The art of nail trimming!

Garima Singhal with Bruno Boo

Garima Singhal with Bruno Boo

Unless your dog runs around on hard surfaces which act like a natural nail file, or is a regular outdoor working dog, both of which help to keep the toenails short, it is very likely that you will need to trim your dog’s toenails. But, nail trimming is an art and you need to have the proper knowledge and right tools.

 

As a pet parent, we often face the problem of overgrown toenails of our pets. Sometimes, we even get scratched with them. Overgrown toenails not only rub against your tile floors and snag your upholstery, but they are incredibly painful for the animal.

 

Nail trimming is essential to avoid serious health consequences
untitled-12When the dog’s toenail makes contact with hard ground, the hard surface pushes the nail back into the nail bed. This either puts pressure on all the toe joints, or pushes the toe to the side. The toe becomes progressively arthritic and even the slightest touch is painful for your dog.The other, even more serious consequence, of having long toenails is that animals rely on the input from the nerves in their feet to move through the world and feel gravity accurately. The only time the toenail touched the ground was while climbing a hill. A dog’s brain is evolutionarily hardwired to associate toenail contact as being on a hill, and he shifts his body posture accordingly, to maintain center of gravity. Since this is an imaginary hill, the secondary compensation with the hind limbs is essential to avoid falling flat on the face.

 

Anatomy of a nail (claw)
A dog’s nail is made of the nail itself, and the QUICK, the pink (when it is visible in light colored nails) part of your dog’s toenails that provide the blood supply to the nail. On a black claw, the interface between the nail and QUICK is usually chalky and white, very easy to make out. On an uncut nail, the tip of the QUICK will appear like a notch. It is safe to initiate your cut a little before the notch towards the end of the nail. In the figure below, on the right is a cross section of the inside of a nail. The QUICK will appear translucent and glossy, like flesh. Cutting the QUICK will cause excruciating pain to the dog and cause a lot of bleeding. Styptic powder will help stem the bleeding, so make sure you have that on hand. Also, the dog will remember QUICKING for a long time afterwards, and will be reluctant to get a nail trim. So make sure that if this unfortunate incident occurs, distract the dog immediately by treating them with something yummy. This has to be something that the dog absolutely adores, like cheese or wet chicken liver.

 

Frequency of trimming
For an inactive animal, this trimming can be anywhere from once a week to once a month activity. Nail trimming and grooming are activities that are usually feared by dogs. Sometimes, due to the dog’s reaction in the past, even the pet parent start to fear this regimen, and yet it need not be a stressful activity for either.

 

How to prevent and avoid stressful nail clipping
The best thing to do is to get your veterinarian or groomer to clip the toenails for you. They understand the anatomy and physiology of the nail; they have been trained in this process and can maintain a calm demeanor during the activity. The dog is going to take cues off their calm visage and the whole process will be much simpler. The second best thing is to get your veterinarian or groomer to train you in the process. Once you know how to do this expertly, you can go about being calm and assertive, and keeping the anxiety off your dog.

 

untitled-13Keeping a dog calm during handling
The best way to calm your dog’s fears is to train them from a young age to be comfortable with the process. Dogs that go for walks often and are active often do not need to get their nails trimmed. Some breeds however such as Basset Hounds and Dachshunds might need your help in keeping the toenails reasonably short. Once in a while, you might make a mistake and cause a painful cut, and it is important to have clotting powder (styptic  powder) and an antiseptic powder handy to stem the bleeding.

 

Choosing the right tools
untitled-14Make sure that you have a clipper that is appropriate for the size and breed of dog you have. There are many types in the market that are used by veterinarians and groomers. They should be concave at the cutting edge or the nail will be crushed (avoid the guillotine type clippers as they crush the nail). Smaller, scissor type clippers give better control. Only if you have a giant breed dog, do you need a larger sized clipper. Blunt or poor quality trimmers can split the nail and cause bleeding. If your dog gets enough exercise that they are able to wear their nails down so that the nails aren’t long enough to warrant a trim, perhaps a filing, grinding, burring or dremeling is a more appropriate course of action to take. Nail files, orange sticks and pumice stones are handy tools to take off the tips of the nails. Finish off your trim and take off the sharp and jagged edges with one of these. File only the insensitive nail around the quick. Dremeling or burring is the safest alternative as the process is slow and gradual (as opposed to the sharp trim), and there is a lot more control. However, some animals don’t take too well to the sound and vibration of the dremel, so it is very important to desensitize them to it, and most importantly, to understand your animal’s psyche and requirements.
(Garima Singhal is KCAI accredited Canine behaviorist, neurobiologist, school teacher long term Dobie mommy.)

 

Tips to clip your dog’s nails

  • Make sure you have plenty of yummy treats handy.
  • Have styptic powder, Neosporin powder and your tools at hand.
  • Make the experience positive by treating and cajoling your dog and using a lot of reward and praise for calmness.
  • Stay calm yourself, because if you are anxious, your dog will soak up that anxiety too.
  • Start with one nail, and come back later if your pet is nervous.
  • One trick is to hold the trimmer flat against the toe pad, and cut straight across the nail. This will ensure that the nail sits just above the ground. This means that you still have some more nail to go before you QUICK the dog, and it will also ensure that there is no injury.
  • Keep the clipper blades almost parallel to the nail, never cut across the finger.
  • Use a vertical cut. A horizontal clip will split the nail.
  • Don’t squeeze the toes. That hurts. Use your fingers to separate the toes and hold the paw gently.
  • Use a pair of blunt scissors to remove the excess hair between the toes.
  • To get a shorter cut, as demonstrated in the second image above, cut along the first line from the right, at a 45o angle, AFTER visualizing the quick.
  • If you do happen to quick your dog, give them a yummy treat right away and that will effectively distract them from the pain and keep it off their mind for the next time too.

Do i need to shave my dog?

Garima Singhal with Bruno Boo

Garima Singhal with Bruno Boo

Living in the tropics and the global warming induced rising temperatures mean that we need to make our pets as comfortable as possible in this blazing heat. The first thing that immediately comes to mind is to shave them to decrease heating. But is that the absolute right thing to do for our pets?

 

 

 

Unfortunately, I see a lot of shaved pets in the summer. But shaving an animal to keep them cool is not a good idea.
Fur for insulation…
An animal’s fur serves as insulation, protecting them against both heat and cold. Shaving off their fur actually interferes with their ability to regulate their body temperatures. According to Dr Louise Murray, VP of the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (ASPCA), coat of a dog or a cat serves similarly like the insulation of our house, which prevents us from extreme heat or cold.

 

Health issues…
Shaving also makes your animal more susceptible to sunburn, skin cancer and parasites such as fleas and ticks. This is particularly serious in those with white or light-coloured coats, as they can get burned even with their fur unshaven. To protect your animals from sunburn, limit outdoor time to mornings and evenings, and apply a pet specific sunscreen to their noses, ears and bellies, the areas with the least fur on them.

 

What’s recommended?
dogDr Ajitesh Kumar, consultant, Cessna Lifeline, Bengaluru, says, “Only a summer cut is recommended for dogs and cats. Cutting or shaving off any more hair and one risks losing the natural insulation provided by the fur.” Ashita Mathew, founder, Wags and Wiggles Pet Salon & Spa at Bengaluru concurs, “Shaving a dog to beat the heat is a definite ‘No’. One can trim the dog to an inch length, but that’s it. They need their fur to regulate their body temperatures. The fur acts like a coolant by trapping air and maintains even temperature all over.” Dogs do best with their natural coats, as long as the pet parents are responsible with upkeep and grooming and the coat is maintained in a good condition.” Ashita further says, “When shaven, the body of a pet heats up faster as it is directly exposed to the sun. The best way to keep the dog cooler in the hot weather is to make sure the dog’s coat is clean and free from dust, dirt, dander and mats. This will maintain an even air flow and keep the animal uniformly cool.” A well-maintained coat that is not matted is much more effective in protecting from heat. Your pet should be brushed regularly to make sure that the loose hair from the undercoat doesn’t get trapped under the outer coat. This is the cause for matting and can cause serious heating up of the animal.

 

 

Care for double-coated breeds…

Double-coated breeds of dogs have an undercoat and a topcoat. The undercoat is short and rough, and the topcoat varies from short to long to bushy, depending on the breed. The long coat is an excellent insulator as it traps air and helps a dog stay cooler. Ashita adds that shaving a double-coated dog like St Bernard or Golden Retriever also hampers with the hair regrowth. The top coat, which has the properties to repel water and to maintain temperature will never grow back after a shave. Only the fuzzy undercoat will grow back, which makes the coat even more difficult to manage, becomes extremely rough, and causes overheating of the animal as it does not trap air as efficiently.

 

Exceptions…
Sometimes, under veterinary guidance, exceptions can be made to this rule. For example, dogs with acral lick dermatitis, or hot spots might be shaved locally by your veterinarian, to make cleaning and maintenance of the wound easier. Also, dogs who have long hair on the rear end might need a trim perianally to keep the private parts clean.

 

If cut is unavoidable…
Get a cut only and only if you are a responsible pet parent and your dog is an indoor only dog. This means that you control their exposure to the heat outside and are on hand to take them inside in the slightest case of over exposure. If however, your dog is an outdoor, or predominantly outdoor dog, where he or she is left alone in a front yard, terrace, porch, etc., not only is this practice inhumane and negligent from the emotional point of view of your dog, it will also cause your dog serious harm in the hot and cold months.

 

On a concluding note…
During summer, make sure the dog has shade, a fan, plenty of supply of fresh, cool drinking water and cooling pool in which to wade into. Keeping them untrimmed and unshaven, but regularly brushed and bathed and mat free is an absolute must for the health of such an animal.
(Garima Singhal is KCAI accredited canine behaviourist, neurobiologist, school teacher and a long-term pet parent).

Rise and Shine… It’s Sunday morning

A loved pet is a happy pet. Kids today get so busy with exams, test and activity classes that they hardly get any time to just relax. So, let’s get together with our pets on a SUNDAY to make it a FUNDAY.

 

Sunday morning has a special meaning in everyone’s lives from the young to the old. Glossy paper supplements, waking up late, late breakfast, no rush hour mornings, basically just lolling around…kids watch their Sunday morning cartoons on TV, parents wanting the kids to clean up cupboards and the list is endless. In the middle of all this, your pet doesn’t quite get this. Why is it that his walks are half an hour later than usual, why is nobody rushing around, and why isn’t he served his hurried morning meal. He sees everyone around, but then why is nobody playing with him. Let’s look at making it special for the one loving four-legged in our lives.

A bit of grooming, brushing, bathing and loads of play make your pooch a Happy Pooch!! Read on to find out ways to spend your Sunday morning while your kids and pets are at play.
All these activities not only help your kids bond with your pet but also teach them responsible pet parenting. So get down to work and see your kids enjoy their Sundays with your pet.

 

Making grooming fun: It may come to you as a surprise, but grooming forms your pet’s physiologicalUntitled-11 and psychological health. A dog’s physical state does, to a certain extent, affects the way he feels and acts. Grooming as an activity also helps build an affectionate bond with the pet parents. Long coat or short coat, dogs need to be groomed regularly. A rub here, a rub there, a tickle here always goes a long way. Brushing, scratching, moving your hands over his body are just few ways you can groom. Grooming also helps in identifying any rough patches, ticks, any lumps or bumps or scratches that might have gone unnoticed.

 

Shower time: Get your hose pipes, shampoos and loofahs out or just take your pet to the washroom.Untitled-12 Make sure you close the door behind you or else you are going to have a wet dog running around. Get your pooch wet and shampoo all the way down to his tail and paws. Don’t wet his face as water might enter his ears. After shampooing, wipe his face, nose, mouth areas with a wet sponge or cloth. Wipe his ears gently as they can be very sensitive. Wash out the shampoo and you have a squeaky clean pet all waiting to be groomed. Wait till he shrugs off all the water before you start wiping him. This activity will surely fire up the energies and what a way to beat the rising heat.

 

Post-bathing fun: After a shower, towel dry your pet. If you have a long coated pet, you can use the Untitled-13hair dryer on low heat to get a nice fluffy looking coat. Be sure not to use the dryer near his head region. Take a suitable brush and start brushing him section by section- tail, back, legs, mane and finally the head.  If he is not ready to sit quietly while you groom him, give his favourite chewstick. With this, he will be busy with his chewstick leaving you to groom him peacefully. Wipe the ears with a clean cotton cloth from the inside as well as outside. You might need your parent’s help to do this.  End the session with a good tummy rub and his favourite treat.

 

Brush the pearls:  Nobody wants to be near a stinky pet. Unfortunately, teeth brushing for dogs is notUntitled-14 taken so seriously. But it is as necessary as bathing and grooming. Your pet can also has plaque and tartar problems. Surprised? But, 80 percent of dogs show dental problems by the age of four. So begin early and get your pet to also enjoy the session. Pick up a doggy toothbrush, some doggy toothpaste from your local pet store. Now sit with a glassful of water and get down to some teeth brushing. It might help if you do this when your pet is a bit tired, say, after a session of play as he will be more willing to sit in one place and allow you to do whatever you want to. Make sure you don’t use human toothpaste, as it is not good for them.  Again, TREAT loads after the session, so your pooch looks forward to more such brushing sessions.

(Shalaka Mundada runs PetSitters, a premium dog boarding facility in Pune.)

Regular grooming essentials

Picture perfect dog is not a dream…regular grooming can make your pooch smart, good-looking and pleasure to be around. Here are the needs and essentials of regular grooming.

 

All breeds of dog needs regular grooming. It makes the coat clean, shining and sweet smelling. Grooming stimulates the flow of oil in the skin. It also stimulates the sebaceous gland and blood circulation, due to which dog feels warm and comfortable. Start the grooming at early age. As dog becomes accustomed to grooming, he enjoys it and loves this daily attention.
Regular grooming removes hidden dirt, dust and dead hair, and apart from this, it provides opportunity to look for fleas, lice and other ectoparasites which are attached to the dog’s skin

 

Breed-specific grooming needs…Untitled-16

Grooming should be done with dog brush or metal comb or hand glove. Generally use double-sided brush having one side hard and one side soft nylon tufts.
Long-coated dogs such as Lhasa Apso, English Sheep Dog and Afghan Hound need more frequent grooming from puppy age. Initially use a little stiff bristled brush, but after few months, you can start using a wide toothed comb. If there is mats and tangles in the coat, the comb will cause severe pulling and discomfort to dog. If matting does occurs, it may just be possible to tease the hairs apart. In bad cases, the hair will have to be cut off and allowed to regrow.

 

Ear care…Untitled-17
While grooming, ears should be examined every time. Ear should be cleaned regularly. Excess hair inside the ear should be clipped every month. If your dog is constantly scratching his ear or shaking his head or if there’s any foul smelling discharge, pus or swelling in the ear, consult your vet immediately. Never forcefully clean the ear as it may rupture the ear drum. Consult your vet or groomer.

 

Eyes are windows to healthUntitled-18
The eyes of healthy dogs are clean and bright. Daily examination of eyes is necessary. If there is discharge or mucus from the eyes, it should be gently cleaned with cotton wool soaked in water. If the eyes are sore and inflamed or if there is profuse watery discharge, weeping or heavy lidded eyes, it may show signs of infection. Consult the vet immediately.

 
 

Know the noseUntitled-15
The nose of healthy dog is moist, clean and free of mucus. Dry nose is a sign of fever. If there is watery discharge or mucopurulant discharge from nose, it indicates infection of respiratory tract or viral infection.

 

Tooth troubles…
To avoid any dental problem, it is advisable to clean the dog’s teeth periodically. A puppy is born without teeth but by three to eight weeks, he will have temporary Untitled-1928 teeth (milk teeth). At the age of 4 to 6 months, the milk teeth will be replaced by a permanent set of 42 teeth. Puppies should be handled/trained to become accustomed to have their mouth open for cleaning. Use dog tooth paste and tooth brush to brush his teeth.

 

The food debris accumulates between the teeth and in between tooth and gum margin. It causes discolouration of teeth and decay of tooth develops. The debris hardens and bacterial infection occurs, causing inflamed and red gums. The bacteria enter the root of the tooth, causing painful abscess and loosening of the tooth. First symptoms include bad breath, dribbling of saliva and difficulty in eating. First the damaged teeth should be removed.

Tartar deposits may be scrapped by dental scaler with the help of veterinarian. Anaesthesia is must.
In some dogs, the carnassial teeth cause a problem. This tooth is situated on the either side of the upper jaw having triple roots. Infection may cause swelling in the cheek, beneath the eyes. If the tooth is not removed, it will be inflamed.
For prevention of tartar, give your pooch chewing bones or dog chew, which not only cleans the teeth, but also makes the jaw powerful.

 

Nails cuttingUntitled-20
Trim the nails of dogs every two months. If not cut, the nails may grow long and make walking uncomfortable and sometimes nails of dewclaws cause abscess. The nails of forelimb (front legs) must be cut more frequently than the hind legs. Don’t forget to cut the dew claws (fifth nails). Cut only the white portion of nail. You can also take the help of your vet or a groomer.

 

Bathing needs… Untitled-21
Bathing of dog is required to keep the skin and coat clean. Frequency of bathing should be determined on the basis of breed and his exposure to the outer environment and season. Too frequent bathing should be avoided because it removes the beneficial oil from dog’s coat, leading to dull coat. Also, do not bath the pups below three months of age.
Before bathing, both the ears of dog must be plugged with absorbent cotton. Only use dog shampoo. If the dog is infested with ectoparasites, use dog tick shampoo or pH balance shampoo. Consult your vet.
The temperature of bathing water should be according to the environmental temperature. Apply the shampoo to the wet dog coat, lather it properly so that it penetrates into the skin where the real dust and ectoparasite is. Keep it for few minutes and then thoroughly rinse with ample clean water and wipe dry with clean towel. Once the hair is dry, comb it with a brush. Don’t allow your dog to roll on the ground after bathing.

Now, your pooch is ready to be a showstopper all the time!

 

(Dr Hemant Jain, MVSc (Surgery), FISAP, is a veterinary surgeon. He is dog, cat & bird practitioner based in Nagpur).

5 Must’ve Grooming Tools

5 Grooming Must Have Tools consist of Large Double Sided Brush, Curved Nail Clipper, Slicker Brush XL, Undercoat Rake & a Detangling Comb. Here’s how to use these tools:

 

1. Brush & detangle with Large Double Sided Brush Untitled-35
Designed to remove light tangles, this brush smoothens the coat and moves oils from the skin down to the hair shaft. Safe for everyday use, this brush is recommended for short, medium and long coats.
Directions to use: Brush with the grain, starting near the skin and brushing out. Begin with the pin side of the brush; finish with the bristle side.  Avoid putting too much pressure on dog’s skin.  Brushing often keeps the coat manageable and mat free.

 

2. Make nail clipping easy
with Curved Nail Clipper
Designed to trim nails effectively, this Nail Clipper with stainless steel blades also features a safety lock. The Soft Grip Handle gives additional comfort while clipping the nails and this is recommended for both large and small breeds.Untitled-36
Directions to use: Stand next to the dog and curl the paw under so you can see the pads of the foot. Firmly grasp the paw and locate the end of ‘the quick’ by finding where the dark pigment ends and the lighter creamy colour begins. Trim a small amount of the nail at a time, avoid cutting off the tip of ‘the quick’.

 

3. Brush, deshed, detangle with Slicker Brush XL
Designed to untangle mats and remove loose hair, this brush also aids in removing tangles keeping the coat manageable.  Recommended for medium and long coats, this brush comes with a soft grip handle providing extra comfort when brushing.
Directions to use: Start at the rear of the dog and work your way to the head. Brush with the grain, starting near the skin and brushing out. Avoid putting too much pressure on dog’s skin. Brushing often keeps the coat manageable and
mat free.

 

4. Deshed and detangle with Undercoat Rake Untitled-37
Designed to untangle mats and remove loose undercoat hair, this tool promotes a healthy and lustrous coat. It is recommended for medium and long double coated pets.
Directions to use: Gently pull rake through pet’s coat, working from skin outwards. Regular use will promote a healthy and lustrous coat.

 

Untitled-385. Deshed and detangle with Detangling Comb
A must have tool at home, the detangling comb untangles light mats and is recommended for medium and long double coated pets. It removes loose under coats and promotes a healthy & lustrous coat.
Directions to use: Before using, thoroughly brush your pet’s coat. Comb with the grain, starting near the skin and combing out. Work slowly and gently to separate hair.  Avoid putting too much pressure on dog’s skin.

 

(Now in its 96th year, WAHL Clipper Corporation is an international industry leader in the manufacturing of products for the professional beauty and barber salon trade, consumer personal care and animal grooming.  For more information about WAHL,visit: www.wahlglobal.com)

Pet Grooming is Fun

27

Smell Nice!

All dogs occasionally develop a stench, but some dogs have  chronic odour problem. Let’s see how to manage dog odour.

 

Before you decide how to deal with your pet’s odour, determine where it is coming from. Did your dog roll on something foul or play extra hard outdoors? Has he smelled bad for a while or is he emitting a different odour than usual? Dogs with certain skin types and activity levels can emit more consistently pungent odour. Taking the time to learn a little about your dog’s coat type and determining if he has sensitive or oily skin can go a long way toward managing more frequent stinks. It will also help you determine when a bad odour is something to worry about or if it is simply time for a bath.

 


Odour management

To eliminate or manage day-to-day odours, it’s wise to use gentle, all-natural products made just for dogs. Never attempt to spray dogs with Febreze or human perfumes that can be abrasive to their skin or even toxic. All-natural odour eliminators and doggie deodorants are gentle enough to use on even the most sensitive of dog skin – skin that’s usually more likely to retain odours.
Spraying your dog’s coat with a doggie deodorant when you’re brushing him is an easy way to manage odours without changing your grooming routine. Doggie deodorant can refresh your dog’s skin and coat and help him smell better immediately. After particularly smell-inducing incidents, neutralising the odour is an effective way to stop the stink. Odour neutralisers remove odours by eliminating the scent. Sometimes, adding sweet potatoes into your dog’s regular diet can help improve the way he smells.

 

Odour reduction
If you detect a new or different odour or if odour management isn’t controlling the problem, a bath is the best place to start. If your dog has oily or sensitive skin, or if you find yourself bathing your dog frequently, a gentle oatmeal shampoo will keep his skin from getting irritated or overly dry. Bathe your dog carefully with gentle shampoo while checking his skin and coat for any irregularities. Don’t forget to check his ears and clean them gently. Strange scents can be caused by dirty ears or even ear infections.
Make sure to dry the coat as soon as possible to prevent it from developing a musty odour. You can also turn to some common household fresheners to air out your dog’s coat. Sprinkling baby powder on the coat helps absorb excess oils in the fur and skin. Rubbing baking soda throughout the coat after a bath, before brushing, will also help soak up odour and oil.

 

Get professional help
If your dog has persistent odour problems that just won’t go away and are resistant to bathing, it’s not a bad idea to visit the vet. You might be dealing with a chronic skin condition or an underlying medical problem that even good grooming can’t solve.

(Contributed by WAHL India Grooming Products Pvt Ltd, Mumbai).

Get, Set, Groom at home!

Grooming is an art and science of keeping your pet healthy. It is a visible expression of your love for your pet. Grooming routines started at a young age will help you a lot in bonding with your pet. Let’s see how.

 

  • Start grooming your pet as early as possible.

    Chitkala Arun

    Chitkala Arun

  • Practice grooming in small sessions at home.
  • Place the puppy on a table, hold him still and comb gently.
  • Brushing your dog’s coat everyday keeps the coat shiny and dust free
  • Ear cleaning has to be practiced early safely and not to probe inside.
  • Dogs do not need frequent baths. Once in 2-4 weeks bathing is sufficient.
  • Always use dog shampoos only for bathing them. These are pH tuned for pets’ skin.
  • Walking the dogs on rough surface will help the nails to wear out. If needed, they have to be clipped.
  • During grooming, teach your puppy good manners through positive reinforcement.
  • Train the puppy to trust you and not to bite during these sessions.
  • Alternatively, you may take your puppy to a professional groomer. Again, start this early. Introduce him to the spa environment like going to a pleasant trip and give him positive inputs like “You will enjoy the spa”, “My boy will look great”, etc.
  • Avoid telling him “I am sorry baby, you have to get this done” in a sad tone.
  • Believe in your groomer. She will definitely be a pet lover who will treat your dog as her own.
  • Follow the groomer’s instructions about maintenance of your pet’s health.

(Chitkala Arun runs PETZPAW pet spa in Mysore. She had her grooming training from International Grooming Academy, Singapore and Veterinary Assistant training from Worldwide Veterinary Services International Training Centre, Ooty).

Happy feet Because it’s PAWsome!

Paw care is important, here’s how to ensure happy feet.

 

Common paw problems
It is advisable to check your dog’s paws at regular intervals. The most common paw problems are dry or cracked pads, cuts, itching, swelling, redness, pain, sores or blisters. Moreover, overgrown nails also cause problem.
Season-specific: Different seasons affect the paws in different ways; while winters can be harsh on dog paws making them dry and cracked, during summers walking on hot pavement can cause burnt paws and in rainy season wet and muddy paws lead to various allergies and fungal or bacterial infections. Dogs need special care and attention throughout the year to protect their feet from extreme temperature conditions.

 

Healing cracked paws
A cracked or dry paw is the most common problem during winters. Keeping the paw pads well moisturised is the key solution to this problem. There are special paw creams and balms available at leading pet stores. Application of Vaseline or coconut oil can also help soothe and soften the dry skin.27

 

Pawdicure
While many pet spas have the facility of pawdicure which takes care of cleaning and taking extra care of the paws, it can also be done at home on regular basis. Check between the paws for dirt, ticks or any other debris and wipe it gently with damp cloth or cotton. Hair under the paws should also be trimmed regularly; not only it makes the feet look tidy but also provides the dog good grip while walking.
Even after regular cleaning and moisturising in case the cracks reopen, then extra moisturising is required. After gently cleaning the paws and drying it completely, apply the moisturiser or the ointment suggested by the vet. Ensure the dog doesn’t lick it.

 

Other paw problems…
Dogs chew or bite their paws due to various reasons like boredom, anxiety or any sort of injury. Constant licking, biting or chewing can also lead to redness at a particular area which can further become sore. Any sort of bacterial infection could also be one of the reasons. During winters when the paws become dry, dogs continuously lick them to keep them wet.
Common paw injuries are burns, cuts or wounds and the symptoms are bleeding, swelling, limping or licking in that particular area. Find out the first aid from your vet and rush him for medical care. Pad injuries are very common during summer season. The pads may get burnt due to walking on hot pavement. Take him for a walk only in the cooler part of the day.
In a nutshell, pawdicure should form a very important part of our beloved pet’s regular grooming and should not be neglected at all.

(Poorvi Anthony runs JUST DOGS pet shop cum spa in Ahmedabad).

Making Toenail Trimming Easy!

When you hear the clicking of your dog’s nails along the hard floor of your house, you know it is time to trim his toenails. Your dog may hate his nails being trimmed, but it is important that you do it and take care of him. Nails, if left to grow too long, can start to curl under and cause problems for little paws.

 

Finding the right toenail trimmer

Avoid using human nail clippers on a dog’s nails. They compress the nail flat, which causes pain and leaves the dog with a poorly angled cut. Instead, look for one of these options, which are ideal for tiny toenails.

  • Guillotine style: This style is recommended for smaller dogs because the design makes it easy to insert the nail. Essentially, the nail is passed through a metal hoop at the end of the trimmer. As the handles close, a metal trimmer slides across the metal loop and trims the nail. Some people find this squeeze-type closure easier to use than scissor-type handles. If you use this type of trimmer, make sure you change the blades frequently.
  • Millers Forge trimmers: These trimmers look similar to scissors with blades that have semi-circular indentations. When the blades are opened, the semicircles make a circular opening into which the nail is placed. With the nail in position, the handles are closed and the nail is trimmed. Millers Forge trimmers are stronger than the guillotine style and they do not have blades that need to be replaced. However, the handles are far apart and can be difficult to operate for people with small hands.

Toenail trimming tips

Here are a few ways to make the process as painless as possible for you and your dog:

  • Start young. The earlier you start clipping your dog’s nails, the more used to it he’ll be.
  • Watch a professional first. If you’ve never cut a dog’s toenails before, get a lesson from your vet, vet’s assistant or a professional groomer.
  • Avoid cutting the nails too short. You never want to cut into ‘The Quick’ (the pink nail bed area seen in colourless nails). Cutting this area causes pain and bleeding.
  • Clip toenails when your dog is tired. After a workout or vigorous play session is a good time to clip his nails. Try to avoid clipping when he’s most energetic, such as in the morning.
  • Try different positions. Some dogs are comfortable lying on their sides, while others feel less vulnerable sitting up or even standing. You can even try cutting your small dog’s toes on a tabletop or with his back towards you in your lap.
  • If your dog has hairy feet, pull the hair aside or trim it away from the nails. This will make it much easier to see what you’re doing. If your dog is squirmy, you might need the help of a handler.

Your dog may hate his nails being trimmed or you touching his paw. So, try making it fun and not a struggle. If your pet is not used to having his nails trimmed, start slowly and work up to it gradually. In time, your dog may grow to enjoy his pedicures.