Need to learn how to look after your pet's nails without a vet visit?
Try these six steps for nail trimming at home.
1. Be prepared - get all of your equipment ready first, including some of your pet's favourite treats!
2. It is easier to have your pet in a sitting or lying down position. Cat's might feel safer wrapped in a towel.
3. Hold your pet's paw and apply gentle pressure to the base of the nail to help move the nail away from the pad (this is particularly helpful in cats.)
4. Trim the tip of the nail at the point where it curves around. It's always best to take less rather than too much. Avoid trimming the quick (nail bed) - this can be seen in a white nail (pink tissue) but not so easily in a black nail. If you do happen to cut too far and there is a bit of blood, don't worry, just use a cake of soap to 'plug' the nail and stop the bleeding!
5. Reward your pet after each nail is trimmed - food treats are great and create a positive experience for your pet.
6. Don't forget to trim the dew claws on the inside of each fore-leg (and in some pets, the hind-leg). These nails are easy to miss but are often the longest nails as they are not worn down as your pet walks.
Trimming your pet's nails may seem daunting and it never hurts to ask your Vet to show you how it is done the first few times to make sure you are doing it correctly. Once you have done it a few times you will be able to become more confident. Practice makes perfect!