One of the tasks which most pet owners need to do on a regular basis is trimming the toenails for their pet. Yet, this is something that many pet owners either do not know how to do or are frightened to do. If you are among this group, we’ll try to change that for you today.

Trimming the toenails for your pet is actually not a difficult task if your pet cooperates. However, many pets do not easily allow this task to be done. Some pets simply do not like having their feet handled and others simply are too active to sit still long enough to allow you to finish your task.

If your pet does not like having his/her feet handled, I recommend that you spend some time working with your pet on this issue. This can be as simple as holding or stroking the foot when your pet is near you. Start out by holding your pet’s feet for just a few seconds at first. Do not attempt to force your pet or scold if he/she pulls the foot away. What you are trying to accomplish is convincing your pet that nothing bad will happen when you handle his/her feet. Finish by giving a treat. If your pet will not allow you to actually hold the foot, then start out by gently stroking the foot once or twice. Again, do not force or scold. Once your pet will allow you to stroke his/her feet without fear, you can start actually holding the feet. Start out holding each foot for only a second or two. As your pet becomes more at ease, you will be able to increase the amount of time you are able to handle the feet. Don’t forget to reward your pet after each session.

If your pet is simply an active pet and does not have the attention span to stay still for very long, try trimming one or two toenails at a time.

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Once you are able to easily handle your pet’s feet, trimming the nails becomes much easier. Basically, you just want to remove the tip. You need to be careful not to cut too short so that the nail doesn’t bleed. If your pet’s toenails are white, it will be easier for you. You’ll see a pink area at the base of the nail which turns white further down the nail. Cut the white area only. If you cut into the pink area, you’ll make the nail bleed. If your pet’s nails are black, you’ll have to guess how far to cut back. With experience, you’ll soon learn where to cut. Start out by removing just the tip of the nail.

If you do cut the nails back too far and one or more of the nails start to bleed, don’t panic. It’s easily fixed. You can simply place pressure over the tip of the bleeding nail with your finger, using a cotton ball or piece of gauze, until the bleeding stops. You can also use styptic pencils (the same type you use when shaving) to stop the bleeding. Another trick which works well with bleeding toenails is to press the nail into a bar of soap. This often cauterizes the nail and stops the bleeding. Other common household items which can be used are baking soda or flour. Apply these to the tip of the nail which is bleeding and press the baking soda or flour firmly onto the nail.

Now, you should be armed with all the information you need to cut your pet’s toenails. Go ahead and give it a try.

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