When it comes for a nail trim, you may find that your rabbit dogs are not impressed. Some take it like a champ while others hide and even more act like it is the ultimate act of torture. It doesn't make a difference if you've never quicked them; nail trimming is just not something dogs seem to enjoy. Although you may be lucky in that your rabbit dogs are active enough that their nails wear considerably on their own, there are many rabbit dog owners who have to conduct regular clippings much to the chagrin of their dogs.
Photo: Pets 4 Homes
Nail trimming is important for several reasons. First and foremost is that walking around with long toenails can be painful. Nails that are excessively long will push back into the paw when dogs stand or walk, causing joint pain and/or displacement to the side. Left unattended, this can cause arthritis and even more pain when you do get around to clipping those nails. Additionally, long nails can disrupt the movement of dogs when in motion as their posture is altered to compensate for not only pain but also the messages sent to the brain based on paw to ground contact. This can cause falls which may lead to even more health issues it is preferable to avoid.
In order to keep nails at a manageable length, biweekly trimming is advised. To get started, make sure the clippers you have are of a size compatible with your dog. Beagles are not the same size as Great Danes and therefore do not require the same clippers. Opt for a scissor style of clipper as these do not put pressure on toes like other styles of clipper might. Also be sure to keep your tools sharp, replacing them as needed. Dull tools take more pressure to operate and can cause pain.
Photo: All Good Paws
It is important to avoid quicking the nail. This is not only painful for the dog but results in bleeding and trauma, making future trimmings something your dog will further resist. If you are unsure as to where you need to cut to avoid quicking, ask your vet to show you where the nails on your personal dogs should be trimmed. Despite the best of intentions and knowledge, however, quicking can still happen. If it does, you can dip the nail in cornstarch to stop bleeding. Prevention is a better option though so make shallow cuts instead of being overzealous and never place the whole claw into the clipper. Once your cutting is complete, you can use an emery board type of device that rotates known as a PediPaws to dull any sharp edges.
Remember that the longer the claw, the longer the blood line or quick will be. Regular trimming can rein this in, causing it to dry up and recede which allows you to trim nails shorter over time. In dogs with neglected nails that have grown unchecked, one trimming cannot bring them back to the correct nail length as bleeding will occur. Instead, commit to a gradual shortening over several sessions until comfort is once again achieved.
In order to complete a successful nail trimming session, be sure to have treats on hand. These can serve as a reward for when the process is over, an apology for an accidental quicking, or both. Be sure to clip nails in a well-lit area so you can easily see what you are doing instead of guessing that you are trimming in the right spot. Speak calmly and reassuringly to rabbit dogs as you trim, giving them lots of affection so the experience is as pleasing as possible. Positive reinforcement over time should outweigh the dread of nail trimmings, making it a more tolerable experience for both you and your rabbit dogs.
Do you have anything special you do when clipping nails to keep dogs still and happy? What type of rewards do you offer when the process is complete? Let us know in the comments!