are open breaks fill them with lidocaine or novocaine.
- If the wound visually looks too big and needs stitching, wrap the paw in a clean towel, apply cold and go to the vet without delay.
- With small gusts, the wound should be treated with a healing ointment with anesthetic effect and bandaged. The bandage is applied only after complete bleeding. It is also recommended to impose on the wound a separate, small piece of gauze, folded 4-6 times (it will stick to the drying wound).
Important! Claw damage implies stopping the procedure. Cut the remaining claws or leave the dog alone for 5-7 days.