Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dog Nails

Ugh. Everyone needs their nails done tonight. I try to do dog nails at least once a week, but somehow missed last week, except for Argus. Not one of my favorite chores, although the dogs are pretty OK with it. I've got an Oster grinder that I can use, but it takes longer than just cutting the nails. For years I used the Resco guillotine-style clippers, but they must be made in China now. . . Seems as if the blades get dull sooner, they don't cut as cleanly as they used to, and the whole thing falls apart. After wasting money on three bad clippers in just a few months , I switched to a clipper made by Bamboo, and a year later it is still working well. Strong & sharp & sturdy. Wonder if "Consumer Reports" could do an article on dog nail clippers?

Cutting nails is a lot easier for me in the summer as I have a grooming table with a grooming noose set up on the deck for year around use. Taking the dogs outdoors one at a time, with a pocket full of treats and a bottle of Quik Stop, I can do them all in less than 10 minutes. Because I have AMD, Pigment Dispersion Syndrome and a few other eye disorders (or is it just that I am getting old???) I need good light to trim nails. In cold weather it's tougher for me to do a good job unless we brave the elements, brush the snow off the table and try to avoid frozen hands. If I use a grooming table in the basement, the light is bad. Bringing the outdoor table into the family room is a hassle, so if I do nails in the family room the dogs generally sit on a rug by the patio door for decent light. Sounds as if I am making excuses for not doing nails, but they DO get done regularly. It was easier when Jess lived at home - it was HER job.

It's interesting how the length of the quick varies from dog to dog. Argus has extremely short quicks and it's easy to take his nails way back. Morris was like that too, and even as an old dog he always had short quick and short nails. Murphy was the first Dal I had with those super-short quicks, and Cheryl used to joke that she bred to Murphy for short toenails.

Pauli on the other hand has long quicks, always has. Even though her nails are done every week, she will always have longish nails. Until I started biking her I could always hear her nails on the floor, even after I had just cut them. Since she has been biking, they are a bit shorter, but still bother me. I "could" bleed them, cutting them back a ways and try to keep them that length, but that's messy and painful and not something I enjoy doing. Because she has excellent feet and narrow nails, Pauli's feet look fine.

Josie also has the long quicks, but she has longer toes and thick ugly nails so her feet don't look as nice as Pauli's. Because her toes are not as arched as Pauli's, her nails don't click even though they are longer than Pauli's. We just try to keep Josie's nails "under control". Coral has those same long nails, but she too has gorgeous tight feet. Wats is somewhere in between and is the worst about having his nails done. He doesn't fight it, just tries to collapse on the grooming table. That's his passive-aggressive personality at work.

Argus was very bad about his nails as a youngster. Never really fought and never ever tried to bite, but he vocalized. Oh how he vocalized! Made the most amazing noises, singing and crying and crooning as if he were being killed, all the while wagging his tail. I quickly found out that was Argus's response to stress of any kind. Sing about it! When he had his hip x-rays done for OFA he did the same thing. Sounded as if he was being killed. That's my Argus. Can't remember when he last responded vocally to anything, but I know some of his kids have very large vocabularies! Argus is great about his nails now, swapping kisses for cookies, and standing patiently for clipping or grinding. I use the grinder for indoor show weekends, just because it give the foot a nice look when the nails edges are smoothed off.