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Is my dog eating the right amount? NYC

Dogs That Eat Too Much or Eat Little:

Causes and Solutions

Some dogs never satiate their appetite. They are always hungry and anxious to get more food. They are by the table, when the rest of the family eats, waiting for someone to offer them a piece of any food. But there are also those who eat too little, due to causes such as illness or psychological depression.

The habits and customs of the owners of a dog influence the animal more than it may seem. For example, a dog that does not walk or play enough will have less and less interest in doing so and will take refuge in food, as a source of satisfaction.

If your dog eats too much, it should not be allowed to eat between some hours, even if it is very insistent. When the veterinarian marks a specific amount of daily feed, the dog does not need more food and, if he wants more, it is on a whim.

If he is allowed to eat in between hours, he will develop bad habits or unwanted behaviours, such as going to the trash can to steal leftovers, as his appetite will never be satisfied, or as the case may be, the dog will eat anything he finds on the street.

One solution to correct this inappropriate and unhealthy behaviour is to consign the dog with a muzzle until this inappropriate behaviour has been corrected. Another is to visit a dog trainer in your city for a check-up and advice (readers in Boston, Massachusetts, Albany, and New York City have an impressive selection of certified dog trainers to choose from).

It is important to know the daily amount that the dog should eat, according to his weight and age. The veterinarian will recommend the appropriate amount and frequency of serving of the ration. Do not forget these guidelines to so; you don’t let your dog become a gluttonous dog.

There are cases of gluttonous dogs, which destroy furniture when left alone at home. If there is no food available, it generates a state of stress and anxiety, which results in this type of maladaptive behaviours. This situation can be alleviated: with a long walk when the dog is alone at home. You can also leave toys for him to bite and play with, as well as his feed ration. On the other hand, it is advisable to discard that myth that the insatiable appetite of the dog is due to a disease called diabetes mellitus or hormonal alterations.

Decreased appetite in the dog may be due to several causes: a disease, the ingestion of medications, or a psychological problem.

With high temperatures, more fluid is ingested, and some dogs eat less because of this.

Possible causes why the dog does not eat:

    If your dog eats “goodies” between hours, his appetite decreases, and this is not recommended for his health. It can take more pounds than necessary, and obesity is a disease.

    It may be that the dog searches for food scraps in the trash, It improves his appetite improperly and makes him rejects your food. If so, you have to put your garbage or trash can out of reach. Also, this habit can be dangerous for you and your dog because, in an outbreak of infections, your dog can get infected through such practice and infect you too.

    With high temperatures, more fluid is ingested, and some dogs eat less food than usual.

    The appetite of dogs also varies according to age. A young animal eats more food. Older dogs lose their olfactory ability and decrease their activity level, so they eat less.

    There are animals that lose their appetite because they are sad or stressed. The death of a family member or a move can trigger changes in behaviour and decreased appetite.

Tips to restore your dog’s appetite: (always under veterinary supervision)

    Find a feed with a taste that you like especially. In the market, there is much variety: chicken, veal, pork, lamb, vegetables.

    Lightly moisten the dry feed with hot water.

    If you usually eat dry food, change a season to the tin food, which is tastier.

    Most dog feeds are high calorie feeds. Regardless of how much the dog eats, it will have enough caloric intakes, so do not overfeed it.

If you have questions regarding this blog or your dog has some serious behavioral challenges that you’re at a loss on how to address, be sure to contact your local dog trainer in NYC Manhattan Brooklyn Bronx Long Island New Jersey or Westchester. We professionals have the expertise to turn a puppies or adult dog’s behavioral challenges, including basic dog training, dog training, dog aggression, dog food aggression, potty-training issues and much more, into triumphs. Always do you research before choosing a trainer and search for the most experienced company on Google using phrases such as dog trainer Manhattan, dog trainer NYC, NYC puppy training, NYC dog trainer, dog trainer Brooklyn, dog trainer Bronx, dog trainer Long Island, dog trainer Westchester, dog trainer New Jersey or any other search that correspond with your region and behavioral issue.

Affectionate Dog Breeds in NYC!

Affectionate Dog Breeds!

Most people envision their new puppy or dog as a cute, fluffy, furry, and cuddly companion. However, this is not always the case. Some dogs tend to be more affectionate towards their owners than others. All dogs are sweet and lovable (of course), so we decided to reach out to the public as well as some of our clients to gather more data! With this information, we were able to narrow it down for you!

Check out some of the most affectionate dog breeds!

Labrador Retriever

Golden Retriever

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Bichon Frese

American Pitbull

Collie

Bulldog

Great Dane

 

Wags and woofs,

If you’re interested in finding out more about our training, please give us a call today!
You can reach us by email or phone:
alex@offleashk9training.com
646.741.0202
www.nymetrodogtrainers.com
www.dogtrainermanhattan.com
www.longislandnydogtrainers.com
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook for daily photos and videos of dogs in training!

NYC Doggy Mirth Revealed?

NYC Doggy Mirth Revealed?

I’ve often wondered what my pooch thinks when I laugh or find something humorous. There have been times that I’d swear she knows and actually gets the joke of a situation. So I decided to do some research on doggy brains and their level of sophistication.

Initially, my research revealed that science has in the past and is currently studying everything from ways rats react to being tickled (courtesy of a related story from Slate.com found here at http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/features/2014/the_humor_code/do_animals_have_a_sense_of_humor_new_evidence_suggests_that_all_mammals.html) to analysis of the uninhibited nature of our pooches and ways they react to our reaction to their antics. See the story on that topic from Moderndog.com at this link http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/do-dogs-have-sense-humour/259.

Still, some psychologists posit that certain breeds of dogs have a sense of humor while other breeds don’t. Okay, but I don’t think I entirely agree. In any case, my dog is a German Shepherd who takes her working nature seriously; she likes to help me pick up and dispose litter in the yard and is always eager to assist with just about any task.

A Psychology Today article on the subject by Stanley Coren, PhD and Department of Psychology Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia (read full article here at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/201512/do-dogs-have-sense-humor) refers to a study on animals and their sense of humor in the research of Charles Darwin. Specifically, one example used is the way a dog, during a game of fetch with a stick, will retrieve the prize only to withhold it and run in the opposite direction as soon as his or her human makes the effort to take it away. 

Coren, the author of a number of books about dogs and psychological research unrelated to dogs, makes note of the most playful breeds versus their canine counterparts. 

For example, he lists Golden Retrievers among the 11 breeds that are considered the most playful; German Shepherds in the group of 11 breeds considered to display above average playfulness; Dachshund one of 12 breeds of average playfulness; Siberian Husky one of 12 breeds displaying below average playfulness; while bulldogs represent one of 11 breeds considered to be the least playful. See the full article to identify your own pooch’s ranking.

All this research and observation aside, I still believe my pets have a sense of humor – and that includes my cats. I am usually on the receiving end of their practical jokes, which I truly don’t mind!

On another topic, if your Metro NYC pooch could use a refresher in obedience training or has other behavioral issues of concern, be sure to contact a local Off Leash K9 Training professional. We are located nearby with trained staff in Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester. Bronx and Brooklyn. We have the expertise to resolve dog aggression, food aggression, potty-training mishaps and much more!

Wags and woofs,

If you’re interested in finding out more about our training, please give us a call today!
You can reach us by email or phone:
alex@offleashk9training.com
646.741.0202
www.nymetrodogtrainers.com
www.dogtrainermanhattan.com
www.longislandnydogtrainers.com
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook for daily photos and videos of dogs in training!

Does Your Dog Understand You? in Manhattan

Does Your Dog Understand You?

I’ve often found myself wondering if my pets can understand the language I use when I speak to them. There are times when they seem to understand every word I speak and other times when they don’t appear to have a clue what I’ve said. So I decided to do some research on the matter and here’s what I learned:

A recent story looking at the way we speak to puppies by BBC News found here athttp://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38561566 posits the idea that pet parents tend to speak to puppies, and dogs in general, in the same high-pitched voice we use to talk to human babies. And our phrasing is often slow, short and comparable to what we would use when trying to converse with “non-speaking listeners.”

However, research has shown that adult dogs don’t respond to this kind of speech the way puppies do.

Similar conclusions were drawn by researchers who were reviewed in a story on the subject in Science Magazine, found here athttp://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/what-dogs-hear-when-we-talk-them.

Whether it’s because dogs have co-existed with humans for hundreds of years and have learned to become masters at picking up on our verbal or physical cues no one can say for certain.

But I believe my pets clearly understand important words, such as “treats,” “play,” “outside,” and “ride.” Then again, I’ve watched my German Shepherd interpret something I’ve wanted her to do before the words have even left my mouth. Extra Sensory Perception? Maybe. I think the jury’s still out on that one.

If you have questions about your pooch’s cognitive abilities as they relate to language consult his or her veterinarian for another point of view.

And if your questions are more of a behavioral nature contact your local NYC, Manhattan, L.I., Westchester, Bronx and Brooklyn Off Leash K-9 Training professionals who can assist with obedience issues in dogs of any age. Dog aggression, food aggression, all phases of obedience and potty-training are just a few of the challenges they can address and resolve.

Wags and woofs,

If you’re interested in finding out more about our training, please give us a call today!
You can reach us by email or phone:
alex@offleashk9training.com
646.741.0202
www.nymetrodogtrainers.com
www.dogtrainermanhattan.com
www.longislandnydogtrainers.com
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook for daily photos and videos of dogs in training!

Grooming is More than a Pretty Face in Manhattan

Grooming is More than a Pretty Face…

puppy in sit

We all want our pups to look (and smell) like a million bucks but did you know that grooming is also important for their overall health and well-being?

A health routine that includes grooming ensures that your pooch isn’t harboring any skin conditions, cuts or scrapes that you may not be aware of. Gone unnoticed, injuries can become infected and lead to more dangerous health conditions. And if your dog is of the long-haired variety, keeping his or her coat from getting too long can limit the amount of hair ingested.

In fact, in some cases, grooming has even saved a dog’s life, according to iheartdogs.com. Check out this link to read a story about just that: http://iheartdogs.com/can-grooming-your-dog-save-their-life/.

Then there are the stories I’ve read on the Internet about those poor homeless dogs on death row at animal shelters who, after a nice grooming, had better success at being adopted into loving forever homes. Here is a link to just such a story with a happy ending: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tOj-p8ANmM.

NYC, Manhattan, L.I., Westchester, Brooklyn and the Bronx have lots of great groomers to choose from, when you’re initially in the market to find your pup’s perfect groomer match. I go by word-of-mouth and veterinarian referrals for my own pets.

On another topic, if you’d like to step-up your pooch’s obedience skills be sure to contact your local Off Leash K9 Training professionals. They have the expertise to address any number of behavioral challenges, including dog aggression, food aggression, potty-training and obedience!

Wags and woofs,

If you’re interested in finding out more about our training, please give us a call today!
You can reach us by email or phone:
alex@offleashk9training.com
646.741.0202
www.nymetrodogtrainers.com
www.dogtrainermanhattan.com
www.longislandnydogtrainers.com
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook for daily photos and videos of dogs in training!

Topical Pain Meds Can Kill Pets in Manhattan

Topical Pain Meds Can Kill Pets

dog pill

As many Bay State pet parents hailing from NYC, Manhattan, Long Island and Westchester already realize, there are myriad human medications that are off limits for cats and dogs – and not all of them come in pill form.

The Food and Drug Administration in 2015 issued a warning regarding topical pain relievers that can be harmful and even fatal for our four-legged friends to ingest.

“Topical pain medications containing flurbiprofen are dangerous to animals, even in tiny amounts,” writes Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian and contributing author for Pet Health Network magazine. In its online article titled ALERT: FDA Warns Popular Topical Pain Medication Toxic to Pets, Ward further states, “The warning was the result of several reports of household pets becoming ill or dying after the guardians used flurbiprofen topical pain relief formulations.”

To see the complete online article go to http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/news-blogs/a-vets-life/alert-fda-warns-popular-topical-pain-medication-toxic-pets.

Flurbiprofen is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat arthritisjoint pain, muscular discomfort and other aches. It was originally marketed as Ansaid® (Pfizer), then Froben® (Abbott), and is now widely available in generic form. It is similar to ibuprofen (Motrin® or Advil®), naproxen (Naprosyn®), and other NSAIDs. Flurbiprofen is commonly added to pain relieving creams and lotions, and that may be how pets, especially cats, are being accidentally poisoned, according to Ward.

The article includes a link to lists of most common poisons for dogs and cats. They are as follows:

Top Canine toxins

  1. Chocolate
  2. Mouse and rat poisons (rodenticides)
  3. Vitamins and minerals
  4. NSAIDs
  5. Cardiac medications
  6. Insect bait stations
  7. Cold and allergy medications
  8. Antidepressants
  9. Xylitol
  10. Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol)

 

Pet Poison Helpline, in 2012 listed the following for the most common feline poisons:

  1. Topical spot-on insecticides
  2. Household cleaners
  3. Antidepressants
  4. Poisonous plants
  5. Human and veterinary NSAIDS
  6. Always immediately consult your pet’s veterinarian if you suspect he or she has come into contact or ingested a toxin of any kind. Keep this emergency contact handy:
  7. Pet Poison Helpline: 855-764-7661
    Email: info@petpoisonhelpline.com
    Fax: (952) 852-4601
  8. The link to the above is http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/contact/.
  9. Your local Offleash K9 Training professional is always in your corner (and right around the corner) to assist with any canine behavioral questions or concerns you may have regarding your pup’s obedience, food or dog aggression, canine potty training and more.

Wags and woofs,

If you’re interested in finding out more about our training, please give us a call today!
You can reach us by email or phone:
alex@offleashk9training.com
646.741.0202
www.nymetrodogtrainers.com
www.dogtrainermanhattan.com
www.longislandnydogtrainers.com
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook for daily photos and videos of dogs in training!

(Canine) Angels Come in All Shapes and Sizes in NYC

(Canine) Angels Come in All Shapes and Sizes

IMG_7881

Throughout Millennia, dogs have been referred to as heroes for performing the often unexpected acts of bravery we humans sometimes shy away from.

For instance, there was Lassie, the famous Collie and family pet who had a knack for finding and saving pre-teens from harm of their own doing. Then there was Rin Tin Tin, a male German Shepherd who was rescued from the WWI battlefield and later became a television icon in the 1950s.

And there are a slew of more contemporary canine heroes; some fictional (like Scooby Doo, and Snoopy) and other real living legends, such as Rigel, who was onboard the Titanic and was later credited with rescuing humans in a lifeboat.

But recently I read about a Border Collie who literally put himself in harm’s way to save the life of a child he didn’t even know, and it left me awestruck. The link from Pet Health Network of the television news clip is here: http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/news-blogs/a-pets-life/stray-dog-jumps-front-speeding-truck-save-little-girl

The dog, aptly named Angel, a stray from Oklahoma City, sustained serious injuries, including a broken leg requiring surgery, after he got between a group of children who were playing near the curb of a highway and a speeding truck that was bearing down on them.

According to an eyewitness, Charles Saxton, Angel saved the life of at least one youngster.

 “He really was a watchdog. That truck came speeding down. They always do. He saved her life. Saved her from getting hit,” Saxton said.

Angel appeared seemingly out of nowhere a few weeks prior to the accident and took on the role of watchdog, said TV News Station KOCO Reporter Dave Detling.

OKC Animal Welfare Superintendent, Julie Bank said, “It really shows the power of the human animal relationship. It shows how much animals are really in tune to what we’re all about.” 

Angel’s surgery was to be donated by a local vet and he was expected to be adopted by a staffer.

This story aired September 25, 2015.

Here are some more hero pups from The Dog Guide, an online doggy magazine, to keep you feeling warm and fuzzy: http://www.dogguide.net/25-hero-dogs.php that celebrates 25 canine heroes.

If your very own canine celebrity is poised for stardom you might want to brush up on his or her obedience training. We’re here to help! Call your local NYC, Manhattan, L.I., Westchester, Brooklyn and Bronx Off Leash K9 Training professional to fine tune Fido’s or Fiona’s obedience prowess. Our staff has the expertise to address and resolve all of your pooch’s challenging behaviors, including dog aggression, canine food aggression, potty-training issues and much more!

If you’re interested in finding out more about our training, please give us a call today!
You can reach us by email or phone:
alex@offleashk9training.com
646.741.0202
www.nymetrodogtrainers.com
www.dogtrainermanhattan.com
www.longislandnydogtrainers.com
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook for daily photos and videos of dogs in training!

Ten Reasons Why You Should Take Care of Your Pet’s Teeth in NYC

Ten Reasons Why You Should Take Care of Your Pet’s Teeth

dog teeth

October may not be National Pet Dental Health Month (which is actually in February) but that doesn’t mean the time isn’t right to review the topic and make it relevant for every month of the year! Chances are you’ve encountered really scary pet breath sometime as a pet parent. Tooth decay may be to blame, and if it is, should be addressed as soon as possible for the health of your pet.

Here are Pet Health Network’s top reasons why dental care is really important!

1. A pet with healthy teeth equals a pet with better breath!

2. Dental disease can actually lead to problems with your pet’s organs, such as the heart.

3. Retained baby teeth can cause problems in pets too! Did you know that full grown dogs have 42 teeth and full grown cats have 30 teeth? Before their adult teeth grow in, though, their baby teeth have to fall out. Sometimes, not all of the baby teeth want to come out. This can lead to problems like gum irritation and tartar buildup.

4. Caring for your pet’s teeth can prevent other health problems, saving you tons of money over the long term!

5. You need regular dental care and you brush your teeth everyday – why wouldn’t your pets? Your veterinarian and these handy videos can help you learn to brush your dog’s teeth found here at http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-checkups-preventive-care/why-and-how-care-your-dogs-teeth and your cat’s teeth found here athttp://www.pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-grooming/how-brush-your-cats-teeth..

6. Did you know that 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 3 years have some sort of periodontal disease? It can be caused by the buildup of plaque, so it’s important to go in for regular dental checkups and cleanings. Learn more about the importance of removing plaque from your cat’s teeth in Pet Health Network’s video Why Is it Important to Remove Plaque on My Cat’s Teeth at http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-checkups-preventive-care/why-it-important-remove-plaque-my-cats-teeth

7. Pets that don’t get dental care can painfully lose their teeth – this can be terribly painful and cause serious health problems.

8. Your dog and cat are very good at hiding pain – you might never know that your pet has a serious dental problem until it’s very advanced. This is yet another reason it’s important to take your pet in for regular dental checkups.

9. Teeth wear out! Your pets are tough on their teeth. Learn the symptoms to keep your pet from experiencing the pain of severely worn teeth.

10. Learn more about the importance of dental care by visiting (Pet Health Network’s) dog dental-care centers at http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-checkups-preventive-care/why-and-how-care-your-dogs-teeth and cat dental-care centers at http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-checkups-preventive-care/why-it-important-remove-plaque-my-cats-teeth.

Additionally, if you have canine behavioral questions or concerns be sure to reach out to your local NYC, Manhattan, LI, Westchester, Bronx and Brooklyn Offleash K9 Training professional. He or she has the expertise to address such topics as canine obedience, canine food aggression, dog aggression and canine potty-training issues!

If you’re interested in finding out more about our training, please give us a call today!
You can reach us by email or phone:
alex@offleashk9training.com
646.741.0202
www.nymetrodogtrainers.com
www.dogtrainermanhattan.com
www.longislandnydogtrainers.com
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook for daily photos and videos of dogs in training!

When is Play Considered Too Rough in Manhattan

When is Play Considered Too Rough?

As dog owners in New York and especially in NYC, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs when friendly play is turning into a fur-flying fight. Because there aren’t many areas in the five boroughs where you can allow your dogs off leash apart from dog runs, it’s nearly impossible to avoid scenarios where your pup is playing with other dogs. Roughhousing is both a normal part of the canine world and an important aspect of social development. This can take many forms including play biting, swatting/swiping, jumping, lunging, and barking. In most instances, these acts are done in a friendly manner, but they can quickly turn into a dog fight if your pup hasn’t been taught how to play appropriately.
How to Avoid Play Being too Rough
1. Teach your puppy or adult dog from the day you get him
While the concept of the pack leader is a hot-topic for debate in the dog world, there is no question that you should be positive role model for your pup. This means you need to teach him what he should do and what he shouldn’t do. Because dogs tend to generalize, if you engage in extremely rough play, he’s likely to think this is the normal way to act around others. Therefore, teach your dog to be calm and relaxed. Focus on praising for calm behaviors instead of excited ones.
2. Be careful when allowing your young puppy to interact with other dogs
Puppies tend to get bullied, knocked down, trampled, and dominated. It’s important to avoid this for two reasons. First, if these are the experiences your puppy has around other dogs, you run the risk of him becoming fearful and/or aggressive toward other dogs. Additionally, from a young age, you’re teaching your pup that this is normal socialization which means he’ll be more likely to play like this as he gets bigger.
3. Try to keep your pup around well-balanced and obedient dogs
Socialization doesn’t mean dogs jumping all over each other. Just existing calmly in the same area is an excellent way to socialize your furry friend.

Signs that Play is Turning into a Fight
If the dog is bares his teeth (not while play biting), lets out low growls, raises his hackles in the middle of play, or a dog lets out a yelp, it’s definitely time to step in. If one dog is consistently being dominated by another-constantly rolled over, jumped on, humped, being play bitten and the other dog isn’t letting go, then it’s time to advocate for your dog. It can be difficult to discern between play and fighting because many of the behaviors for each tend to be the same. However, there are a few significant differences. For instance, when dogs are playing, they will inhibit the strength of their bites and this is why they rarely come away from play with even a slight scratch. They also self-handicap. For those of us with younger siblings, this is a concept we are familiar with. When the older brother acts weaker and lets his younger brother win, this is a form of handicapping. You may see one dog, who is clearly the stronger of the two, willingly roll over. Also, you’ll see a faster dog slow down so the slower pup can catch him. Look for play bows and exaggerated bouncing and hopping because these are also signs that the play is friendly.
dog play

(Image of two dogs play bowing. Credit: http://www.petinlife.com)

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if you’re not sure if the play has turned too rough, you’re better off stepping in than letting it go and seeing what happens. Make a point of advocating for your dog. Be the one to step in on his behalf so he doesn’t feel the need to defend himself. Teach him that you’re there to protect him, and all he has to worry about is being cute. It’s important to make sure your dog has basic off leash obedience training so that you have the ability to use his recall to get him away from a possibly hairy (or furry) situation.

The Two Questions I Ask during Dog Play to Avoid a Dog Fight:
1. Are both dogs willing participants? Is each dog interested in playing with the other? If they are, I refer to #2. If not, I step in.
2. Is the play totally one-sided? If it’s a back and forth battle, I will allow it to continue and simply keep an eye out for some of the signs of aggression mentioned above. If it’s lopsided, I step in.

As long as you ask these two questions each time your dog is playing and act accordingly, you should enjoy nothing but furrrrriendly play!

Written by: Michael Byrnes

If you’re interested in finding out more about our training, please give us a call today!
You can reach us by email or phone:
alex@offleashk9training.com
646.741.0202
www.nymetrodogtrainers.com
www.dogtrainermanhattan.com
www.longislandnydogtrainers.com
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook for daily photos and videos of dogs in training!

The Art of Trimming Your Puppy’s Nails in NYC

The Art of Trimming Your Puppy’s Nails

Budding pet parents have lots of questions about their tiny, fluffy little charges right from the start. Just like for the parent of a newborn human, first time trimming of nails can be a stressful proposition. 

Thank goodness for the experts at Pet Health Network.com! In the 2015 online article How Do I Trim My New Puppy’s Nails by Dr. Mike Paul, a veterinarian and contributing writer, explains the dos and don’ts!

The online article can be found at http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-grooming/how-do-i-trim-my-new-puppys-nails but I have copied it here in its entirety:

1.    Acclimate before cutting puppy nails

“Ideally, you should be getting your puppy accustomed to certain kinds of handling before there is even a need for it. Every day you should be looking in his ears, checking his teeth, opening his mouth like you are giving him imaginary pills and handling his feet and nails. Basically, you should hold each paw and then each individual toe/toenail—giving your puppy positive reinforcement (either verbally or with tiny bits of treats) for being tolerant of the manipulations without actually trying to cut his nails.”

2.    Observe carefully when cutting puppy nails

“While you are getting your puppy used to having his feet and nails handled, look at the anatomy of his toenails. Dog’s nails tend to grow out straight/horizontally at first and then naturally curve down toward the ground and taper to a point. If your puppy has any white nails, you will be able to see the pink area or “quick” at the base/beginning of the nail where the blood supply is. You will want to cut beyond that point to avoid discomfort or bleeding. If you can’t see the pink area, then use the natural curve and narrowing of the nail as your guide and cut just beyond that curve.”

3.    Have your tools ready when cutting puppy nails (There are generally two types of dog nail clippers):

  • The guillotine type—with a circle at the end that encloses the nail and a blade the moves into the circle to cut the nail tip.
  • A scissor type that cuts from two sides coming together

“It is personal preference which you prefer to use. However, both types of clippers can seem awfully big and can make it difficult to actually see the nail when cutting a young puppy’s little nails. In the beginning, while your puppy’s nails are still small, you may find that using your own compound-lever-type nail trimmer may be much easier for you since you are accustomed to using it in the first place, and because it will allow you to more clearly see exactly where you are going to cut the nail.

You will also want to have some type of styptic powder, quick stop or clotting agent available in case you do cut a nail too short and cause bleeding. [Editor’s Note: Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.]”

4.    Start small when cutting puppy nails

“At this point, you and your puppy are already used to feet and toe handling and so try cutting a couple of nails. You don’t have to cut all of them in one sitting. Play with a few. And then cut a couple while giving the same verbal/food rewards and encouragement as before. Trim as many as you both feel comfortable with, but don’t push it. Take a break if you need to and come back to it later. You’ll have a lifetime of this process ahead of you, take your time.”

5.    Don’t panic if your puppy cries

“Little kids cry when they get a haircut. That doesn’t mean their hair hurts. So if your puppy whines when you are cutting his nails, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve hurt him. It may just be that he’s anxious about the process and the strange pressure on his nails. With that being said, can you hurt him if you cut the nail too short? Sure. Will he bleed? Yes. Will he survive? Absolutely. [Editor’s Note: If you do have any concerns about cutting too much or a bleed that won’t stop, contact your veterinarian right away.]”

Tips for cutting puppy nails

  • “Don’t forget that he may have ‘thumbs’ or dewclaws on any or all of his feet. Not all dogs do and they can be hard to find in hairy breeds, but if yours does it is especially important that you trim those since they never touch the ground to wear naturally.
  • The nails on the back feet often are shorter than on the front, and outer nails can wear differently than the inner ones, so try not to just get into a rhythm of cutting the exact same amount off of every nail. You may have to take more or less on any individual toenail.
  • You can always come back again. When in doubt, just cut the tiny tip of the nail. If the cut surface still looks dry and brittle and ‘dead’ you can try taking a bit more. If it looks softer in the center, better to leave it be until next time.
  • You can file any rough areas of the cut surface of the nail smoother with an emery board but you’ll want to gradually get your puppy accustomed to how that feels too just like you do with the cutting itself. (Some people use only electrical grinders to shorten their dog’s nails, but that’s a different skill set and requires getting your dog used to the sound of the grinder, too.)

Most importantly, don’t rush. Take your time and let both your puppy and you get used to the process.”

Always consult your pup’s veterinarian if you have questions or concerns about cutting his or her nails.

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