Nail clipping/Dental care

Nail clipping

How to clip a dog’s nails.

First time you do it I would recommend that a vet or vet nurse shows you how. It is not something to do if you are hesitant or unsure.

Get someone to restrain the dog well for you – remember even placid dogs can bite in fear/pain so if you think your dog could be
unpredictable ask the restrainer to hold the dogs head firmly or slip on a muzzle.

Use a decent pair of clippers and have some cotton wool and a Styptic pencil handy just in case. Trim the nail confidently and quickly level with the pad as you hold
the paw in a natural position. Trim the nail a tiny bit first if you are worried and gradually increase the amount you trim. There is a large quick in each nail – you can see it easily with white nails – it’s the pink area – but black nails you have to use an educated guess. The quick is a collection of blood vessels and nerves. If you cut into it you will cause pain for the dog and it will bleed a lot. To stem the bleed apply direct pressure with cotton wool then use the Styptic pencil to stop the bleeding. Remember the pencil will stain anything from hands to clothes to the floor and it takes forever to get rid of the marks. Cut quicks will upset the dog and he/she will not forget it and may play up each time there after so
it’s really important to get it right which is why I recommend being shown in person first.

Nails are worn down more by walking on hard ground. You can file a dogs nails using an emery board which is less intrusive and most dogs don’t mind – although this only takes a bit off and smoothes the nail. Always remember to do the dew claws as these do not come into contact with the ground so are the most important nails to trim. Talk to your dog and don’t rush the job. Treats and gentle encouragement will help to reassure your dog.

Most vets charge around £15 if vets clip nails if vet nurses do it then the charge is around £5.

How often to trim depends on your dog and what ground your dog mostly exercises on. Most dogs though need a nail trim every 3 months or so. Some never need it.

Dental care

As our Labradors are so companionable, they are often dubbed ‘mans best friends’. But our dogs also share many other characteristics with their owners, including teeth problems. Your labrador can also have a tendency towards developing gingivitis (gum disease) as they age. Gingivitis has also been seen in dogs as young as three, but with a good dental hygiene regime, you can prevent its development.
Two other common problems dogs with poor hygiene have, are loose and abscess teeth. Studies show that 98% of dogs with bad breath are suffering from periodontal disease, a result of plaque build up. Dogs do not normally get cavities, but they are prone to developing a brown substance called ‘calculus’ around their gums. Calculus, laden with bacteria, can eventually cause your labradors teeth to recede, exposing the root. Although antibiotics can suppress gum infection, only tartar and plaque removal can prevent infection from reoccurring. The chances are, if your dog has bad breath, there is a problem with his teeth.

Teeth Development

Your puppy will have a set of sharp puppy teeth except for Molars when he arrives as you will probably find out! Between the ages of 12 weeks and 6 months he will gradually shed his puppy teeth, and cut his permanent, adult teeth. The first permanent teeth to come through are usually the two centre teeth on the top jaw, and the last are the big corner or canine teeth in the top and bottom jaw. Most puppies change their teeth and feel very little discomfort, but occasionally there may be some soreness or bleeding.

The average dog’s mouth has 44 teeth. There are usually 22 on the top and 22 on the bottom. These teeth are divided into 8 upper and 6 lower incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 4 upper and 6 lower molars.

How To Clean Your Dogs Teeth

To make sure your Labrador doesn\‘t suffer from any tooth related problems, their teeth should be cleaned at least once a week. Giving them tartar control biscuits, bones and dry dog food, is also a good way of helping to keep the teeth healthy.

Brushing your dog’s teeth is supposed to be easier than brushing your own, and is really not as hard as it sounds, if you have the right supplies.

Here Goes!

Ok, now you will need some doggie toothpaste and a toothbrush. Always use specially formulated dog toothpaste.
Position yourself and your dog, so that you can have easy access to your dog’s teeth.
Let your dog taste the toothpaste before attempting to brush his teeth.
Allow him to lick the toothpaste off the brush. Once he has now tasted the toothpaste, re-apply the paste.
When he is relaxed, gently pull back his lips and cheeks to gain access to the premolars and molars.
Start brushing his teeth in a circular motion, much like you would brush your own, and be sure to brush where the tooth meets the gumline.
Don’t forget to get the very back teeth, where teeth problems are most likely to develop.
It is important to keep your dog calm and relaxed by praising him and stroking his neck area.Although the act of brushing your dogs teeth can be initially daunting, it becomes easier with practise and routine.

Well Done- you dog is now on its way to clean, healthy teeth!

Question & Answers

Q) Why can’t I use human toothpaste on my dog?

A) Because dogs do not spit out the paste, like humans do, and human tooth paste is not edible. Some human toothpastes contain detergents which can irritate your dog’s stomach, and large quantities of ingested fluoride can upset their stomachs. Your dog will definitely swallow whatever you use to clean his teeth. You can purchase edible toothpaste for dogs from most pet stores, and from your vet. Try to find one your dog will like, with a nice beefy or chicken flavour.
That way, your dog will more likely let you brush his teeth.



15th February 2008