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I have a question about trimming my V's nails. Every book I read suggested that their nails need to be trimmed often and kept short, however, when I took Amber (now 17 weeks) to the vet a couple of weeks ago and asked her about the nail trimming, she said there was no need to trim their nails, that it would happen naturally by running outside. I'm in Germany and the vet does seem to have some experience with Vizslas as they are not uncommon here but I was surprised by her response. Is this a different view because we're in Germany? Do they not do pedi's here? :) Just wondering what everyone thinks. Should I make sure to trim her nails and if so, how often should I do it? I was hoping she was going to show me how to do it but I guess I'll keep doing it on my own. I'm currently using a cat nail scissors and I try not to get too close to the quick. Also, do all V's nails change color and go dark eventually?
 

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How often depends on the pup/dog. If she is not wearing them down, then they will need trimmed. Some of us clip and file, and others use a dremel. I know we have some good information, already posted on the forum. I'll see if I can find it.
 

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Keeping nails trimmed shorty is vital.

It is well known among handlers of canine athletes that not keeping nails short changes the articulation of a dog's stance and this leads to muscular-skeletal issues, placing stress on joints.

It is a much bigger deal than most dog owners realize.

And what is "too long" is a lot shorter than most people realize.

Your vet is unfortunately misinformed.

I use a handheld cordless dremel and utilize two two different heads:

One is a rubber drum-head that takes replaceable cylinders of sandpaper. These are good for basic nail removal. This head is harder to "shape" with. Tends toward a blunt look.

The other is a stone in the shape of a tall cone. This one is slower going, but makes "shaping" easier (if one cares). Helps with better end result.

Care should be taken with a dremel not to use it too long on any given nail, as you don't want the friction-heat to cause discomfort. One should also not apply undue pressure (for the same reason). A couple seconds, and move on to the next nail, One can always come back to the nail.

Good to condition dog to dremel. Turn it on, show to dog, praise dog, treat dog, be happy, turn it off unused. Repeat until dog is positively conditioned to dremel sound before using.

My Vs nails grow absurdly quickly, not sure if it is the raw diet (or what?), but I usually need to deal with them at least once week.

For a dog to wear down their nails themselves those nails need to be long enough to have contact with concrete or other hard surfaces (which means the nails are too long) which is putting pressure on the joints and not really doing the job. Don't believe that you can let the nails "self-trim." Vs do not take a lot of "maintenance," nail-trimming is the exception.

Our Vs are to athelitic and active to let this go.

Bill
 

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Karen, it's unclear what your vet was responding to, but V's nails typically should be trimmed about once a week. There's not enough friction or contact with the ground, even on city streets, to wear down the nails enough in lieu of trimming. I'd ask him again for clarification, and if he clearly states that nail trimming isn't necessary, I'd find another vet.

I also strongly disagree with the concept of over trimming, there is a limit to how far you should trim, you run the risk of hitting the quick, (a blood vessel in the nail itself), which is both very painful and results in profuse bleeding. If you're trimming once a week and you're taking the tip off you're fine, I much prefer to leave more on and minimize the risk of hitting the quick.

There are three devices to trim with, the dremel, the "Pliers" and the "Guillotine" all of which sound far more medieval than they are, and all have their advantages and disadvantages. I use the guillotine, which is basically a loop that fits over the nail, and with a squeeze, pushes a razor across the nail, slicing it off. It's the least frightening and quickest, and I find it most effective. The Dremel allows more precision as it grinds, which is slower. However, the noise and the extended vibration freaks the dogs out, before they get used to it there's this control aspect that I think is unnecessary.

Again, if you shine a bright light on the nail, you can see the quick inside, and if you use the guillotine, you can easily place it so it doesn't hit it. Have some styptic powder just in case, it'll stop the bleeding, but nipping the tip is fine.

Lastly, nail color coordinates with coat color, neither of which change much...darker coated V's have darker nails, and vice versa. Lighter nails make it easier to see the quick, however.
 

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Keep them trimmed nicely when she's a pup or you'll have long nails to contend with when she's older and they'll never be short enough. Our rescue came to us with longer nails than our girl and we just can't get his shortened enough. It's not horrible but I know he'd be happier with shorter nails.
 

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I take my boy Willie to the groomer once a month to have his nails trimmed. It's a walk-in thing... no appointment necessary. The groomer is very experienced, knows what she's doing, and charges $10. To me, it is worth every penny. No stress for me, and Willie likes to see the other dogs at the groomers. I just write myself a reminder on my calendar so I won't forget.
 

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There is no reason to "freak a dog out" with a dremel, which is why it is smart to positively condition a dog to the sound and vibrations prior to using it, and to be mindful of friction-heat when using. My V stands or lies down for the trimmings, and t is a "no drama" affair.

The advantage to the dremel is that it makes cutting the quick very unlikely vs options like guillotines. Erring on the side of "length" to avoid hitting a quick—which is something to avoid—is not optimal. Not a good compromise IMO.

Getting the nails to the proper length is important. It is riskier with a cutting devise, which freaks out most owners, so the nails are either left too long, or trimmings are outsourced to once-a-month affairs (both of which are likely to leave nails too long).

Bill
 

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Just offering my own opinion...often, there's more than one way to do things. It's good for readers to read different perspectives and have the benefit of different experiences, so they can decide which advice seems most reasonable and suits them best.

My own experience is that the guillotine is speedier,easier and less stressful to both dog and owner, and the extra millimeter of nail removed with the dremel isn't worth the stress the dog initially experiences from the noise and vibration. There are many things a dog needs to be trained to do or to tolerate, and there's also a concomitant level of stress they need to endure in that process, but nail trimming doesn't necessarily need to entail either. That's just me, though. I also believe...and I'm confident that most vets and breeders and owners in general would concur..that if you trim the tips off each week, you're good.
 

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Gingerling said:
Just offering my own opinion...often, there's more than one way to do things. It's good for readers to read different perspectives and have the benefit of different experiences, so they can decide which advice seems most reasonable and suits them best.

My own experience is that the guillotine is speedier,easier and less stressful to both dog and owner, and the extra millimeter of nail removed with the dremel isn't worth the stress the dog initially experiences from the noise and vibration. There are many things a dog needs to be trained to do or to tolerate, and there's also a concomitant level of stress they need to endure in that process, but nail trimming doesn't necessarily need to entail either. That's just me, though. I also believe...and I'm confident that most vets and breeders and owners in general would concur..that if you trim the tips off each week, you're good.
We will have to agree to disagree. I think the various forms of nail-clippers are far more stressful for most owners, so they tend to avoid using them. One bad incident, where a quick is cut, causes these tools and clippings to be highly stressful for dogs (who have long memories of the pain).

Even without cut quicks, most clippers put a good deal of pressure on the nails as they cut, which is uncomfortable and stressful for dogs.

Dogs don't have stress from dremels if they are positively conditioned, which is why I mentioned this step from my first post. Since is isn't stressful for either the owner or a dog, the dremel is a tool that is more likely to be used consistently, and more optimally to keep nails short.

I've also got a strong difference of opinion about the preference for the shorter lenght that's easily maintained with a dremel being superior to to just taking the tips off nails. If one looks to experts in the field, like trainers of canine athletes and spots dog oriented veterinarians you'll see a huge push happening to get owners to get the nails short to help prevent injuries to muscles and joints in dogs.

Bill
 

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Thank you for all the responses, I like having different views and different options to try. I'll trim the nails regularly like I thought and ignore the vet's opinion on this one.
 

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Our girl goes to the groomer to have her nails done. She goes about every 2 weeks. One time she gets them cut, the next time she gets them ground. Keeping their nails short is vital to the muscular skeletal structure. This is so much easier on both Dharma and me because Dharma has always been so wiggly! Or so the groomer says. This I can believe! :)
 

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I'm going to include another link to a good write up of a woman who outlines how to train and condition a dog for nail trimming to make it a no drama affair. This link will take to to a home-page, click link on left to see dremeling procedure.

http://www.DoberDawn.com/

While an excellent article overall, I have a difference of opinion on the issue of using cone shaped grinding stones, in addition to the drum sander. She advises against the stone, feeling it gets too hot. I've used stones for decades and wonder if she is passing on things she has read vs actual experience, because I've never seen an appreciable difference between the friction-head potential of the stone vs the drum sander heads. Both require the same care.

Using the stone cone one can get a nicer and more natural looking finish. Hers look blocky to me, and is more typical of drum alone (although one can do better in creating a less blocky look with a drum head if one tries).

Best IMO to get a puppy conditioned to being still for trimmings with you than to send an uncooperative dog to a groomer. I can't tell you the number of dogs I've seen go lame because they were sent to a groomer or vets office and the person trimming (in an effort to keep the dog still) grabbed a paw so hard that it led to an injury.

It is also very hard to get nails as short as they ought to be with bi-weekly trimmings, especially if using a trimmer. With a dremel one can get much closer to the quick, which encourages the quick to recede. Letting the nails grow out has the opposite effect, and undermines any hope of getting the optimally short nails that suit a performance dog best. It is far shorter that most people realize.

Bill
 

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We dremel once a week, if not more. We let Dexter's nails get too long as a puppy (he was hysterical about clippers) and I've been trying to get the quick to recede forever (it's not really working, haha).

Spy said:
Best IMO to get a puppy conditioned to being still for trimmings with you than to send an uncooperative dog to a groomer. I can't tell you the number of dogs I've seen go lame because they were sent to a groomer or vets office and the person trimming (in an effort to keep the dog still) grabbed a paw so hard that it led to an injury.

It is also very hard to get nails as short as they ought to be with bi-weekly trimmings, especially if using a trimmer.
I've heard of a lot of places hitting the quick because the dog is anxious/uncooperative for trims. Yes, the groomer or vet tech might get them done, but I would never want my dog to be in pain if I could have helped prevent it. It's very painful for them if they cut the quick. I also agree that you'd have to be at the groomer nearly every week/10 days to keep them short enough. If your dog does great for the groomer/tech though, then I say go for it! (I'd be too cheap :p).

Spy said:
For a dog to wear down their nails themselves those nails need to be long enough to have contact with concrete or other hard surfaces (which means the nails are too long) which is putting pressure on the joints and not really doing the job. Don't believe that you can let the nails "self-trim."
Could not agree more! The next time someone tells you, "Oh, I don't need to do them, they wear themselves down" - look at their dogs nails. They are almost always still wayyyyy too long. I will say that Dexter's back nails tend to grind down pretty far on their own (I will use the dremel to smooth the sharp tips). So to some degree, it might vary by owner/dog. But generally, I don't think this approach works. And we walk for miles every day on concrete sidewalks.

Spy said:
I think the various forms of nail-clippers are far more stressful for most owners, so they tend to avoid using them. One bad incident, where a quick is cut, causes these tools and clippings to be highly stressful for dogs (who have long memories of the pain).

Even without cut quicks, most clippers put a good deal of pressure on the nails as they cut, which is uncomfortable and stressful for dogs.
This has been my experience as well. I am much more comfortable with the dremel and have never worried about getting too close to the quick. Clippers made me nervous. They also made Dexter hysterical. I'd never hit his quick, so I really do think they pinched him to some degree. If you do use clippers, make sure you use the right size. Our weim, on the other hand, was fine with clippers (but she's less of a drama queen in general ;) ).

Gingerling said:
The Dremel allows more precision as it grinds, which is slower. However, the noise and the extended vibration freaks the dogs out, before they get used to it there's this control aspect that I think is unnecessary.
Just curious, Gingerling, if you've ever tried the dremel personally. I thought the exact same thing, until I finally got desperate and broke down and bought a dremel. Dexter could have cared less about the noise/vibration. I was shocked. Considering he wouldn't let me anywhere near him with clippers (he even got to where he wouldn't nap by me for fear I'd sneak them out :( ), I didn't think there was any chance he'd let a dremel near his paws. He totally surprised me. Our weim was also very shy of noises as a pup, but she took to it really quickly. We just started really slow getting them used to it and bribed them with string cheese. Now I can do them both myself in about 5 minutes. I'm sure not every dog responds that way, but it seems like more people have luck with dremels than clippers when it comes to V's.

I think it probably depends a lot on the dog, but the dremel is definitely worth a try in my opinion. It also leaves their nail tips smoother so they can't scratch you (or the furniture) as much.

It's whatever you and your dog are the most comfortable with though! Just keep those nails nice and short!! :)
 

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Which ever way you decide to go, keep the nail trimming sessions short, and positive. It doesn't need to turn into the dog pulling from you, and you becoming frustrated. If you only do a nail or two at a time, that's fine. It's a work in progress, before they become relaxed enough for you to do all of a young dogs nails at one session.
My vet has helped with very young pups, and it wasn't dramatic for the puppy. I make sure the pup doesn't wiggle off the table. He checks it's nails, while the vet tech has a tasty treat for the pup to nibble on. The pups only thought is on treat.
I could see it not being a positive experience, if it was done differently.
 

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Oscar would run a mile at the sight of the clippers. He would fight like mad to get away from you!! I tried to persevere as I know how important short nails are but it stressed him out so much that it just wasn't fair. Tried the grinder at work and I was so surprised that he didn't care at all. Hasten to say we now own a Dremel and use it every week with out any dramas.
 

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Dex, the question about me trying the Dremel suggests you're trying to change my mind, and/or that my decision resulted from inexperience. Either way, it suggests an unwillingness to accept my decision or my perspective. I won't go into the "piling on" aspect of others who "Like" this approach, either, b/c I think it speaks for itself.

There are most often many ways to accomplish the same thing, and even though it might not be the way you (or anyone else) does it, that doesn't mean it is worthy of confrontation or dismissal, or that it is somehow "Wrong". I've been raising happy, healthy, long lived Vizslas a long time, and my participation here is an attempt to share the benefits of that experience. It is up to the poster to determine the value or usefulness of anything I say, what everyone else thinks about it isn't really important to me, unless you can provide clear scientific documentation from reputable sources in refutation.

For your information, I have used the Dremel, I initially thought it's precision and the better result was worth it. But my V's reaction..two of them...was abject terror..which led me to conclude very quickly that the frankly minuscule difference btwn that and a quick clip done correctly just wasn't worth it. I could have spent the time "Conditioning" him to accept the experience, but that would be more for my needs than his, and that's not the relationship I have with my V's, especially since Dremel results are no better than my ability with a clipper. Being a conscientious owner doesn't require using the latest and best, but rather a disciplined and knowledgeable approach to any issue....clipping the tips weekly is really just fine. That's just me, though.
 

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Here's how we trim our V's nails. I sit in a comfy outside chair. I pick up the dog and hold them in my lap on their back with legs sticking up & out. Their head is near mine & rear end is on my knees.

My husband sits in an opposite chair and trims their nails with our dremel while I hold them tight (think thunder shirt), talk to them, pet them and rub their bellies. They think it's snuggle time, but they're always glad when they are done. No trauma or fear though.
 
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