I and many others have found Dremeling dog nails to be a great alternative to clipping them. It is not surprising that many dogs react badly to nail clipping. Even if you do not cut painfully into the quick, the motion of clipping still pinches the nerve, which can be uncomfortable and even frightening for any dog. Dremeling is a great way to maintain healthy nails, and to lessen stress for everyone involved. You don't have to be a professional to do a good job, but there are some important steps involved in Dremeling nails. If done correctly, your dog will be much safer and more comfortable. I Dremel Miles' nails once a week. If you are just discovering Dremeling and your dog has long nails, you can Dremel more often (every 4 days) until the quick retreats to a healthier length.
Variable Speed Dremel (NOT single speed). Cordless ones are heavier but less disruptive to the dog, corded ones don't require charging and are lighter.
Sanding Drums: 1/2” diameter, Fine 120 Grit, Dremel #432
Optional (but useful) Tools
Safety Glasses, to keep nail dust out of your eyes
While going to the quick is uncommon when Dremeling dog nails, in the case of an emergency, it is good to have a quality clotting agent on hand. SuperClot is my favorite as it instantly takes any pain/irritation from the affected area, and because it is clear and odourless. If you put it on instantly, your dog will never even know that you made a mistake, and any negative associations will be 100% avoided.
Dremel Ez-Drum Mandrel, Dremel #EZ407SA. This inexpensive part is an absolute must-have, in my opinion. Finally sanding bands can be replaced easily and with no other tools. Shown below:
For a medium or small dog, I recommend that you place the dog belly up on your lap, at least for the first few times until you really get the hang of what you are doing. A large dog can be laid gently on his or her side on the floor in front of you. Talk to the dog in a soft voice and allow them to relax. Once the dog is used to this process, you can have them up on a grooming table. Miles is a dog that absolutely cannot stand having his nails clipped (I cannot emphasize how passionately he hates nail clipping enough), but as you can see, he is completely content to relax and take a nap while I Dremel his nails.
Put your Dremel on a low speed. Hold up one paw, select a nail, and push any stray fur away from it. While supporting the nail between your fingers, touch the sander against the nail, and then retreat. Never leave the sander touching a single spot on a nail for more than a second. The goal is to smooth little sections off, while never putting enough friction on the nail to create any heat. That is why using a Dremel that has variable speeds is very handy for safety, because the slower the speed, the longer it takes to build friction, and the more control you have. You do not want to warm up the nail, or worse yet, burn it. As long as you never put pressure, smooth the sander along the nail, and never remain in one spot more than a second or two, you will do just fine. The best way to Dremel nails is to focus on one paw at a time, rotating between all of its toes. To see exactly how I Dremel Miles' nails, check out the following video:
Knowing when a nail is finished:
Aim to smooth the nails, and focus on creating nicely rounded ends. I suggest that you also gently take away the thin flaky layer that runs along the bottom of each nail. Doing so will prevent any flaking or cracking of the nails. Over time you will learn exactly when to stop sanding. A sure indicator of when to stop is when you begin to see a little white dot in the center of the tip of the nail. That little white dot is the beginning of the quick. The first time, don’t do too much. You can always try again in a few days. If you don't see a little white dot, but you get too close to the quick, your dog will lightly flinch. Stop sanding if your dog shows sensitivity, as this is an even clearer indication that the nail is finished.
When you are done:
When you are finished Dremeling (bottom left), I recommend that you rub a little olive over each nail to add an extra level of protection (bottom right). Newly sanded nails can be very absorbent to both dry indoor air, and outdoor moisture. Adding oil prevents the nails from absorbing nasty stuff outside, and from drying out indoors and chipping.
Welsh terriers make excellent handymen's assistants. Their sense of space, attention to detail, and incredible ability to focus on finer points often overlooked by humans make them an asset to any home repair project. If you are planning a job by yourself, make sure to hire a Welsh Terrier to assist you. You will not find a more attentive assistant. Your Welsh Terrier assistant will be attuned to your every move, will notice anything you drop, and will always be ready to help, even when you don't ask for it. Welshies are experts in managing quality control, and as an added bonus, are fantastic at locating and organizing stray tools. While somewhat inappropriate in their standards of professionalism (urination on fresh materials and random kiss-giving to colleagues on the job are to be expected), their unique skills are extremely valuable.
...Except for an unexpected dive into the duck pond.
Her human Anth had to go in after her on a rescue mission.
Very brave indeed. A knight in shining armour.
Emma the Airedale and Miles the Welsh Terrier were outdone in terrier-'tude when they encountered two Jack Russell Terriers - the most energetic of all terriers. One was smooth-coated an the other was broken-coated, and they were apparently littermates.
Emma and Miles couldn't keep up with the Jack Russells, but they enjoyed chasing them.
Emma: "I went for a dip, and survived the ordeal! Happy happy!"
Miles, I think you have a petal on your nose... What a goofball.
1. Bonding, building trust: Holding the dry end of a bully stick and letting your dog chew on the other end is a great way to connect while you are both relaxing. This is a surprisingly easy and important mini-training exercise you can do to establish good habits. Holding your dog's chew teaches them to trust you with their valuables. Through this simple exercise, your dog will learn that you are not out to snatch away anything good from them. Thanks to doing this consistently when he was a puppy, Miles is not possessive about his toys or chews, simply because he knows he doesn't have to be.
2. Busy dog downtime: Mentally and physically busy dogs such as Miles and other Welsh terriers often take awhile to learn how to relax. It often seems at first as if they only have an "on" switch, and a "off" switch! Providing them with a chew on a regular basis a great way to help teach your dog how to deal with anxiety while also relaxing.
3. Travel, Training Class, Outside the Home: A chew provides your dog with an activity that is calming when traveling, or in any other sort of unfamiliar, exciting, or possibly stressful place. Offering a solid chew to your dog keeps them near you and helps them control their anxiety levels through a self-directed activity. In training class, when there are lots of other dogs around, nothing helps keep a distractible dog focused and calm better than having a bully stick held for them. They will be facing you, and getting out any anxiety through chewing. The funniest thing to see is Miles anxious because he wants to chase other dogs, and in turn chewing harder and harder on his bully stick to distract himself. It really works! The poor guy wants nothing more than to terrorize his classmates, especially when they are tearing through an agility course, but through his chew has an outlet to re-direct and focus his frustration, energy, and anxiety -- all while staying in one spot, and behaving himself. With a high prey drive dog, I feel it is extremely important to offer such release when you are putting them in a confined space like a car, small classroom, friend's home, etc. Give them a tiny outlet, and you will avoid all sorts of unnecessary stress and problems!
Fat-free American & Canadian beef chews are available at our sponsor's shop www.beefchew.com