To be honest, most of us dog-owners have this idea that grooming our dog only means bathing and combing their hair. However, you have to acknowledge the fact that grinding the nails of your dog is as equally important. An excessively long nail can hurt your dog, making it uncomfortable to walk or run and can easily end in an open wound (possibly infected). Taking care of your pet nails comes with a lot of advantages, some of which will be discussed in this article. As opposed to clipping, grinding your dog’s nail provides a more comfortable and secure experience for you and your dog.
In this article, we will talk about the importance of nail grinding, important features to consider when choosing a nail grinder for your pet and the basics of anatomy of the nail of a dog. That’s not all, we have also included a step-by-step guide on how to grind. Just in case you need some clarification, we have also answered some of the questions that might pop-up your mind after reading this article. So, sit back and enjoy reading how you are going to make your dog’s life easier!
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Why is Nail Grinding Important?
When dogs spend a lot of time outdoors playing on various hard surfaces, like concrete and blacktop, their nails are slowly worn down, and they have less need for formal nail-grooming sessions. But today, with many suburban and commercial dogs mostly kept indoors while their owners are at work, and often playing on soft surfaces and lawns while outdoors, this welcome tension is absent in their everyday lives.
Long nails can cause pain and stress to your dog if not taken care of. They are more likely to break off which in most cases, can be painful and create open wounds. Long nails can change the way your dog stands, creating muscular problems. It can raise your dog’s risk of slipping or falling and hurting herself. For some who doesn’t like scratches, long nails can mark hardwood floors making them look unattractive. They may also cause injury or pain when your dog jumps on you or paws you for attention. Long nails can also lead to permanent joint damage and pain.
Nail grinding ensures the prevention of all these issues:
Nail grinding provides smooth and rounded nails, avoiding all the previous problems.
It is suitable for pets that suffer from clipper anxiety and can be seen by them as a game
It is good for large and thick nails that are hard to clip as you can work on the nail slowly
Nail grinding does not cause pain, and it’s more secure that clipping because you can control how much of the nail to remove.
Important features to consider in a nail grinder
Most dogs get frightened and frustrated when their owners attempt to cut their nails. The reason is not far-fetched. Just one: if you cut the nail of your pet to the quick, this unpleasant and bleeding encounter is enough for them to begin hating the act of nail trimming. Choosing the best dog nail grinder can help you groom your pet a lot better while ensuring it doesn’t get hurt in the process.
You need to choose the right grinder, depending on the size of your dog and your style. If not, it would either take a lifetime to pedicure the four paws of your cat, or break the gentle nails. It is important to note that a large dog nail grinder shouldn’t be applied to little puppies, and vice versa. So, let’s find out some of the peculiarities of a good grinder for your dog.
Note that dogs’ nails are normally hard, therefore, it takes a lot of strength and energy to grind down a single nail. And a good tool is made for doing the job without causing any pain or discomfort to your pet. The first thing to look at, then, is the power of the grinder. The simplest and most economical alternative is usually a grinder with a built-in battery. You should not think about purchasing new batteries. The grinder is simply plugged into a wall outlet or USB port.
Most grinders have a charge time of less than an hour. You don’t have to think too much about long charging times, as normally a few hours of nail grinding is enough.
It is important to have the function of different speed levels. Not all dogs are oblivious to the noise made by a nail grinder, some can start wiggling and jumping, injuring themselves with the grinder. You will make the process less painful for both you and your dog by choosing the most acceptable pace level that doesn’t scare your pet off. There are people who are home to more than one cat. If they are of different breeds, different speeds will be required by the owners to grind every single pet. Taking the feature into consideration, variable settings allow you to easily switch speeds as you trim without having to loosen your grip on the dog.
Both the dog and its owner need to feel relaxed during the grooming process. So, choose the model with an ergonomically friendly handle when you buy one to ensure it matches perfectly with your hand shape. After all, you may have to use it up an hour or more in one process.
The grind forms the grinders most critical component. Most grinders use a diamond-hard drum. It is heavy enough to easily wear the nails down.
Many grinders use a sanding band operated by sandpaper. Sanding-band are the least common type. They need a little more care, as you’ll need to clean the sandpaper from time to time. The instrument has to be made of high-quality plastic. They need to be sufficiently resilient to withstand an occasional drop on the floor – particularly if your dog likes wiggling.
Anatomy of the nail of a dog
A good insight in the anatomy of the nail is one of the secrets of a professional nail care, that will not cause your dog to run away in fear. Understanding just how and where to cut or how much to grind helps ensure you don’t “quick” your dog, a traumatic event that usually leads to lots of blood and crying on your dog’s part and nail-biting fear on your part that you’ve inadvertently injured your dog. Neither of you wants to feel it again when that happens. At the end of each toe above the pad, the dog has a toenail, facing upwards, four nails on each foot.
Canine toenails, just like your own nails, are made from a protein called keratin. The nails of a dog are oval; at the toe, they are wider and smaller as they grow out.
The quick, highly sensitive bundle of nerves and blood vessels is present inside each nail. You must pay 100% attention to this part. When cut, it bleeds and hurts your dog. When the nails are transparent, the quick appears pink and the nail that develops past the quick is white. If the nails are dark then the quick is not as obvious. Past the quick, the toenails don’t have any nerves and they will in general be less delicate. When dealing with your dog’s paws, solid nails shouldn’t be difficult. On the off chance that you have a pup, begin dealing with his paws and nails consistently while offering him some exceptional treats. Treats help him to relate the experience as a wonderful one. It doesn’t need to be something that makes dread.
Some dogs have another toe on both front legs, both back legs or all four legswith a nail inside. Such toes are found at what we might call the hand, or the foot, on the hind legs.
These toes and nails, which are called dewclaws, are similar to a thumb. Dewclaws which are closely connected appear to be reliable. Sometimes dogs with these dewclaws will use them as a thumb; as an aid to holding toys or chews. Many dewclaws are loosely connected, and may not function.
How to grind your dog’s nails
It takes lots of time and patience to teach your dog a new behavior. Nail grinding can be particularly difficult, because it can lead to strange noises and makes the dog hard to stay still. Below are the steps that will help guide you and your dog to become masters in nail care. Please note: these steps could take place in a short (several minutes) or long (several days) time period depending on the individual dog. Try not to push your dog too far beyond her comfort level; it’s better to take longer than you think you need, than to do too much at once and risk causing unnecessary fear to your dog.
To start with, you are going to need to put in place, special delicious treats. Not dog food this time around, I mean delicious human food! This is because you are trying to please your dog as much as possible in order to carry out a successful grinding process.
Start by handling her paw:
Put your thumb over one toe, and your index finger under the toe behind the pad, taking her paw in your hand. Pushing down with your thumb slightly extended the nail on the toe out enough for us to see. Start this procedure when she is sleeping, then when she is tired and lying down but not sleeping, and now you can do it while she is awake! While doing this to every toe, make sure she is busy with those treats, making sure she loves the moment.
Introduce the grinders
The next thing is for you to introduce the nail grinder to her. This is done by letting her sniff and show interest in them. Once, this is successfully achieved, reward her with more treats.
Turn on the tool and adjust its speed/noise
This is the most sensitive part. You don’t want to scare her so you have to be quite sensitive. Hold her paw and the tool at the same time then begin touching the tool to her nail without it turned on, then turn it on and watch her reaction.
Start the grinding process
After she is comfortable with step 3 above, you can proceed to trim her nails. This involves grinding the nail tip, making sure to go slowly and taking breaks at intervals. Note;
Only grind a small part of your dog’s nail at a time. Support the dog’s toe firmly but gently.
Grind across the bottom of the nail and then carefully in from the tip of the nail, smoothing rough edges.
For better control, hold the grinder higher up, towards the top.
Keep your dog comfortable and take note of any sensitivities.
If your dog has long hair, make sure to keep it back from the grinding tool so it doesn’t get caught.
FAQ about nail grinding
Should I buy a dog nail grinder?
With everything we’ve talked about, it is importance for you to buy a nail grinder. This is the safest way to care for your dog’s nails. And the sooner you get it, the better as it would be easier for your dog to get accustomed to the procedure.
When to buy a nail grinder
There is no specific time as to when to purchase a nail grinder. However, as a dog owner, it is advisable to have one with you in-case of emergency. And you can save lots of time and money doing it yourself instead of having to go to the vet!
How do pet nail grinders work?
Most pet nails grinders are re-chargeable. They have in-built batteries that allows them to be used independently. The average life-time of a fully charged nail grinder is 2 hours. Although, this might vary depending on the manufacturer.
How often should I use a pet nail grinder?
As often as the nail grows. When you notice your dog’s nail is getting longer, be sure it is time for grinding. It is very easy to notice this especially if you are really playful with your dog. Normally this would have to be done once a month.
Are nail grinders safe for dogs?
100%! In fact, they are considered safer than clippers (see below) and it’s easier to get a smoother result on the nail, avoiding injuries.
Are dog nail grinders better than clippers?
Yes. This is because, clippers leave sharp-edges on your dog’s nail which further requires you to file the edge. You don’t need to worry about that when using a grinder as all edges are cut and filed at the same time. It is also possible to cut the quick “unknowingly” when using clippers, while using a grinder makes it easier to know when the nail has been successfully shortened.
Won’t my pet get scared by an electric tool?
There is a small chance that your dog will be nervous around these tools at first because of the vibrations and noise. You will need to train a dog to get used to the sensation and reward them for their patience. They will soon learn that there is little to worry about. And select a silent tool.
Aren’t this grinders difficult to use?
They can seem a little burdensome and heavy to new users, but you can quickly get the hang of them with practice and a good read through the manual. There are also models with good ergonomics and speed control, which help a lot.
Conclusively, grooming isn’t just bathing and combing your dog’s hair. It includes caring for their nails also. You can help prevent injuries and infections and trimming their nails and also give them the opportunity to move comfortably. However, doing is the right way with the right equipment is very important in ensuring a healthy lifestyle for your dog.