Category Archives: dog pedicures

Why Don’t Dogs Like Us Messing with Their Feet?

By Linda Cole

All dogs need to have their nails trimmed from time to time, even if they don’t like it. Some breeds also need to have the hair between their toes and paw pads trimmed to give them traction and prevent slipping. My dogs love to shake hands and are used to me handling their feet. Yet the minute nail clippers or scissors appear, it’s obvious this isn’t an activity they agree with. Although, a couple CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats can make the process a bit more acceptable. So why will a dog bug you to shake hands, but then pull his paw away when you hold on to it so you can cut nails or trim hair?

Consider the importance we place on our feet and hands. Feet give us mobility when we want to move around or need to flee from danger. Hands are communication tools – how many of you can talk without using your hands? It’s much easier to take care of ourselves, stay clean, eat, protect ourselves and perform other tasks that would be difficult to do without hands.

To dogs, their feet are every bit as important to their survival. Feet are used to chase down prey, run away from danger, protect themselves, dig holes to flush out prey, find cooler soil in the summer or stay warmer in the winter, bury food to prevent other animals from stealing it and investigate things. Dogs also use their feet to communicate.

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How to Trim a Dog’s Toenails

By Linda Cole

Dogs aren’t always cooperative when it’s time to trim their toenails. I’ve had dogs that sat patiently while I trimmed away; however, most of my dogs look at me as if I’m going to take their nails off all the way up to their elbow. It’s not a chore most dogs or owners enjoy, but it is an important grooming necessity. Trimming a dog’s nails isn’t really that bad, and you can do it without losing a finger in the process.

Teach your dog it’s OK for you to touch his feet. The best age to get your dog used to having his feet touched is when he’s a puppy, but don’t despair if you missed that part of your pup’s education. You can still teach an older dog to accept having his feet touched by using the same method you use with a puppy. Pick up a paw and hold it in your hand. Massage in between the toes and gently pull on the nails so your dog can become accustomed to the feeling. Teach him to shake hands to help him learn that paw holding is OK. I’ve always played with my dogs feet when they’re snuggled next to me so they get used to having their feet messed with.

I like to use scissor nail clippers made for dogs, which have a stop on the back to prevent you from getting too much of the nail at one time. It looks like a short blunt-headed pair of scissors. Another nail trimmer works like a guillotine, but this trimmer makes it harder to see the nail you’re trying to cut. I have also used the dremel-like tool made for dogs. It works well, but it’s slow and you still need to be careful not to take the nail down too far because it can cut into the quick. Some dogs don’t like the whirling sound it makes. Experiment to see which nail trimming tool is more comfortable for you to use, because that’s the one that will work best for you.

Put your dog in a position that’s comfortable for him and don’t restrain him. If you scare him or make nail trimming too unpleasant, he won’t be cooperative. Have some CANIDAE TidNips treats on hand to reward him for good behavior. Be gentle but firm, and take your time. Don’t try to trim the nail in one cut. Take a little off at a time until it’s at the desired length, and be careful not to cut into the quick. The pink color of the quick is easy to see on dogs with white nails, but dark colored nails are impossible to see through. It’s better to leave the nail a tad longer if you can’t see where the quick is. Don’t forget to trim the dew claws.

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Pet Grooming Mistakes

By Julia Williams

We all want to take great care of our pets, because we love them. Our pets depend on us to do the things they’re unable to do for themselves. They count on us to make good decisions for their health and longevity. Choosing a nutritious pet food (like CANIDAE and FELIDAE, of course!) is one of the more obvious ways to contribute to your pet’s wellbeing. Another vital aspect of responsible pet ownership is grooming. Whether you have a dog or a cat, not paying careful attention to certain grooming needs can lead to more serious problems later.

Proper Coat Care

Regular brushing or combing is essential for all long-haired dogs and cats. However, short-haired pets benefit from brushing too, because it lets you examine their bodies for fleas, ticks, lumps and anything unusual. Brushing removes loose fur, dirt and irritants, and distributes natural oils throughout your pet’s coat. Regular brushing also reduces the likelihood of matting, which can cause pain and may lead to infection. Brushing long-haired cats helps to cut down on the formation of hairballs.

Depending on your pet’s breed and their coat type, regular brushing can mean anything from once a day to once a week. It’s up to you to determine the best schedule. It’s equally important to choose the right grooming tools. There are countless options available; which one is right for your pet’s coat is something you might want to discuss with your vet or a grooming professional.

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Good Dog Health Includes Healthy Feet

By Linda Cole

We don’t always realize how important our feet are until something causes them pain. A dog’s feet are equally important for them. Their paw pads and feet are pretty special and without healthy feet, a dog would have trouble getting from one place to another. It’s important to pay attention to a dog’s feet to make sure they stay sound. Healthy feet can make a big difference to a dog’s wellbeing.

Dogs don’t walk on the soles of their feet like we do. They walk on their toes, which is one reason why it’s important to keep their nails trimmed to maintain healthy feet. Their feet act like shock absorbers and give them the traction they need to do all kinds of things. The rough paw pads are extra shock absorbers that help dogs make quick turns, leap for Frisbees and run or sprint with enough endurance to finish their task. Each foot has four pads, and each pad makes contact with the ground.

Toenails that are left untrimmed can cause the dog to slide back on his paws more, putting more strain on his legs. When they don’t set their feet properly because of long toenails, it interferes with how they walk and their gait will be off. Toenail biting generally means the nails are too long and need to be trimmed (for detailed instructions, see How to Give Your Pooch a Pedicure. Nails should also be inspected to make sure there are no injuries to the toe that might have caused an infection. It’s possible for dogs to break a toe or a bone in their foot. We can accidentally break a dog’s toe if we step on their foot.

A dog’s healthy feet need attention from us to help keep them in good shape. Dogs that do a lot of hiking, running and activities where they make sharp turns or jumps can damage their paw pads. Cuts, sharp rocks, rough terrain, rock salt, cracked pads, slivers of glass, splinters, burrs, fleas, insect bites, bee stings, scrapes or tiny rocks that get caught between the pads or toes can all turn a dog’s healthy feet into painful ones. Even a slow walk around the neighborhood gives dogs a chance to step on something that can cut their paw pads. Regular inspection of their feet will catch most pesky injuries before they can become infected and cause problems.

Matted hair can bother dogs, especially ones who have long hair between their paw pads. Small rocks, frozen snow or ice, rock salt and other foreign objects can become caught in the hair. The long hair also makes it harder for the dog to get good traction. As a responsible pet owner, you can help by keeping the hair trimmed even with their paw pads.

Minor foot injuries are simple to take care of at home with over the counter medications made for dogs that can clear up minor cuts and infections. However, any time you find a wound on your dog that’s become infected and is warm to the touch, swollen or painful, it needs to be taken care of by a veterinarian. Prescription medication or ointments may be needed.

A dog’s paw pads are pretty tough, but even healthy feet are no match for asphalt or cement on a hot day. Since we usually have on shoes, it’s easy for us to not even notice how hot asphalt or cement is. A dog’s pads can be burned if they walk on these hot surfaces. Keep your dog in the grass on hot summer days to help protect their pads. Metal on a hot day can also be dangerous for a dog’s feet, and can burn their pads.

If your dog is limping, refusing to walk, licking at his feet or chewing, or if you see redness or blisters, part of a pad missing or the pads look darker than they should, these can be signs your dog has burned pads. It’s always a good idea to have a vet evaluate burned pads to make sure they don’t require antibiotics or other medications. If the burn is deep, infection can set in.

Winter snow and ice can cause injuries to a dog’s paw pads too. Read Winter Paw Care for Dogs for information on how to take care of your dog’s feet during the winter months.

Good dog health includes healthy feet. Limping, whining, chewing or signs of swelling indicate something is wrong with your dog’s foot. Careful inspection can usually tell you what’s bothering your dog. Quick and responsible action is needed to keep a simple cut or minor infection from becoming a problem. It’s important to pay attention to your dog’s feet to help keep them (and him!) in tip top shape.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Why It’s Important to Groom Your Pet

By Linda Cole

Grooming and playing are two great ways to bond with your pet. Grooming also gives you an opportunity to monitor your pet’s overall health and gain their trust. Sitting down regularly with your pet will leave them feeling good about themselves (even though they may complain the whole time) and it gives you time with your favorite furry friend.

Hair clipping will be included in your pet grooming routine if you have a long haired dog. Some dogs, like Siberian Huskies, have lots of hair between their paw pads. When the hair grows too long, ice and snow can collect on the hair and cut the dog’s pads. Tiny rocks can be held in between their pads by the long hair and can injure their feet. It can be harder for them to walk on slippery surfaces because they can’t get proper traction walking on the overgrown hair. Long haired dogs may also need to have the hair in and around their ears trimmed.

Combing or brushing is an essential part of pet grooming. It helps remove loose hair as well as dirt and debris along the skin and in their coat. Medium to long haired dogs and long haired cats can have tangled, matted hair that pulls on the pet’s skin and mats can be difficult to remove. Regular brushing can help keep their coats mat free. Brushing stimulates their skin, removes dirt along the skin and in their coat and gets rid of loose hair that won’t end up on the living room furniture or on an unsuspecting house guest. This is a good time, while your pet is relaxed, to run your hands over their body and check for any lumps, skin irritations or sores hidden under the coat. Use an appropriate comb or brush that won’t scratch their skin.

Trimming your pet’s toenails gives you a chance to inspect their feet to make sure there are no hidden cuts or foreign objects, like small rocks or burrs, caught in between the paw pads. Outside cats can come home with small injuries to their feet you may not notice right away. Both cats and dogs can get splinters in their pads or cuts that can become infected over time. Pet grooming should always include an inspection of their feet whether the toenails need trimmed or not, to catch any problems before they require a trip to the vet. If you aren’t comfortable with trimming your pet’s toenails, most vets are happy to do it for you. When trimming nails at home, be careful not to cut into the quick. Trim as far as you’re comfortable with and then finish up with a nail file to smooth the rough edges. For more detailed information on trimming the nails, see How to Give your Pooch a Pedicure.

Bathing isn’t a part of pet grooming that’s necessary every time, especially for cats. Cats seldom need us to give them a bath, but on those rare occasions when one is needed, try to make it as positive as you can. (Read How to Bathe a Cat and Live to Tell About It for step-by-step directions). Outside cats require more baths because they roll around in all kinds of “stuff” and can get oily debris in their hair. Dogs, on the other hand, do need baths now and then. This is another opportunity to inspect their body as you work the shampoo into their coat.

Dental care is one area of pet grooming that’s often neglected by pet owners. It’s easy to forget about the inside of the mouth; however, it’s important to check their teeth and gums regularly for signs of gingivitis or other dental problems before they become serious.

Ear inspection is something my pets would rather I skipped, but it’s important to include their ears during each pet grooming session. Dogs with floppy ears or long hair have a problem with adequate air flow and air doesn’t circulate in the ear canal as well as it does in dogs with erect ears. Humidity can actually build up in their ears keeping them moist inside. If your floppy-eared dog loves to swim, make sure to dry the inside of the ears after he gets out of the water. They can have more buildup of dirt and crud as well, and are more at risk for ear infections than dogs with erect ears. Regular inspection of your pet’s ears can catch an ear mite infestation or yeast infection in the early stages.

Regular pet grooming allows us, as responsible pet owners, the opportunity of a hands-on inspection of our pets as well as helping to keep them clean. It’s time well spent, and is as healthy for us as it is for our pets.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Give Your Pooch a Pedicure


By Suzanne Alicie

One of the tasks that often gets overlooked by dog owners is the doggie pedicure. Unless you have a breed that gets groomed often you may not spare a thought to grooming your dog’s feet. But this is actually very important for their health and mobility. As a responsible pet owner you will want to meet all the needs of your pet.

Most dogs who are walked regularly or allowed to play outside wear their nails down to a natural length. But if your dog doesn’t take care of this naturally it is important that you take care of it so that your dog doesn’t suffer from bent and broken claws, or claws that actually grow sideways. This is a common problem on the front paws where your dog’s weight rests. If the two front-most claws get too long when your dog walks, they will spread apart and bend instead of wearing down naturally.

Another problem many dogs experience is when the fur between the pads on their feet gets too long, they lose traction and can easily slip and fall down stairs and on hard floors. It is important that you realize as a dog owner that a doggie pedicure is not just to make the dogs feet pretty, it can help you avoid additional vet bills and save your dog from unnecessary pain.

To perform a doggie pedicure at home you will first need to make sure that you have all the supplies on hand. Over the years I have found what seems to be the ideal tools for doggie pedicures and keep them all in a drawer to use after baths. We have two large dogs that have thick hard claws and lots of hair around their pads. My pedicure supplies include:

• Dog nail clippers – heavy duty for large dogs
• Small scissors
• Styptic powder
• Antibacterial ointment
• Personal hair clipper – small such as for bikini line or eyebrows.
• Heavy duty emery board/electronic dog nail file system

I usually sit on the floor where the dog can lie down in front of me. I start with the back paws because they usually require less work. The hardest part for me is the clipping of the nails. I am always scared I will cut the nails too short and damage the quick. Sadly at times I have, but styptic powder stops the bleeding. Nails should be cut straight and fast to avoid bending and tugging on the nail. Always make sure your clippers are sharp and won’t cause your dog pain.

Once all the nails are trimmed I move to the “toe hairs.” Using a small pair of sharp scissors I trim long hairs that are around the nails and the ankles of the dog’s feet, front and back. Then I use a personal hair trimmer to get in between toes and pads to remove the hairs that could cause them to slip and slide.

The next step is smoothing the nails so that they won’t split, crack, or cause nasty scratches on me or the dog. I like electronic filing systems but my dogs don’t like the noise, so it is usually faster to use a heavy duty emery board. No matter what you use, the idea is to smooth the rough edges and leave your dog with slightly rounded claws.

Once all the trimming, clipping and shaping is done, all that is left is applying an antibacterial ointment to any places where I have cut the nail too short or caused irritation of the paws with the hair clippers. A small dab of ointment to promote healing and kill germs, and voila! Doggie pedicure finished.

Not all dogs will lie still and allow you to manipulate their feet in this manner, and each dog may require a different approach. For example, with my two dogs I have one that requires another person to pet her belly while I work on her feet and the other one who tries to gnaw on my hand while I hold the foot I am working on. Neither of them is really scared or trying to bite me, they are just letting me know they are not happy with what I am doing. Now if I pull out the electronic file and turn it on both of them will bark at it and try to bite it. Every dog is different, and you may have to make some adjustments to account for the things that will frighten or upset your dog.

If you are afraid your dog will bite you, do not attempt to give him a pedicure yourself; take him to a professional groomer. Dogs can sense your fear and nervousness and will react in kind because they don’t realize that you may be afraid of them or of hurting them. All they know is that something is frightening you and therefore they will become nervous, skittish and possibly defensive as well.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.