Nail Trimming Your Italian Greyhound
It’s important for you to keep your Italian Greyhound’s nails trimmed. Overgrown nails can ruin a Italian Greyhound’s appearance, permanently splay his toes, and even impede his ability to walk. Neglected toenails can curl all the way around to perforate the footpad, a situation that requires veterinary attention. Groomers offer nail trimming services, but you can do it yourself at home. If you have been handling your Italian Greyhound’s feet, you have begun the desensitizing process. At first, just nip the tip of each nail on a weekly basis to get the Italian Greyhound used to the procedure. Later, your Italian Greyhound should receive monthly pedicures.
Instead of waiting for your Italian Greyhound’s nails to get long before trimming them, trim his nails often, every two to four weeks depending on growth rate and activity level. Clip off a small amount. As nails grow longer, the blood supply grows out as well, making it more difficult to trim the nails short.
Nail clippers come in several sizes and types. Some resemble scissors, some look like pliers, and one is known as the guillotine style because it cuts with one blade. The pliers-type clipper is arguably the easiest to use and is available in sizes to suit every Italian Greyhound from a Chihuahua to a Saint Bernard. Regular nail clippers become dull over time, and once this happens they need to be replaced. Because short nails are a must in the show ring, many show Italian Greyhound breeders and handlers favor a power nail file that works something like an electric sander to file down the nails. An electric grinder takes some getting used to, and not all Italian Greyhounds are comfortable with the process, which is why show Italian Greyhound breeders start using it soon after Italian Greyhound puppies are whelped.
Some breeders and handlers opt to use a nail clipper that operates like a Dremel tool. Italian Greyhound Puppies must be accustomed to this tool very early.
Nail trimming is easiest with the Italian Greyhound on a grooming table. Face his rear end and use your body to support him while you lift each paw so you are looking down at the footpad, as if you were shoeing a horse. The nail is solid where it emerges from the paw but grows downward into a hollow, shell-like portion near the tip. This is the part that needs to be trimmed.
The tricky part about Italian Greyhound pedicures involves the vein within each nail known as the quick. If nicked, it will hurt and bleed—and your Italian Greyhound may yip because it hurts. Quicking a nail is not a major calamity though, and it happens to every Italian Greyhound now and then, especially those with black nails. On white nails, the pink vein is visible, removing the guesswork. A dab of styptic powder instantly stops the bleeding. This product is available in pet supply stores, grooming salons, and pet supply catalogs. In a pinch, a rub from a soft bar of soap or even a dab of flour is the next best thing. Keep pressure on the nail until the bleeding stops, and don’t immerse the paw in water—that will only make it more difficult to stem the bleeding.
If the Italian Greyhound misbehaves while you are trimming his nails—and this is not unusual because many Italian Greyhounds dislike having their nails clipped—firmly tell him, “No,” and don’t let go of the paw. If the Italian Greyhound wins this battle, it will only become increasingly difficult to trim the nails. If your Italian Greyhound is frightened and stressed, ask a friend to help hold the Italian Greyhound while you continue to cut his nails. Stay calm and positive while you trim the nails, and be sure to tell him what a good Italian Greyhound he is when he cooperates. Don’t forget to clip the dewclaws, small thumblike nails that can be found on the side of the rear and the front feet.
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