Dog Nail Clipping 101

Dog Nail Clipping 101

For a surprising number of dogs, nail clipping is a source of great stress and fear. But it is necessary. Dogs whose nails are not kept short by routine clipping can end up with several issues including trouble walking and nails that curl into the paw pad, sometimes requiring surgery to correct. Nails that have grown into the pad can cause infections as well as being terribly painful. Long nails can get caught on things and rip off causing pain and discomfort.

So When Do They Need To Be Clipped?

Your next question is probably, how do I know when they need to be clipped? If your house has non-carpeted floors, then it’s fairly easy to tell when your dog’s nails are getting long. If you hear that “clickety-clack” sound as they walk across the floor, it means the nail is reaching the floor past the foot pad and it’s time to trim them. You can also look at his feet and if the nail has grown to the edge of the pad (or past), it’s time to trim.

NOTE: It’s easiest if you keep the nails short. As the nail grows, the part that contains blood grows as well, making it harder to cut the nail short without causing pain to your dog.

Depending on your dog’s activity level, they types of surfaces she walks on most often and health, you may have to trim as often as once a week, or maybe only once a month.

There are some dogs that may rarely need a trim. Urban pups that walk on rough pavement rarely need nail trims. Dogs that run around on grass or sit in the house all day, may need them several times a month. It’s best to check the length every once in a while and remember to listen for the sound of nails when they walk.

Dog Nail Trimming Tips

But what if your dog hates getting his nails trimmed? Get your dog used to having his paws handled by squeezing them gently with your fingers before you even try to clip his nails. This is especially great to do with puppies before they even need their first nail trim. Whenever your dog does not try to pull his paw away from you, reward him. Then get out the clippers and try to do just one nail. If your dog stands still, reward him. If he pulls away, do nothing (don’t try to console his fear.) Instead, go back to handling his paws with your hands until he is comfortable again. Sometimes you may need to reinforce him for not moving away as soon as you bring out the clippers, depending on your dog’s level of anxiety. For highly anxious dogs, just do one or two nails at a time and then give him a break.

Be sure to use dog nail clippers, not human or cat. If the nails are short, just trim the very tips off. This is the ideal setting. If the nails are long and curled, you may find the blood in the nail is where you need to trim to. When this happens, you have two choices. You can take your dog to the vet, have him sedated, and they will cut the nails back, past the blood. This is the quick way, though not exactly comfortable for your dog. The other choice is to slowly cut back the nails, cutting right to the blood (but not through it!), which will eventually cause the blood to recede. This takes longer, but is less painful. Consult a vet on which method is best for your pet’s condition.

You should also be looking at the condition of your dog’s nails. Dry, cracked nails can be a sign of many illnesses including but not limited to Cushing’s, cancer or tumors, infection, fungus, malnutrition, etc.

While trimming, look for dry, cracked nails and let your vet know if you notice the nail quality deteriorating. Keeping your dog’s nails short and healthy will keep him happy.

Remember, keeping up on those nails will be easier for you and your dog. The more you do it, the less anxious he will be about it and you can avoid having to cut into the blood. You can also help maintain your dog’s nail health through his diet. A balanced diet should include all the nutrients, to ensure healthy nails, like our Stay Loyal dog food.

Tips for Picking a Pet Sitter

Tips for Picking a Pet Sitter

The most stressful part of going on a vacation or work trip is leaving our dogs behind. After all, they trust us to give them excellent care and they are a beloved part of our lives. Trusting them to a stranger can be scary. The following are a few tips on how to pick a pet sitter so you can relax and enjoy your trip, knowing your best friend is receiving the best care possible.

General experience

It’s easy to assume someone who has been pet sitting for 30 years is better than someone who just started. And while that is sometimes true, it’s not always the case. For example, a dog trainer may decide to add pet sitting to their services. Or maybe a retired vet is looking for something to do and so decides to pet sit a bit on the side. While they may be technically “new” to pet sitting, they definitely have experience handling people’s dogs. So look at their full resume before deciding to interview.

Specific experience

Be sure to notice if they have specific experience that may be useful when caring for your dog. The following are some things that require some knowledge and experience.

Special Needs

Daily medications that are hard to give can cause trouble with a stranger. (This is where a retired veterinarian or a vet assistant with a side job is a great plus!) Some pets even need shots that have to be administered. Ask for references of pet owners with medical conditions they have watched in the past.

Dogs with difficult temperaments is another that can cause issues. Whether it’s reactivity, fearfulness, pushiness, or aggression, these require a savvy person to handle. In this case, a pet sitter that is also a dog trainer may be a plus. They could even train your dog while you are gone.

Some dogs get overly stressed and even have separation anxiety when you leave. Again, a pet sitter who has experience dealing with this is definitely a plus if your dog is prone to anxiety.

Maybe it’s something as simple as your dog needs to go out more due to a small bladder or health issues. Whatever it is, make sure your pet sitter is able to handle it before hiring them.

Can they handle emergencies?

Ask the potential pet sitter what they do during an emergency. Give them a scenario: your dog stopped breathing. Do they have a ready answer? Is it what you expected?

Some pet sitters are certified in Pet First Aid & CPR. That’s a nice bonus. Especially if you have an older pet or one that tends to get into trouble. All pet sitters should be able to quickly and calmly explain what they would do in an emergency!

What about certification?

So anyone can pet sit. A lot of teenagers make extra money by feeding the neighbor’s dog while they go on vacation. But there are also professional pet sitters who spend money on certifications (which means they have more knowledge on pets and participate in continuing education) and industry memberships

(which means they stay up on the latest information and are dedicated enough to their business to spend money on it). Professionals have insurance too, which pays for any accidents that happen while you are a way. What happens if that teenager gets pulled by your large dog, he falls and breaks his arm. Who’s paying for the medical bills?

The Pet Sitters International is a great organization to source a certified pet sitter if you like.


Definitely ask for references. Just remember that they were chosen by the pet sitter so these are going to be guaranteed positive reviews. If they are a legitimate company, look for Facebook or Yelp! reviews that will be more truthful.

Have an in-person interview

One of the most important tips is to invite the pet sitter to your home for an in-person interview. This is so important because it gives you a chance to see what your “gut feeling” tells you about the person. It allows your dog to meet the potential sitter. Do they like him or her? Dogs are very good at judging character. If your dog isn’t warming up to them right away (especially a dog that is not normally shy or reserved), then I’d keep looking.

You have many options when it comes to a pet sitter, so don’t be afraid to interview several before choosing one. After all, you are entrusting them with a life of your best friend, so choose carefully.