Most dogs (Mutts) and possible some of the more "stay at home" cats (Moggies), rather than perhaps your "all hunting - all wandering tom" need to have some regular maintenance carried out on their nails!
Knowing not only how, but also exactly when to undertake cutting your cat or dog 's nails is important. Your animal's nails grow continuously and there can be some distinct variation between breeds and their lifestyles, (carpet creepers v concrete racers!)
My 50 kg German Shepherd "Ralph" does a 0 to 60 in 2 seconds across a concrete surfaced yard to "welcome" a calling visitor - so I rarely have to spend much time nail trimming!
So if your "mutt" is a city or town dweller and treads the pavements on a regular basic - like two or three times a day, he/she may need little if any attention to his/her nails. Like wise if your Moggie spends its days mountaineering up the trees in your area, either to escape local Mutts or as an active birdwatcher it too will keep its claws in good shape.
On the other hand if the "Mutt or Moggie" in question spends most of the day on your sun bed with its feet up, relaxing behind an outsized pair of "shades" you will find your services with the nail clippers are more regularly needed.
One factor, quickly experienced, is that not all mutts/moggies view "nail maintenance with "appreciation" of the service you are attempting to provide. Some view it as an outright "attack on their body and are prepared to defend themselves irrespective of your "owner/guardian status" and good intentions! Moggie's wrapped in a large bath wrap to combat flailing paws with claws rotating at wild rate are a good idea. One paw at a time is manageable - four - all rotating at once present problems!
One of the important training lessons if you have your "mutt" as a pup (same applies to kittens.) is to get them happy with constant handling - the face, teeth, ears, feet, paw pads, body - the lot - every day a little of the "hands on" with any good behaviour only - rewarded with a treat. (Always try to end on a "good" note with a treat!) After a few months if done correctly you should have a "mutt" or "moggie" which is happy to let you and others "grope" away to your hearts content. (This is much better than watching your vet put in "orbit" as he/she attempt a routine jab")
If you own either a mutt or a moggie you will need to know how to perform tasks such as nail clipping, so when at the vet for the first time with your "newly acquired" for the usual vaccinations get them to show you what is involved. (Consider it a cheap? Training Course!) Failure or neglect on your part to do nails could lead to permanent damage and even malformation in the worst-case situations.
Knowing how to correctly cut your mutts nails is easier when you understand the anatomy of a dog's nail. Mutts nails are constructed of a hard outer cover, which protects what is known as the "quick" - this is the inner soft part which contains both blood vessels and tender nerve endings. (You will soon discover both, if you accidentally cut too closely) Those Mutts with light coloured nails, the quick can often been observed as a faintly pinkish area, which makes it easier to avoid.
In the more common black type nails, the quick it totally invisible. Therefore it is even more important to know your way round these type nails so as to trim correctly. It is better trimming off small portions instead of one large slice!
Take it steady, keep checking as you trim, and keep a sharp eye open for the dark spot in the middle of the newly clipped area - this indicates the start of the quick - avoid cut too far into this. Taking just tiny snips, you should start to see a pale third inner circle. Stop there and call it a day - other wise you are likely to hurt your mutt. (Assuming he/she is still with you!)
In your anxious state to complete this "relaxing and pleasant task" don't over look the small job of the dewclaws. Growing on the inside of his/her legs and thus not in contact with the floor, these do not get worn away and may sometimes curl round like a hook causing your Mutt to get snagged in undergrowth, bedding, and the like. This as you can image can be very painful, so it is important to keep these trimmed also.
Moggies have parallel problems also and the basic are much the same. With cats just remember the claws are smaller and more delicate, so allow for this when you "chop"
When you commence nail trimming try to adopt an air of professionalism, and endeavour to radiate confidence rather than implying you are scared stiff of what you are about to perform. The "victim" will quickly get your "drift" and given half a chance will be in the next town before you can get to your garden gate! Try confidently chatting in soothing tones to him or her about the weather, their favourite game or treat, as you cut and trim! You will both benefit!
Immediately after the last nail fragment hits the ground reward with a treat, plus plenty of patting/stroking and a game. One of our shepherds - Carla - after nail trimming - which incidentally she howls like a wolf before we even start - immediately vents her feelings on the collie we have, with prolonged imitation "beatings"
Nail cutting tools are fairly numerous; everybody has their own preferred choice. A few comments may help you select the best suited for your needs. The Guillotine type:
For the medium and big breeds these are popular and cut leaving a good finish and no crushing of the nail. The down side: If your mutt is one of the "I don't like this type of thing" getting each claw into the nail clipper hole may be a bit of a struggle! Mars and Millers scissor type action:
For our type dogs - Shepherd and Collies - this type clippers are great as indeed they are for many other breeds.
The Mars "Rostfy" type particularly, a good reliable tool with a good sharp and lasting lower blade, which is curved to accommodate the nail. Nice size good action, comfortable to hold and use, Solingen stainless steel and German made - must be good!
With good opening jaws they are one of the easiest to use especially if it is a case of "three rounds and a submission" when you and your mutt get together for a session!
Millers are similar and Italian made, very slightly smaller in overall size but along the same concept. Stainless steel German blades. The curved cutting notch is small than the Mar style above. Volute Spring pliers:
Another type of nail clipper it is a bit like the old human toenail cutter. Still a popular tool and used by many. On some breeds with bigger nails one would worry about possible "crushing" of the nail, and therefore we do not list them for sale. Cat claw clippers:
Small compact, rather like little scissors but with a slight "crank" to the blades - just what you need for tiny paws! Nice to operate small enough to give you good vision whilst you pick your way through fur and tiny pads, but strong and effective for the task.
If you want to round off any jagged corners a good file is worth having
Lastly always have to hand a pot of wound powder (Trimmex* is good!) just in case you cut into your dog or cat's nail quick by accident - it can happen even to the most experienced - so be prepared just in case!
*See Wound Powers & Ointments
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