Nail Trims

We do a lot of nail trims at work.  Some are sedated as about 98% of our surgery pets have a nail trim, but most are very awake!  In two of my morning appointments, we discussed nail trims extensively.  The owners wanted to learn how to trim the nails but were afraid.  I always say "that's a very good fear to have!"  If the owner is nervous, the dog will be nervous, and without practice, there may be good reason for being nervous!  I talk a lot about positioning and restraint with all owners wanting to learn how to do nail trims.  I always ask if the dog is more comfortable sitting/standing/laying down.  From my experience, most dogs do really well sitting for front feet and standing for rears.

That's how we did the Labrador Retriever this morning.  She readily gave me her front feet one at a time and I trimmed all the nails with no fuss.  We gave her a short break and my co-worker supported her midsection while I trimmed the rears.  No protesting, although she did pull her foot away and whine once.  I took that opportunity to tell the owner to "listen to her" because I'd gotten pretty close to the quick. 

The second one today we tried to do sitting for front feet but the dog was quite uncomfortable with that.  I asked the owner to let her lay down and rub her belly.  That worked like a charm!  Never once did she pull her foot away or whine, or try to get up.  She was in belly-rub-world!

When I first started working at the clinic, it seemed like I only did nails on a dog laying on it's side.  That is definitely easier for me to trim, but it isn't always easier for the dog.  We always want procedures to be as low stress as possible, but especially for something so simple as  nail trim.  Let the dog decide where is comfortable, take a reasonable amount of time, and take breaks when needed.  Everyone will be happier.

Don't underestimate the power of a belly rub either!

puppy Fritz


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

That's a good reminder. At work I do the poodles standing up as they all seem so used to it but haven't really tried with the other dogs.

My own dogs I flip upside down and straddle them between my legs. They're not a huge fan but tolerate it alright.

Kristen said...

I've done almost ALL nails with the dog sitting or standing, it sounds really difficult to do it any other way.

It's great you are wroking to have as low stress of nail trims as possible!

Megan said...

I flip my own dogs over for nail trims. I still think it's a ton easier for me to do it that way.

At work yesterday we smeared peanut butter on the counter and stuck a few biscuit pieces in it for a puppy who had a really bad nail trim experience previous. He was oblivious to the nail trim and it was so adorably hysterical. He came out with peanut butter on his whiskers and I could barely breathe when I handed him back to his owner. Seriously cute, and it worked really, really well.