Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nail Trimming

Dane toenails are extremely thick and tough to cut, and I've been using a scissor style Miller's Forge "Large Dog Nail Clip" on Savage for years. He's always been a little uncomfortable with getting his manicures, but lately he's gotten a lot more sensitive about it. I have to assume it's because after a couple years, the blades have just gotten dull. When I first started seeing television ads for something called the Peticure, a rotary nail-clipping tool, I was interested, and did some research online to figure out if it would possibly work for Savvy's big toenails. What I heard from some dog owners is that the actual Peticure tool tends to have a somewhat wimpy motor that won't stand up to clipping all the nails at one sitting, but I also found that the company sells a product called the Peticure Safe Guard, which simply threads on to a Dremel rotary tool and gives you the control of the Peticure and the speed and power of the Dremel.
I ordered the Safe Guard, then went out and bought my own Dremel kit, excited about an easier nail-trimming alternative but apprehensive about my dog's willingness to let this thing near his feet. Well, as predicted, Savvy hated the tool from the very beginning. It took both Randy and I to hold him down so he wouldn't bolt, and that was before it even got near his nails. After the near impossible task of filing two toenails, I gave up, concerned that I was causing my puppy too much anxiety for no good reason.
Around the same time I also ordered Savage new booties from, a local manufacturer that features booties and harnesses designed for sled dogs. I decided on the fleece booties because I thought they would provide traction; I wanted to avoid the disappointment I experienced with the Muttluks I bought him last winter. However, as soon as I ripped open the package I was disappointed again. The largest size made by, XL, is made to fit a dog paw 3 1/2" across the widest part, but doesn't even begin to fit onto Savage's giant feet.
Therefore, the Peticure Safe Guard and his new fleece booties now join the list of products I've bought for my dog (with the intention of making our lives together easier) that he either refuses to use, or that don't work for him specifically. Ironically, now that I have my own Dremel, I can easily sharpen the blades on my Miller's Forge trimmer, and it's making nail cutting quite a bit more efficient. I guess that's the best I can ask for.


  1. The PR Gang said...
    You need to start really slowly with the dremel, like don't even turn it on at first. Baby steps all the way up to turning it on, but not actually using it and finally grinding on one nail. It'll take a while and a lot of treats but once he gets used to it, it's so much easier and best of all, it's painless. Don't give up!
    That's another great shot of Savage!
    Danyel said...
    LOL! I did the same thing with the dremel. Bowser is completely scared of it and I didn't even turn it on for at least a month of getting him used to it. He's just a chicken about everything :-)
    Janelle said...
    Thats a bummer! I love the dremmel..this is how our breeder showed us to do his nails and Coop has had it done this way from day 1. He just lays there while I do it,and I dont have to worry as much about cutting the quick since he will pull away if I get too close.
    Duane said...
    The previous comments have been my experience also. Slow, step, by step introduction is the way to go and the Dremel is the tool to use. I use the coarse drum as it works faster and doesn't heat the nail as fast. Keep the speed moderate as it is easier to control and those nails will be looking smooth and short in no time. Be sure to give a nice treat after, along with lots of praise. In fact I just did the nails of both of mine just before visiting your site. Thunder will come out and lay down on his side when he sees me get the Dremel and will lay quietly while I grind his nails. Believe me, it didn't start out that way. It was hide-in-his-crate time at first. Patience is the key to almost everything with dogs.
    greatdaneservicedog said...
    One thing you can try is have someone turn it on away from him, and give him a treat when he notices but doesn't try to flee. You don't want to hold him down, since it creates a fear experience.
    However far away it has to be is fine. Gradually bring it closer for a couple weeks, continuing treats. If you can put it on the floor and get him to sniff and such, that's great too.
    When he's cool with it's noise, touch one nail and treat. Next time try two nails. etc.

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