Nail Trimming

The DefendersWell it’s time for us to finally talk about NAIL TRIMMING. Just keep in mind I’m not a groomer but I do know the importance of regular grooming and most definitely includes nail trimming. Together, King, Schatzie and I are going to share our individual views on this whole process. Actually I think allowing King and Schatzie to share is the wisest way to go since they are after all the dogs enduring the process. I’ll chime in with some tidbits and photos at the end of this post.


When I first came to live with my humans at age 13 months I wasn’t used to having to need my nails trimmed. Why? Bepaws my temporary human (you can read my story HERE so I don’t have to explain it all woof!) walked me on pavement, streets and in fields every day so my nails wore down naturally. I can’t tell my humans how my nails were handled prior to my temporary human bepaws I’m a dog. I lived with my breeder until I was six months old.American Bully dog staring at human

Two things have always been very touchy with me: my feet and my ears. Most dogs aren’t too excited about having their paws messed with unless as pups they have their paws handled and totally trust humans. Again I can’t tell you all what things were like with me but mom and her colleague/friend/business partner think since I was kennel raised I just relaxed into being totally DOG-ifed! Meaning I was used to handling life as a dog. In part. In part I just trust human men more than human women. My breeder is a guy. My temporary human is a man but he has FOUR daughters – I LOVE human children! And a wife too. But HE handled me the most.

As for my ears, well they were trimmed when I was a little pup. So would hold my ears REAL tightly closed when mom first tried to clean them and check them. Now I relax bepaws I know she isn’t going to hurt them and in fact she always rubs them gently and cleans them gently. My ears don’t really get dirty but she wipes them out about once a week. I’m calm about it now and the ear rubbing is actually soothing to me now. I lovez it! She was just calm and gentle with me during my “letting go” process. I think humans that is what is needed in many cases with us dogs.

Okay so now you know my “issues” so let’s get to the real drama – the actual nail trimming. To this day it is my least favorite thing in the world. I don’t mind much of anything else including bath time but I hatez with a passion nail trims!

The first nail trim mom knew wasn’t going to go well. Dad doesn’t really know how to do them bepaws if he did, he’d be the one doing minez. I don’t know why, mom is nice and calm when she does my nails. Anyway that first time, well let’s just say I wanted to bite. Hard. She realized that so she had Dad hold me and pet me while she trimmed all four paws. She went easy and slow. I kept trying to pull my paws back so she’d hold on firmly but not hard, and as soon as I’d relax, she and dad praised me and trimmed my nails. After a while I figured out she was going to do them no matter what so I relented. PLUS I always get a treat which is the only good part about it. Dad no longer helps out, I learned pretty quickly the trim was going to happen whether I liked it not so dad is no longer required to be present.

Four months later Schatzie came on the scene and set the stage for further development on nail trimming hehe – see her views below.

I still “show her some lip” during the trim as she likes to say. She always tells me to “knock it off” and smoothes my face woof! I have taken to rolling onto my back so she can get them done quicker. I figured that out all on my own, she didn’t teach me that, woof! She always chuckles when I do that and I like that – I’m the house comedian if you haven’t guessed yet. Mom uses a regular nail trimmer on me, she hasn’t tried the dremel on me even though she used it on Shadrach and Meshach with their big ol’ paws. Well you’ve heard my viewpoints on this whole nail trimming thing which I hatez, so now here is Schatzie to share her version – it isn’t much different but she’s a Queen you know!

Schatzie my Carolina DogI’m the quiet, still sort of feral type canine so it isn’t my place to be noisy about much. However, King taught me how to stand up in the human world and be noticed! I never wanted to be noticed by humans until I came into this house at age seven. Before I wasn’t noticed anyway so all I wanted was to sneak in and out of places to grab a bite to eat and scavenge. That’s an art I’ve mastered to this day! Anyway, you can read my story HERE for more details so I needn’t repeat myself.

My nails were so neglected that they were beginning to curl. Look at the photos mom shared below of two other dogs so you can get an idea what happens to our feet and structure if our feet aren’t given proper care.

The first thing I received when I came here begging for them to let me live with them, was a good hour long coat brushing. I LOVE that attention to this day! Mom calls me her Beauty Queen which is another thing I love! I know how to smile almost like a human but without all the teeth showing. Humans are funny creatures but I absolutely adore my mom and it’s mutual, woof! I won’t go into the details since you can read my story as I said.

The first nail trim I received was the first week I stayed here. Mom was especially concerned about my dew claws since they were beginning to go into my skin. She only tipped my nails at first bepaws my quick was too far out. That means my former humans didn’t do much to care for my feet, coat or much of anything else for that matter. As you read in the other post my coat was a mess so I also got a bath right away too. I hate baths worse than nail trims. King loves them but not me. I’m glad I don’t need them much bepaws I smell good as a raw fed dog and I don’t roll in the dirt like King does.

Dad had to be enlisted to help with my initial nail trims too but not bepaws I was into growling or snipping like King which is rude to those who take such good care of us I say! It is bepaws I kept pulling my paw back repeatedly. Dad was very good at soothing me during the process and like King I learned it was useless to resist. The nail trim must be done. We need it to keep our structure sound and balanced. In the wild the nail trim isn’t necessary bepaws wild dogs roam, hunt, dig dens, and all of that keeps the nails trimmed naturally.

It didn’t take long for Dad’s duty to be relinquished. I tried rolling onto my back as I watched King do and it would make mom laugh so much I figured out it wasn’t very dignified for a Beauty Queen. So I just lie down now and roll onto my side. Mom dispatches those long nails very quickly and calmly so I am calm. I know she won’t hurt me. She only cut too short once! I didn’t like it and she did feel bad I could tell – she was quick to apologize and take care of it quickly. She used some cistus essential oil  and everything was fine. I’m not so enamored of essential oil scents but I do tolerate them the way mom uses them on me – I’ll share that on a future blog post. In fact, mom has shared it on previous posts already.

I’ve never had a dremel used on me and quite frankly I think I would flip out since I don’t like loud noises or sounds and definitely wouldn’t like anything vibrating on my paws that way. I know other dogs don’t mind a bit, but I suppose some are less sensitive than me due to proper upbringing in this human world and less or no vaccine damage as I have. I am betting it would be far better in the long and short of things humans bepaws the dremel can get the nails shorter quicker and right up to the quick each time without bleeding or hurting us.

Mom says most breeders and groomers prefer to use a dremel. Mom is very aware of my and King’s sensitivities so she hasn’t forced the dremel on us. We’re both vaccine harmed among other things. I’m glad we’re with these humans bepaws they only want the best for us, woof! I’m happy to be here so I tolerate the occasional bath and the weekly nail trims. I do love how pretty I look bepaws of the proper grooming and I can wear my Beauty Queen title with flair!

Dr. Kim:

So there you have it, right out of the mouths of the canines themselves! About the dremel…

You can find a dremel just about anywhere – they have them at hardware stores but also at pet stores and grooming supply outlets. The hardest thing on those is getting your dog to be calm with the noise and buzz. But if YOU are calm the dog will learn to be calm also.

Dog needing nail trim
Before on left, after on right. Not good for nails to be left this long.

I’d suggest using a high-quality calming essential oil blend which I did use with King initially. I use it a good ten minutes before nail trims as I don’t want them to associate the scent with something bad. Nail trims to them are tolerated at best. Hated at most as King said. He means it too!

Initially when I was dealing with doing both Schatzie and King’s nail trims, I’d get him done first since he’d learned he had to do it either way and then I’d really take my time with Schatzie. It would take me a good 20 minutes to get both dogs done.

I do them both in about 5 minutes now. It is very fast. I just let the dogs know through time and patience I wasn’t going to hurt them. They still don’t like it but they both will lie down (King on his back still most of the time with his legs in the air hahaha as he said – although sometimes he just sits there and I do the front paws first and back ones last) and let me trim them. King still shows me lip sometimes, but I just smooth his face each time (silly boy) and encourage him with each nail, saying “Good boy King, your’e such a good boy, good job” and always calmly and happy. I don’t know his background with nail trims. It doesn’t matter at this point, I just do what is working for us.

Just remember if you stay calm, and go slowly your dogs will get the idea that this is no big deal. If you are fearful, and hesitant then they will pick up on that. They will control YOU at that point. If you still are uncomfortable, then by all means have a professional groomer or veterinarian do it for you.

Deformed toes in dog with nails left too long
The nails are causing the joints to deform in this dog. Not trimming nails definitely affects the structure.

After I do my dogs nail trims, they each get a treat so for them enduring that nail trimming is worth it. They also get praise for good behavior. My dogs do have a place they can dig and we also take them on daily long walks but it doesn’t seem to be enough to avoid the nail trims. I prefer to keep the nails short at any rate so I trim my dogs weekly. Once they get used to it, it’s really not a big deal. If your dogs have dark nails, then follow what you see in the videos. My dogs have both dark and white nails but I am comfortable knowing where their quick is and never cut too short.

Just remember to pause if they struggle, once they relax then start again. They’ll learn that if they relax it goes faster. And encourage them while YOU remain calm.

You can check out the following videos to see if you find a visual that helps you get a handle on how to do a nail trim with nail trimmers or a dremel:

This isn’t a comprehensive blog post on this subject, we just wanted to share with you how we do it here at Chez Bloomer. We hope it at least encourages you some. The photos of the dog nails were provided by my awesome friend, Bre Altherr, who has been a professional groomer all of her adult life along with being a dog trainer. I am grateful she allowed me to share these photos with you all. It’s important to keep those nails trimmed for the soundness of your dog’s structure function. That is the real message behind this post.

Here are a couple of more articles to help you with visuals and knowledge:

So until next time…

Have a pawsitively tail waggin’, NATUROPATHICALLY healthy day!

PHOTOS ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos of King & Schatzie by Dr. Kim Bloomer, All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained in Aspenbloom Pet Care is intended for educational purposes only. It is not provided in order to diagnose, prevent or treat any disease, illness or injured condition of the body or pets and the author, publisher, and contributors accept no responsibility for such use. Anyone or their pets suffering from any disease, illness or injury should consult with their physician or veterinarian. The statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Kim Bloomer, V.N.D., N.D. is an animal naturopath as well as being certified in small animal nutrition, with years of experience in animal wellness. Dr. Kim is a published author, writer, blogger, host of the DOGgone Truth podcast. Copyright 2018 Aspenbloom Pet Care, Dr. Kim Bloomer, All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author/Publisher. This article is intended to be educational. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a qualified animal health professional. Dr. Kim Bloomer and Aspenbloom Pet Care, do not assume any legal responsibility for misuse of the products discussed in this article.