Pedicures For Pooches And Winged Critters

Just a short note today. Had a bird in last week with nails curling back into his feet. We see the same problem in dogs, and to a lesser extent in some cats (cat nails grow differently- instead of continuous growth, they grow and shed the tips intact, with tiny new tips or sheaths underneath). So there’s always the question of HOW to trim nails, and sometimes WHY they over-grow.
For many dogs and birds, their nail tips may be lightly clipped with a “human” nail trimmer. If the nail itself is white, you may be able to see the pink vein inside and avoid cutting into it, or  “quicking” the nail and making it bleed. BUY yourself some “QuickStop” at the pet supply store, so if a nail does bleed you can stop it by simply pressing a dab of quick stop powder hard into the end. The bleeding itself isn’t a big deal – your dog or bird will not die! It may be more uncomfortable, and I think the styptic powder stings a tad, but sometimes it’s necessary to cut a nail back hard to get things under control.
If a birds nails curl, the bird may be unable to perch! I have also seen dogs that are nearly crippled by curled nails that turn their toes sideways and splay their foot apart! A proper pedicure (sans nail polish) is important to a pets health!
Older dogs with arthritis are especially prone to foot problems and benefit from regular nail trims and shaping. Dogs can develop fungal infections of the nail and weeping infections in the nail bed and tissue that surrounds the toe. Overgrown nails are prone to cracks, splitting, and fractures- which can be so painful that I recommend a mild anesthetic when we repair them (think about digging out a deep splinter!).
One myth I find aggravating on the pets behalf is that cutting a nail back slowly (in stages over a few days) into the quick, causes the vein to recede. The idea is that multiple trims will eventually get the nail to the desired short length without significant bleeding. Let’s walk through this idea (flip flops are fine, hiking boots not required). If you get a paper cut on your finger, it bleeds. The miracle of clotting platelets occurs. You stop bleeding. Within a matter of hours, even if you irritate the same site, it won’t bleed again because the little vessels have naturally retracted! Same with nails! Instead of torturing your pet with every-other-day trims, get it over with once, then maintain regularly!
Regular pedicures vary from pet to pet. Some may need monthly attention, others quarterly . Stay tuned for our soon-to-be-released YouTube how-to video on this subject! Guaranteed seriously good info and hilarious delivery!

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