At least once a month for an adult Poodle and once a week for pups, you must tackle the grooming chore of nail trimming. Failing to trim your dog’s nails can result in sore, splayed feet. How can you tell if your Poodle’s nails are too long? Well, simply listen. Do you hear a click-click when she walks across the tile or linoleum floor? If you do, that means the nails are touching the floor – and they shouldn’t be. Or, take a look at your Poodle s feet while she’s standing. Do you see the nails touching the floor? The idea is to keep your Poodles nails trimmed back short enough so they don’t touch.
There are two basic types of nail clippers: the scissors and the guillotine. You also can use a nail grinder, but it may take some time to get your dog used to the noise. If you use scissors or guillotine clippers, keep them sharp and clean. Dull clippers won’t make a clean cut, and rusty, dirty ones can infect your dog if you cut too quick and your pet bleeds. The objective when clipping nails is to trim as close to the quick as possible without accidentally nicking it. Dark nails are more difficult to cut than light-colored ones, since it is impossible to see the pink vein.
Remove the dry looking hook at the tip of the nail, cutting off small bits of nail at a time. As you cut the nail shorter, you’ll notice it becomes softer and you’ll see a small grayish-white dot under the nail, which is the end of the quick. When you reach this point, the nail is short enough; you can now move on to the next one. Keep in mind that the more often you trim, the shorter you can get the nail, since the quick actually recedes with frequent trimming. Cut each nail as quickly and cleanly as possible; cutting slowly tends to pinch the nail and cause your dog discomfort.
To trim your Poodle’s nails, hold one paw firmly in your left hand (if you’re right-handed) and place your thumb on top of the foot. Place your fingers underneath the pads so you can spread the toes. With the clippers in your right hand, clip each nail right below the quick with short, decisive strokes. Don’t forget the dewclaws if they were not removed when your Poodle was a pup.
Finish trimming the first paw, then file each nail with a metal file to remove sharp, rough edges that could scratch your legs if your Poodle is naughty and jumps up on you. DO NOT file any nails that have bled. Work your way to the next paw, trim each nail, then file.
If you accidentally cut too close, don’t panic. Apply a styptic powder to staunch the bleeding and continue clipping the other nails. Don’t stop and make a big fuss over your mistake, as it may make your dog even more apprehensive the next time you attempt to clip his nails.
A word of advice: start early. Poodles, like all dogs, must learn to accept new experiences. Begin nail trimming while your dog is a pup and do it every week. Between trimmings, handle the dogs feet to accustom her to being touched. The Poodle doesn’t usually make a fuss about trimming, but it’s still wise to-teach your dog to accept it from a young age. Before attempting to clip your Poodle s nails yourself, you may want to observe your groomer or veterinarian the first time.