Get a group of groomers together and they will talk shop, and just how important nail care is to pet owners is a common thread.
Groomers say that when they ask a customer what sort of hair style is desired, the answer is almost always, “will you cut his nails?” Though this somewhat odd response makes stylists smile, because it shows that dog, and cat, claws rank high on the list of what is important to the human on the other end of the leash.
“One of the main things that customers mention is getting the nails trimmed, and they will very often ask if the nail trimming is included in the price,” Sean Dowling, owner of Sean Patrick’s Pet Spa, in Maryland, said. “We include trimming automatically with every groom, but buffing the nail may come at an additional fee. I notice that people don’t always know if the nails are in need of care, the just know they should ask us to check them and take care of them if necessary.”
Dogs, and cats, are not always fans of having their claws cared for, but having claws properly manicured is important. Overly long nails can effect how the paw contacts the ground as the pet moves, causing misaligned joints and discomfort. Dew claws, left untrimmed, can actually grown into the pets skin, creating painful sores.
“We clip and buff all dog nails at The Grooming Salon,” Nancy Pasco, a stylist there, said.
Nail buffing smoothes sharp edges that may be left after merely trimming the nail, and allows the groomer to get the nail as short as possible. Rotary grinding tools are popular with groomers. The battery operated variety is handy because not only is there no cord to deal with, but if the tool accidentally comes in contact with pet hair, the unit will normally slow or stop before serious damage is done.
Most groomers choose to use coarse sandpaper bands when working on pet nails, as they are not prone to getting as hot as some of the grinding stones do.
“To safely buff nails on long haired dogs, use panty hose or a child’s sock and push the nails through the weave to work on them,” Carol Visser, owner of Two Canines Pet Services in Maine, said. “You can hold the hair back in the stocking while holding the foot and it doesn’t get in the way.
“I recommend not getting the nails wet before buffing, they become too soft.”
She also suggests this tip, “we do nails on most big dogs in the tub for better control.”
Many dogs feel slightly less secure in the confines of the bath tub than they do on the floor or even on a grooming table, and behave a bit better for their “manicure” if it is performed there.
Getting a Trim
Most stylists have a favorite nail trimmer, and for many it is the Aussie Dog model.
“They are modeled after similar trimmers on the market, which were originally designed to cut cable,” Bob Edman, owner of Aussie Dog, said. “I have these made specifically for pets with special steel and they have a super edge on them, which can be easily sharpened.”
Using very sharp nail trimmers is important because a dull trimmer puts crushing pressure on the nail before cutting, causing the pet discomfort. The Aussie Dog trimmers are also designed with a smaller handle than found on some of the competitors trimmers.
“Most groomers are women, and these fit their hands better,” Edman said.
Beyond basic shorting of the pets nail, the trend towards decorating claws is on the rise.
Warren London nail pens were voted new product of the year and were the recipient of the prestigious Barkleigh Award in 2012.
“We offer water based polish pens that are low odor, very safe and non toxic,” Eric Bittman, president and CEO, said. “They come in 11 colors, seven basic colors and a new neon collection of four. Because they are in pen form with a fine tip, they are great for nail art.”
The company’s website, www.warrenlondon.com, shows many photos of incredibly intricate designs done on nails with these pens, and even offers a “how to” video by famed creative stylist Dawn Omboy. The polish dries in seconds, a huge bonus when dealing with wiggly pups.
There are other unique products available for paw care as well.
Pampered pets can get their toes treated with deep cleaning Paw Fizz tablets that Bittman says are, “anti microbial, fighting bacteria and fungus, and helping with yeast infections.”
After getting those paws super clean, groomers can apply Grapeseed Oil Paw Revitalizer to soothe dry, cracked pads.
Taking care of pets nails is an important part of the grooming process, and there are many excellent tools available to make this part of a stylists job easier, and even more colorful.