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Few dogs enjoy nail cutting. However most can be trained to allow their nails to be cut without a major struggle. Start out with a sharp nail clipper. There are two types of nail clippers–the single-bladed "guillotine" type clipper and the "plier" type with two blades. We prefer the plier type because it is easier to see where you are cutting. The plier type cuts faster with less effort. They are inexpensive and can be replaced when they become dull. No matter which type you use make sure they're always sharp. The sharper they are, the less they pinch the nail during the cut. REMEMBER YOU WANT TO CUT THE NAIL AT 45º ANGLE. WHEN WE BRED POODLES WE USED A ROTARY NAIL GRINDER SIMILAR TO A DREMEL ROTARY TOOL TO GRIND THE NAIL. HOWEVER THE VIBRATION AND HIGH PITCHED NOISE PRODUCED ARE NOT APPRECIATED BY THE PWD.Have the dog on a grooming table with good lighting. Have someone to assist you by giving your dog treats while you are cutting your nails. THIS IS A TWO- PERSON JOB AT LEAST UNTIL YOUR PUPPY/DOG IS TRAINED AND ACCEPTS NAIL CUTTING. Always start with the rear feet – lift the foot turning the paw backward so the pads are facing up. Spread the toes apart and nip off just the tips while praising the dog. Finish trimming the remaining nails on that foot. You should treat and praise with each cut. You are not just trimming the nails you are training your dog to understand that nail cutting may be uncomfortable but it does not hurt. If the dog resists stop after doing one foot do some brushing and start on the other rear foot. Front feet are done next in a similar manner. Pick up the foot at the ankle and again turn the foot so the pads are facing up. Cut each nail as you did on the rear feet.It is important to understand the anatomy of your dog's toenails before attempting cutting them. Each nail has a nerve and blood vessels inside them. This live portion of the nail is called the "quick". If the quick is cut it causes pain and bleeding. However if you only cut the "dead" section of the nail, you will not hurt the dog or cause any bleeding.If your dog's toenails are white or light colored, the quick is easy to identify. The quick is pink while the dead part of the nail is white. However most PWDs have black toenails making it impossible to see where the quick begins. By holding the foot with the pads facing up, as described above, it's easy to see what color your dog's nails are. Along the bottom of the nail, you will see a groove. The groove starts at the tip of the toenail, where it is very sharp, deep and distinct. The groove continues toward the base of the toe, becoming wider and shallower until it blends in with the rest of the nail and seems to disappear. The part of the toenail with the deep, distinct groove is the dead area and you may remove it safely.Until you feel confident in identifying the quick, cut just the very tips of the nails. You will get better with practice and by cutting them often (weekly). You will also become more comfortable doing it. The quick tends to retreat back up the nail when they are cut frequently. Some references recommend nibbling away at the tip by cutting off thin slices until you see a black dot appearing at the center of the nail when looking at the cut nail head on. However this technique repetitively traumatizes the nail and the dog. No matter what technique you use accidents will happen and you may draw blood. Nails can bleed heavily and you should have a styptic product available. Kwik-Stop is a clotting powder that is specifically designed to stop bleeding almost instantly. It does sting a little when applied. It's normal for the dog to be a little offended when you've hurt him. Offer your dog an apology and a treat. Most dogs will be reluctant to allow you to cut another nail near the injured one so go to another foot and trim the nails on the other foot before going back to the first. 







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