Clip Dog Nails by Janice Jones Published 02-13-2020
With so much information on how to clip dog nails, why you might ask does one need to read still another article. That's a fair question, and I have a unique perspective on the subject because I raise puppies and have lots and lots of little nails to clip.
Do the math, a Shih Tzu Dam might have a litter of 6 puppies each of which has four paws with at least four and often five nails to clip if you count the dewclaw. Each puppy needs their nails clipped about every two weeks until they go home to their forever family at 10 to 12 weeks of age.
I'm no mathematician but six puppies X 16 nails X 6 nail trimmings equals a whopping 576 little nails, and that's only one litter. I guess I can quote the Farmer's Insurance TV commercial, "I know a thing or two because I've seen (done) a thing or two."
Dog nails grow quickly. Consider your finger or toenails. In a healthy puppy or adult dogs, nails grow to the point of needing clipping or grinding about every 2 to 3 weeks. If you have hard floors, you probably have experienced the nail clicking sound that accompanies a dog as he walks across the floor. If you hear that, you know it is time to trim.
You may not hear that tell-tale sound in puppies, because their nails are softer and smaller, so the best way is to know when to clip is to jot down the time on your calendar.
Why should you clip your puppy's nails? The answer may seem obvious, but there are excellent reasons to keep your puppy's nails short and filed.
The video below will demonstrate how to clip your puppy's nails. Before you get started, though, you will want to gather your supplies. Here is a quick list of items to have on hand.
The paper towel can be folded and used to hold a small amount of Styptic powder. The Q-tip is used to apply the small amount of styptic powder onto the end of the nail that might bleed. For very squirmy puppies, a hand or bath towel comes in handy especially if you don't have someone to hold your puppy while you trim. Wrap the towel around the puppy's body as if you were swaddling a baby, keeping one paw out at a time. The pressure of the towel will also act to calm the puppy.
Now the trick is to clip those nails, so you avoid nipping the blood vessel, but sometimes it's unavoidable especially if your puppy has black nails. Please do not beat yourself up if you accidentally cause a little bleeding. It happens.
This video shows I clip the puppy's nails at Miracle Shih Tzu. As you can see, the process starts shortly after birth and continues until the puppy goes to his forever home. If puppies have positive nail experiences, they are likely to be less stressed when the next nail trimming time comes around.
With that said, all puppies are different, meaning that some will naturally be easier than others. Just as humans, some are much more sensitive to being touched.
But, one thing is true of all puppies, they are busy little creatures. It is as hard for some of them to sit still as it is for a human toddler. Keep that activity level in the back of your mind when attempting to trim nails.
It happens to the best of us so be prepared in advance. As I mentioned earlier, it is best to have everything you need in one place before you begin. Nails can bleed profusely once the blood vessel has been nipped.
Hold the paw in one hand and apply a small amount of the blood stop powder, enough to cause clotting to occur. Do not wipe or brush off the powder until all bleeding has ceased.
If blood soiled your puppy's coat or got on you, a dab of hydrogen peroxide will get the blood out immediate. If you plan to hold your puppy in your lap while clipping her nails, you may want to use a towel to protect your clothing.
Do not put your puppy back on the floor until you are certain she is no longer bleeding unless you don't mind cleaning up a trail of blood drops.