Cutting to the Quick

Just food for thought following on from my post A Dog for Christmas?

I have never had a manicure. As a child, I bit my nails anyway which was put down as a nervous habit at junior school but a disgusting habit at grammar. I tried several expensive foul tasting liquid applications (including perfume) which was supposed to make me stop, and even growing just one nail at a time, but it never lasted. I eventually got my first set of ten naturals in 1989. Funny that, it was the year I met my hubby, so I guess all my anxieties just disappeared.

Our previous dog was a different matter. With him it was a trip to the surgery, with the vet, nurse, hubby and I each grabbing a leg and rotating until the job was done. The dog didn’t really get worried about it, he would just flinch and get twitchy in the legs we weren’t working on, so that made it unpleasant for him and almost impossible for us on our own. If you cut the quick, the nail bleeds which is not good for the dog, and they tend not to forget. If the nails are too long, it’s best to gently shave away the excess length over time so that the blood vessel retracts as well. The internet has a lot of practical advice on this.

clip chartdoggie clip

I have a friend whose dog won’t let anyone touch her feet for whatever reason. As she is a rescue dog, I have a theory that her previous owner was a little careless and hurt her. For her to have her nails clipped is an expensive event as she had to go under anaesthetic for the job.

Now, our current dog is a pushover. This is mainly because when she was a tiny puppy, we went through all the motions without ever actually doing anything so that she got used to it. She has her own special cutters/clippers and supply of emery boards. We also have a really good technique, where she’s on her back on the sofa with one of us at each end. As she has a couple of black nails, it’s difficult to see the quick, so we shine a torch through the nail and gently nibble a little away at a time. Whilst hubby is finishing off by doing the sanding bit with the emery board, I’m rubbing her tummy, so she stays totally relaxed. They say she is a pampered pooch, and I guess they’re right. What is also amazing is that she actually falls asleep whilst we’re doing the deed!

dog nail clippersGrooming

Us women love going to the hairdressers, be it for a trim, cut and blow dry, shampoo and set, perm, hi-lights or colour. There is just something about having your hair washed by someone else, all that lovely head pummelling and massage, the way they get your hair to do exactly what they want it to, but they can keep the hairspray as it just makes me sneeze. I can’t remember the last time I went to a salon, as both hubby and I cut our own hair now, and we’ve saved a fortune!

doggie groomingGrooming the dog is a bit of a game though. Brushing regularly is OK but mention the word ‘bath’ and she bolts under the bed. She does come out eventually and walks sulkily into the shower, then stands there looking pathetic as she gets watered down and soaped with the medicated doggie shampoo. Getting her dry takes more than a rub down with a big towel, so we use a hairdryer. She loves that! We’re not sure whether it’s the gentle heat or the rubs she gets with it as we’re blowing her dry, but she is extremely co-operative, raising her chin when asked or lying on her back to do her tummy. It also gives us the opportunity to check her ears and ruff to make sure no mites or ticks have found their way into her fur. We invested in a tick hook, a crochet hook type piece of plastic that you hook under the tick, twist and pull gently out. Absolutely brilliant as it gets the whole thing, not just the head.

tick hookAgain, this is something we started at a very early age by going through the motions so that she got used to it.

My parents had a dog once that loved to be vacuumed. He barred access to the cupboard and would not let my mother put the damn thing away until he had been hoovered head to tail.


Encourage your dog to chew on hide chews or play with the raggy knots of plaited fibred material that acts like dental raggyYou can even buy doggy toothpaste (though you don’t really need it) if you want to brush your dog’s pearlies, using a soft toothbrush and don’t brush too hard. Worse case scenario is a Vet job, and the dog has to go under anaesthetic. It’s not covered by insurance unless the result of an accident, and can cost anything from £80 to £400 depending on the breed and your vet. Our last dog had teeth like a 2 year old at 9 years of age because he loved hide chews and had at least one every day. Maggie has never been a chewer, so it was a vet job for her this year as she had a build up of plaque that we couldn’t remove with brushing (which she tolerates) plus a piece of wood that we couldn’t see had lodged in a back tooth. She can now smile with confidence, and to keep the plaque at bay, we are adding a seaweed and natural iodine compound available from most pet shops to her dinner.

doggie smileIn my opinion, the earlier you introduce your dog to these important parts of grooming, the less problems/fears your dog is likely to experience. The more straightforward things you can do for your dog yourself, the more you can save on trips to the vet or ‘Poodle Parlour’. These animal grooming establishments, mobile or otherwise, aren’t necessarily cheap, and as some shut your dog away in a cage until it is their turn, that’s not a pleasant experience for your furry friend and loyal companion either.

As I said at the beginning, just a thought…………………..


About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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