Caring for Paws & Claws

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Proper nail trimming is an essential part of dog grooming, according to Tonya Gerrow, owner of Tonya’s Tender Touch Dog Grooming, a longtime Fenton business. “It’s very important,” she says, adding that she has provided grooming for dogs and cats since 1992.

The need for trimming a cat’s claws depends on whether it is an outdoor or indoor pet, says the groomer. For an indoor cat, a scratching post allows daily self-maintenance. If your cat tends to sharpen its claws everywhere in your house, you may want to trim them so they will cause less damage.

A professional groom should include nail and claw clipping, but pet owners can easily do it at home. “I’m a groomer, so I am very accustomed to nail clipping,” Gerrow says, “but sometimes a pet owner doesn’t know how much of the nail needs to be trimmed. If the pet’s nails are white, it is easy to locate the quick, which is where you stop trimming.”

When a dog’s nails are black, it’s more difficult to locate the quick. Through her experience, Gerrow has discovered that you will see a ring in the nail while trimming it, a little at a time. “That ring lets you know the quick is just beyond
that,” she says. “If you cut beyond that, it will be painful.” The same process also applies when trimming a cat’s claws.

Gerrow recommends using an ergonomic clipper that can be purchased online or at your local pet store. She also recommends a Dremel dog nail grinder. “It grinds and smoothes the nail after the clipping, taking off the sharp edges,” she reports. “It’s an additional expense, but people like the result.”

Nail trimming can cause pets anxiety, so it is important to start when they are young, to help them become accustomed to the process, Gerrow advises. She also advises having it done every six weeks, as nails that are too long can put pressure on the cuticles and make walking painful.

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