Fri, Aug 09, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Dog owners need to clip pets’ nails regularly: vet

By Lai Peng-hsiang and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Dog owners should clip their pets’ nails about once every one to two weeks, said Hung Jui-lung (洪瑞隆), director of the Pet ‘N’ Care Veterinary Hospital in Taipei.

Overgrown nails can affect a dog’s ability to walk or even hurt their paw pads and hip joints, he said.

However, unlike humans, the blood vessels and nerves inside a dog’s nails grow with the nails, Hung said, adding that many owners accidentally cut their pets’ nails too short, resulting in bleeding.

To prevent this, owners should only clip up to the part of the nail that has grown past the paw pad and clip in multiple sessions to allow the blood vessels and nerves inside the nails to adapt and slowly retreat, he said.

If bleeding does occur, do not panic and apply styptic powder to the wound, he added.

Cat claws are structurally similar to a dog’s nails, although a cat’s claws are retractable, Hung said.

Cats cannot file their own claws while walking, which is why they often scratch their claws against a scratching post, he said.

Older cats or cats with arthritis are even more in need of regular nail trimmings, Hung said.

Older cats exercise and scratch their claws less, and cats with arthritis might become injured when their nails dig into their paw pads, he said.

Nail clippers, styptic powder and treats should be prepared for trimming sessions, Hung said, adding that dog owners should use a nail clipper of an appropriate size for their pet.

As most pets are not used to people grabbing their paws, they will fight it at first, he said.

Owners with no experience trimming their pets’ nails should practice holding the animal’s paw and rewarding them with treats and praise so that they are no longer afraid, he added.

Owners should wait until their pets are calm and can sit still or be held to cut their nails, Hung said.

They should reassure their pets during the trimming process, he said.

Once they are done, they should reward their pets with treats and praise so that the animals can gradually adapt to and enjoy the experience, he added.

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