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I'm a bad mom - overgrown dog nails

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  • I'm a bad mom - overgrown dog nails

    I have a 7 yo male Shepherd/Husky mix and a 4 yo female Rottie/Cattle Dog mix, both about 75 lbs. I've always been so good about keeping their nails trimmed - once a month in the summers, maybe twice a month in the winter when we don't hike as much. Both are good for it (though I get my husband to help hold/distract them) and I'm very comfortable doing it.

    However, the last 3 months have been chaotic, and they've not been done since right before Halloween Needless to say, they're really long! Trimmed as much as I could today, but I'm wondering if anyone else has done this before and has a good program for getting them back under control. Can I trim once a week? Or would I be better off taking more off every other week?

    I've tried a Dremmel before and let's just say that did NOT go over well. Plus, I've heard that can be hazardous too if you get the nail too hot. I have a metal file and have read that you can use those almost daily, but would be afraid that would just shred the nail.

    Worst case I could take them to the vet and have them knocked and mega-trimmed, but I hate to do that if it is something I can get under control myself. Any suggestions?
    "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy. My reality is just different from yours."
    ~Lewis Carroll

  • #2
    Once a week is my standard nail trimming schedule. If I have something crazy going on (or just get OCD about it) I will dremmel up to DAILY.

    You will not hurt the dog by trimming weekly or filing as much as you'd like


    • #3
      Dremel really is your friend.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks for the info! Marshfield - I know Dremel is supposed to be MY friend, my dogs have another opinion entirely. To the point they run away and hide under beds when they see it. We've tried over and over during their lives using lots of patience and treats. Maybe I'm not doing it right. Any suggestions for acclimating them to it?

        Simke - thank you! I wasn't sure if trimming weekly would be counter productive or overkill. I know the quick shrinks the more you trim, but was not sure how fast. Do you think I could file (with the hand held) daily and still trim with the clippers weekly?
        Last edited by AllisonWunderlund; Jan. 8, 2013, 07:17 PM. Reason: clarification
        "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy. My reality is just different from yours."
        ~Lewis Carroll


        • #5
          Well, it all depends on how much you file off

          When I dremel daily, it's a super quick once over and there is NADA to cut off with the clippers if I maintain that.

          I've also been known to cut and *then* dremel, as the dremel does a far better job of taking back the wall of the nail. That's only done weekly.

          I posted pictures for GLR when we were talking about keeping nails short. Even though you're not dremeling, you might find it useful: www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?378072-Clicking-Toenails-click-clack-click-clack/page2

          As for getting them used to the dremel: get them used to lying down flat on their side for nails FIRST. Throw a leg over the neck if you need to, to help stabilize them. You face the tail of the dog, on the leg side. Then you can sit with the paw in your lap, which does a couple things: you can SEE what you're doing a hell of a lot better, and you also have a MUCH better grip on the dog. Once they're cool with that setup--it's the one trick all my dogs know, treats help!--then introduce the dremel on low, just to take the corners off of a normally trimmed nail. It will just be noise and a bit of vibration. Once they're cool THERE, you can go to just dremeling the whole nail, or you can stick with trimming it and then dremeling it.

          I find JUST dremeling a long nail that has enough to be cut a pain in the ass--too much dust. So I cut what I can and dremel the rest back. If I'm dremeling often enough that there's not enough to cut, then I only use the dremel (and because it's just not a lot of nail, there's not an excess of dust.)

          Err....that got quite long. Sorry!


          • Original Poster

            No apologies necessary Simkie - that is awesome advice! I'll try your method for dremeling (now is as good a time as any!! Since we'll be doing it often for a while).

            Thanks so much! Tuesdays are now Trimmin'-n-filin' days!
            "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy. My reality is just different from yours."
            ~Lewis Carroll


            • #7


              • #8
                If nails are really over grown, and totally black, how do you know how far to cut them? Can't dremel due to all the long hair. She is a Cocker x Aussie cross.


                • #9
                  Take a little bit off at a time, you can tell when you have reached the quick because the inside of the nail will look white with a black "gummy" looking circle.
                  these are white nails, so the quick is white gummy looking, but this is what you are looking for.


                  • #10
                    Thanks ElisLove, added to favorites, will print and have next to me when I trim!!


                    • #11
                      I clicker trained my dog to the Dremel. There was no way I was ever going to be able to clip his nails without a long struggle. He doesn't like the Dremel, but he will sit quietly and let me use it. I started slow with lots of goodies and one toe. He is smart and caught on very quick. I was doing all four by the next day.
                      I also put him on a grooming table. He knows it's where all that grooming stuff takes place and he will put up with it. If I don't put him on the table, I can end up chasing him all over the house with grooming spray.
                      You are what you dare.


                      • #12
                        Dremel every few days. You can put peanut butter on the back of your arm for them to lick while you do it. It distracts them.
                        Start with desensitizing them. Have them sit while you have dremel near. Treat. When they are calm, then have them sit while you turn dremel on. Treat. Repeat often throughout the day. Then have them give you a paw with dremel on. Treat. Repeat as often as possible throughout day. THen just touch a nail with it, treat. drop paw. Then ask for paw, touch nail, releas, treat. Repeat. Then touch 2 nails. Repeat. Eventually you should be able to touch a nail with it turned on. Do not leave against nail for more than a couple of seconds to avoid getting the nail hot.

                        Here is an excellent link for dremeling-(scroll down and look on left for link)


                        • #13
                          The link jetsmom posted is the BEST. I trained my lab mix to tolerate the dremel over my winter vacation, it took about 3 days of very patient training and then she was good with it and just lays on her side to get done. I did a little bit every day, and her nails were fine. think of it like training a horse to clip!
                          Me: In a long-winded explanation of who GM is and why he is Important to the Sport
                          Mr EmJ: So what you're saying is GM is so Important he could get Chik-Fil-A on Sunday?


                          • #14
                            I take the Corgis out to the sport court and throw a ball around for about 15 minutes. Something about the court surface just grinds down the nails.

                            You don't have a neighbor with a sport court, do you?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ElisLove View Post
                              Take a little bit off at a time, you can tell when you have reached the quick because the inside of the nail will look white with a black "gummy" looking circle.
                              these are white nails, so the quick is white gummy looking, but this is what you are looking for.
                              That's what I do...clip a tiny bit at a time and then look at the nail from the bottom, even on dark nails, you can see a bit of shadow where the quick is. As soon as I start to see a shadow of the quick, I stop for then. I have occasionally let my dogs' nails get too long, particularly when there is a lot of snow, so they aren't wearing their nails on the ground . When that happens, I'll trim every 3 days, just slivers at a time, so that the quick recedes gradually, until they get back to a short length.

                              I really prefer a good clipper to a Dremel and so do the dogs. I can't stand those "guillotine" style clippers, they are useless and rarely sharp enough. You can make short, painless, work of nail clipping with good, sharp, traditional, clippers. Keep a little jar of styptic powder around in case you mess up...I haven't yet, but it's reassuring to know I could stop the bleeding if I do make a mistake.


                              • #16
                                When I get behind on trimming I trim off as much as I'm comfortable with and then dremmel to smooth them out. My husband usually helps with holding them, but I can also do it by myself if I really need to. My cat on the other hand.....
                                Custom Painted Brushes: spcustombrushes@gmail.com


                                • #17
                                  I am happy that some folks had info on acclimatisation, we just start at a young age and it's just part of life.

                                  As for the long hair issue, one spaniel breeder I knew used old pantyhose. Little holes to poke the nail through and then the pantyhose kept the hair clear of the dremel.


                                  • #18
                                    Does anyone have a recommendation for a good non-dremel, non-guillotine clipper? I feel like I only ever see the guillotine-style when I look for one. I have a dremel, but my one dachshund is so terrified of anything related to nail clipping that he poops, and adding the dremel into the mix is just going to result in a probable literal shitstorm.
                                    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                    Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                                    • #19
                                      I have this style and I like it much better than the guillotine style:


                                      ETA: The dogs prefer this style as well!
                                      "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks again guys! I've been practicing more with the Dremel using some of the suggestions here. The female is doing better - actually got one foot done last night! The male is still not having anything to do with it. Big issue is that he is NOT food motivated. Could care less about treats. Might try jetsmom's suggestion about the peanut butter on the arm. He does like to lick!
                                        "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy. My reality is just different from yours."
                                        ~Lewis Carroll