Sandpapering a Dog’s Nails – A New Approach to a Hard Problem

Harold prefers pedicures to having his nails clipped. Lucky Harold. I do, too, but nobody does either one for me. But then, Harold is a cute, little dog, and I’m just the chubby old lady who dotes on him.
The only comfort I have is that he isn’t the only dog who struggles when someone tries to clip his toenails. I’ve tried all the tricks of the trade on him. I’ve read books and looked up information on the Internet. I can manage the clipping now, but it’s always a battle, and they don’t turn out very well. I admit that he’s had some unfortunate experiences. And I admit that I’ve been the cause of a few of those blood-lettings. So, however, have some professionals. It seems that his nails are not normal, that they can’t be clipped back as far as they should be.

I’m in the poverty range of income, so it had been difficult for me to manage the grooming cost of having his nails clipped. It was only because I wasn’t doing it right on my own that I tried two different experts. He bled for them, too, and developed yet another phobia.

I do canine massage, a wonderful talent I learned from my niece when my old dog, Poppy, was ill with cancer. I use it a lot on Harold, now, and again I can say that I wish I had someone who treated me so well. Using massage, I started working a lot with Harold’s feet, getting him accustomed to having them handled regularly. It took a while to get him used to it; he was nervous about anybody touching them.

The problem was that I couldn’t file enough nail to complete half a paw before he rebelled, squirming and crying. Besides that, the files kept falling apart. I tried a fine metal file, a carpenter’s file. It was too strong. By working days on end, for short periods at a time, I managed to get all four paws filed down-alternating between the metal file and the nail file. About the time I was finished, it seemed as though it was time to start on the first paw again.

What finally worked was a compromise. I tried using fine sandpaper. I wrapped a piece around a block of wood and tried that. When I tried it, it was as much as a private joke on myself as anything serious. So of course, life being what it is, the joke was on me. It worked beautifully. The nails filed down quickly, and it was done with smoothness-no scraping, and no endless filing. Of course you can buy a grinding tool for your dog, but for me sandpaper ans a block of wood works just fine.

Since my discovery, I have converted two people to my method. They had had the same problems I had encountered earlier. For them, too, the sandpaper worked. I believe it must be exactly the right strength and coarseness. I begin and end with a short massage when I work on Harold’s nails. He’s come to think of the whole thing as his personal spa treatment. It gives me a set time to give him a massage (he’s old and his long back tends to give him trouble), so I don’t get lazy about it. Just as important, it keeps his nails trimmed, and it’s a procedure that he looks forward to with pleasure.

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