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Sunday, May 2, 2010

ASK THE VET: Strategies for Caring for Your Dog's Nails

Dear Dr. Jacki:

Oxnard,--my mastiff, has very heavy nails. I get them clipped at a groomers because they are so hard to do. Anyway, when they are clipped they are very sharp for a long time. Sometimes he scratches himself and creates scrapes that get inflamed. A couple of times recently he scratched so much he opened up a wound and it took a long time to scab over. The groomer told me to use Bactine on it.

My question is this. Should I get his nails ground. I hear it leaves them smoother, but I don't really know if it is safe. I also wonder if it will scare him. What do you think?

Thanks, JJ
Hi JJ….I have a few ideas that may work for Oxnard.  After the nails have been clipped at the groomer, it would be nice to walk him on asphalt or concrete as this will help to smooth them a bit.   Actually, walking dogs on concrete (sidewalk) or asphalt really helps the nails stay nice and short. 

Some groomers offer ‘Dremeling’ which is done using a type of tool.  This is probably the best way to grind the nails down but it has to be done by someone who knows what they are doing.  The tool can get very hot and cause pain on the nail for the dog.He may be scared initially but he will get used to it.  Maybe you could call around and ask different groomers if they Dremel nails or not.  If you cannot find anyone, continue walking on the concrete.  Good question!

Good luck, Dr. Jacki

Dr. Jacki, D.V.M.
ASK THE VET on All Things Dog Blog

For more information on Dr. Jacki and her practice, you may find her at  4 Paws House Calls. A personal appointment will likely provide more specific information on your dog and your specific questions.

Dr. Jacki's opinion or advice does not replace an actual exam with a veterinarian. 

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Anonymous said...

I smooth my dogs nails with one of these tools. It keeps him from scratching me after I clip them. He is a Boston Terrier mix.

Dog Signs said...

I often get scratch when I'm going to bath my Labrador and mostly got into terrible situation when it times to clip his nail. I'm asking for any suggestion to somehow let him stay put while having his body regime.

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

Hello Dog Signs: Sounds like you need a grooming "helper". Engage a friend or family member to hold your Lab securely while you clip. Watch for the vein and clip only the very tip. When your dog is calmly allowing this procedure, ask you "helper" to treat him and praise him. He will eventually get the idea that this is not all bad, and settle a bit.

When I do Tanner's nails, I put him in a SIT and I sit on the floor behind him, with my legs wrapped around him. Then I can pick up one paw at a time to do his trim. This seems to work well for me. Good luck!

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