Monday, July 30, 2012

Adventures in Nail Trimming

So, I finally did it.

I guess it was a matter of time.

Three years later, and I cut one of Elka's nails too short while trimming. Colloquially referred to as having "quicked" my dog. Let me tell you, it isn't a fun time.

She made a tiny little whine noise and pulled her foot away. She'd already been doing some foot pulling, which is frustrating when you're wielding little bladed things and trying to avoid the very thing that I realized I'd done.




I sent Elka to the kitchen, where she promptly went, living little blood drops on the floor as she went. I'd heard that cornstarch could help in situations like this (it's not like I had a styptic pencil) and grabbed that out of the cupboard, and the roll of paper towels from the counter. The first dabbing of cornstarch didn't do anything other than make crayon-red paste that the blood went through further. I'd heard that cornstarch would help, but never heard a specific way in which to enact this strategy. Putting her paw into the little plate sure wasn't useful.

I held her paw up, and let her lick it for a little while, which also seemed to be going nowhere. I held her paw and didn't let her lick it. I pinched up some more cornstarch and dabbed it onto the nail, watched it bleed through, dabbed it some more, watched it bleed through, dabbed some more...and waited. It seemed to have stopped? Elka licked it. It started again. She licked it some more, and then chattered her teeth and smacked her lips from the cornstarch, which would have been funny if there wasn't dog blood on my hands and on the floor, and cornstarch on her head, on my clothes, and all over the floor as well.
A picture from less bloody times.

I stopped her from licking it again, and tried the cornstarch again, dabbing it on as before (have you ever noticed before that cornstarch squeaks?) and then wrapping a paper towel around her pawn and holding it between my hands. I had her laying down, so I held it up a little, thinking that would probably help too. We sat together like that on the floor for ten mintes more (she licked her leg and my hand) and then I pulled the paper towels back. Was it done?

Again with the crayon red paste. I wiped it from between her toes carefully, and looked at the nail. Was it done? It looked done. I waited, and didn't see more blood well up. I got a towel and put it on the couch, and put Elka on the towel, and went back to clean up the kitchen floor. I came back, and she'd licked it enough that it was bleeding again, but only a little. Joy. You'd think "Okay, in the wild, a dog would lick something to make it better, right?" I did think that. And then I thought of Invader Zim: "Worse, or better?" Worse. More blood.

So we got out a sock. First round was sock with a paper towel in it. Poorly conceived, I know. The paper towel didn't stay positioned, and seeped through. Second round, though, I got smart. Sanitary napkin, wrapped in place with gauze, with a sock over it. Elka isn't happy, and I'm sure it hurts, which makes me feel really guilty. But I need to get her to leave it alone long enough to do its thing. I imagine it'll be better by tomorrow.





Common wisdom is that walking your dog on pavement wears their nails down enough, but I frequently feel that Elka's nails are just too long. A lot of Doberman owners on Doberman Talk use a dremel tool on their dog's nails, and with good effect (from my vantage point, anyway). A bonus of dremelling is that you can go little by little, and have far less chance of getting to the quick. Disadvantages are noise, heat from friction, and nail dust.




48 comments:

  1. WOOF! Mom uses a Pedi Paw on me, It isn't as loud as a dremel (those scare me!)

    ~Stinky Kisses, Mason

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    1. I've heard that Doberman nails are too tough for the Pedi Paw, but maybe I'll try it! Thanks for the suggestion.

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  2. Poor Elka! That sounds just terrible. You'll have to give her an *extra special* Tasty Tuesday treat to make it up to her, eh? We use a dremel here as with black dogs, come black nails and I just know I would quick my squirmy worms all the time. The dremel has dramatically decreased the level of stress and upset surrounding dog nails in our house.

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    1. Extra special Tasty Tuesday is planned, I assure you. Complete owner guilt, obviously; she'll have no idea that I'm making what I'll make for her because of her nail!

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  3. Three years since you clipped her quick?? Damn, you are good. I probably clip one of Chester's once every couple of months. It does bleed a lot. I often take a paper towel wadded up, press it against the clipped quick and hold for about a minute. 2 out of three times the quick clots on it's own.

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    1. It's funny, too, because I cut my cat's nails his entire life without clipping his click once. He had white nails, though.

      It was still bloody this morning, so we went to the vet for some o' that Professional cauterizing powder.

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  4. Best trick is to stick the nail in corn flour. Stops the bleeding ASAP. Have a happy Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. I did try that, but I think a combination of her not leaving it alone and my not using enough of it just didn't make it work.

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  5. OK I could only skim read because I get a flippy tummy. :) But in an emergency soap works well in this situation. Press the nail in soap and it will plug the bleeding. We have used it for a cracked and bleeding nail when we didn't have the styptic powder.

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    1. Oops, sorry :( It didn't occur to me to have a warning!

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    2. LOL I am good in an emergency but I cannot read about stuff like that. I know weird.

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    3. Nah, it makes sense. In an emergency, you've got the adrenalin kick, and you can compartmentalize.

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  6. I am lucky that Pearl's feet are white so her nails are light, which makes it easier to see how short to make her nails. Sounds like you got creative to address the problem... I am so squeamish about blood I would have freaked out and probably upset Pearl even more, so I am impressed.

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    1. Yes, white nails are obviously a boon!

      We had a delicate back and forth of "I'm holding your paw-I want my paw back -no, I'm holding it"

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  7. Flour has been said to help stop the bleeding too, but even the quik stop that we use at the vet doesn't always stop it. Sometimes it just bleeds through!

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    1. It was still bleeding/bleeding more today, so I went to the vet this morning and they put some cauterizing powder (what they called it) on a gauze pad and wrapped it, then sent me home with a baggie of more of it and instructions to check it in the afternoon. I'm pretty sure it's not life threatening, but it is freaky!

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  8. Ouch! 3 years without quicking her nails is a good record! I clipped too short on Kyuss when he was about 3 months old. I only had flour on hand at the time and it worked alright. I've also used baby powder in a pinch.

    I clip and dremmel Kyuss' nails now. I normally try to dremmel them every week but sometimes I forget, so I clip and then dremmel. It's very rare I not quick him.

    I hope Elka feels better soon!

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    1. I've heard good things about the dremel, I just don't have one! I wonder if flour would've been less messy?

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  9. I finally bought a styptic pencil and haven't needed to use it since. Funny how things like that somehow work out. Like carrying an umbrella and you won't need it.

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    1. Better to have it and not need it! As it stands, I'm pretty sure I'm never going to cut her nails ever again. I'll figure something else out.

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  10. Uh oh! Human mischief! What a nightmare! And human guilt to boot (no pun intended) Paw both of you!

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    1. Thanks! She seems okay now, but I'm still totally guilty.

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  11. Awww!! So sorry this happened -- but it was an accident. Tell your mommy to check out the Pedi Paws (I have a review on my site). My mommy uses this on Nala and me, and she doesn't have to worry about cutting too much. :)

    Feel better!

    Woofs & huggies, <3

    ~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

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    1. I've heard mixed Pedi Paws reviews...I think some Doberman owners have said that they didn't really work so well on Dobernails.

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  12. You're braver than me. My pups never let me do the clipping, unfortunately.

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    1. Elka's very good about giving her paws...sometimes less good about staying un-squirmy, which is what I think happened. Pretty sure I won't be doing that anymore, though!

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  13. Oh no! That's my worst fear - which is why I started taking Blueberry in to the vet's monthly to have hers trimmed. She is way too squirmy. I know Elka will forgive you. Treats do help! :)

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    1. I think Elka's forgiven me already...except for the sock on her paw!

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  14. Aww, I'm sure neither one of you enjoyed this at all.

    We use a clipper and a dremel, sometimes one after the other and sometimes one instead of the other. Desmond's paws and toes (are they toes??) are so crooked/wonky, that hardly any of his nails touch the ground when he walks. He's also a princess of the highest order and moves himself to softer ground whenever possible. I have a hard time getting him to walk next to me on the sidewalk--he always moves to the grassy area at the curb.

    That being said, we have certainly cut a nail too short, particularly because of the strange way the nails/quick grow (which makes it hard to cut or file in a normal direction), but our doggie first aid kit has the powder in it, which works OK. You're supposed to wet it first and then apply it. This makes no sense to me at all, but that's what we've done. The bigger problem is, like you said, getting the dog to leave it alone and/or not move.

    The only other thing that helps us is doing nails after a bath, but we're not as on top of things as we'd like to be and often don't think of it until after.

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    1. They are toes!

      Elka does walk on the sidewalk with me (though I have "move over" to get her on the grass to let other people past), but I guess it just isn't enough, for whatever reason.

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  15. OooO! A Dremel! What a great idea! I have one of those. Thanks!

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    1. You're welcome! A lot of people have instructions for getting your dog accustomed to one.

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  16. Poor Jen and Elka. I know you probably felt way worse than she did.

    I recently caught Honey's quick too and felt terrible. I immediately put alum on it (we keep it around for shaving cuts) and held a towel to it. The alum stopped the bleeding in less than 30 seconds.

    If you go out and buy a really big bottle of it, you'll guarantee you never cut a quick again. :)

    BTW, I also hoped that our long walks on pavement would keep Honey's nails short but I don't think she's heavy enough to make it work. It may be the same with Elka. She's a nice slender girl.

    Now, if she were a Newfie...

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    1. I wish it had stopped in thirty seconds!

      Elka is 71 pounds, but I guess she's pretty light on her feet! Her back nails are pretty short, which is nice, but the front ones get pretty curve-y.

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  17. Oh nooo. I got Petal's quick once, I felt awful, probably worse than Petal did. My nail clippers came with some sort of powder (I'm not remembering what it was now) and I only had to dab it on twice to get the bleeding to stop. I heard cornstarch could help too, so that's disappointing that it didn't seem to do much.

    Hope you aren't too traumatized! I had to have my mom clip Petal's nails for a little while after I got her quick— it took me a lot longer to get over it than it took for Petal to get over it.

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    1. I wish my nail clippers had come with the powder!

      Lauren @ Life with Desmond mentioned her instructions saying to wet the nail first, then apply the powder. Maybe if I had done that with the cornstarch? I don't know. Whatever they had at the vet worked right off!

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  18. We use a Dremel with our pups. We only use it for a little bit on each nail to avoid too much heat from the friction. We're not big fans of the nail dust and it takes a little bit of training to get your pups used to the Dremel. The Pedi Paws has a little cover that reduces the dust from flying up in the air.

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    1. Yes, the Pedi Paws cover for the dust does seem like a bonus!

      I think I've seen a DIY "doggie scratching post" as well, come to think of it. Was it Sophia Yin? I'll have to investigate.

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  19. Roo poor little Elka, give her some puppy kisses from me will you? I trim my nails on the asphalt and my human works at a groomers so they cut my dew claws there when I have my baths.

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    1. Aw, thanks Alfie, I'll let Elka know!

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  20. I use a Dremel because it's easier to avoid the quick, especially with the black nails that Dobes have. Have learned (finally!) that the sandpaper is faster than the stone wheels, so if it's been a while I use sandpaper. If I've kept up and am just grinding a little bit than the stone wheel is fine. A big advantage (to me) is that the nails are smooth, not jagged and scratchy when they're ground.

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    1. Smooth nails are definitely preferable! I have considered getting and using a dremel, so it's good to know that the sandpaper is best.

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  21. Oh no, poor Elka. And poor you! I probably would have been a little more frantic that you seem to have been. Good thinking all around on your part.

    Given Bella's "issues", we taught her how to trim her own nails rather than suffer the frustration of trying to teach her not to be afraid of nail clippers, dremel tools or even paw holding. (She will finally allow us to hold her feet. 4. Years. Later.)

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    1. She trims her own nails? How does she do that? It sounds like a fantastic option, because of course now I'm loathe to try anymore. Elka was in general very good about staying still, but I somewhat don't trust myself at this point.

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  22. Do you subscribe to any other websites about this? I'm struggling to find other reputable sources like yourself

    Amela
    Dog Clippers

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