Preparing the Dog
- Before you start trimming the dog's nails, be sure you have control of the animal and can hold its paws still and secure. You don't want him to jerk while you are cutting or trimming. Some dogs will tolerate nail trimming and others will not. Get help working with larger dogs and nervous small dogs. You may want to introduce the rotary tool over several days to accustom the dog to the sound and action of the machine.
Planning the Trim
- There are three main parts to each claw. There is a hard outer shell, the nail itself, and the quick within. Your task will be to trim the shell and nail down near the quick without cutting into it. If you clip or pinch the quick it will hurt the dog and can cause rapid bleeding. The rotary tool allows you to do a good slow and careful trim job.
Trimming the Nail
- You can start by using cutters to do the first trim and get the nail close to where you want it. If you're nervous about it or you don't think your hands are steady enough to avoid cutting too close to the quick, you can simply grind the nail down with the rotary tool. Use a coarse sanding drum at low speed for no more than about three seconds at a time. Hold two toes while working and move back and forth between nails to avoid overheating. Grind away the sharp point of the claw and blunt it, rounding to the shape of the underlying quick. If some of the claws are opaque instead of translucent, simply use the translucent as a guide to match the ones where you can't see the quick. It will take longer to grind the nail without trimming first, but it is safer.
Shaping the Claw
- Use the sanding drum to round and blunt the end of the claws. The rounded shape helps prevent cracking and splitting of the nail and reduces the amount of damage the dog's claws may do to furniture and bedding in your house. Work slowly to avoid damaging the nail. If the nail does split it can be very painful for your dog and may set up an infection in the inner pulp of the claw.
- Do not use high speed settings as this will cause the nail to overheat and hurt your dog. Use the sanding drums and not the grinding tools for the same reason. Grinding tools make the nail too hot and can burn the dog.