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January 4, 2016

Nail trimming is a necessity for all dog owners. While many vets and groomers offer nail trims, many pet owners choose to do it themselves, rather than booking an appointment. For those DIYers, nail care products fall into two main categories: functional and fun.

Get the Job Done

In the functional category are the scissors-style and the guillotine-style clippers, with which most customers feel comfortable. Offer both options for the home groomer.

One popular set of clippers is Safari’s Professional nail trimmer. Made from stainless steel, the clippers have a sharp cutting edge and the soft-grip handle makes it easy to keep a steady hand.

“When it comes to nail care, pet parents continue to look for products that are easy to use, durable and will not cause discomfort to their four-legged family members,” said Bob Erler, Andis’ national sales manager. “To make nail trimming as simple as possible, Andis makes two sizes of nail trimmers: one for small-to-medium breeds and one for large breeds. Both trimmers include safety stops to help ensure that the user does not clip off too much of the nail and nick the quick. We also designed these trimmers with ergonomic handles and soft-grip inserts to provide sure handling during use.”

Not all dog owners feel confident trimming their dog’s nails because of the risk of cutting the quick. One up-sell to a good set of clippers is a clotting powder, like Kwik Stop Styptic Powder. These products can be merchandized side-by-side to be sold as a pair.

However, some customers will never feel comfortable cutting their dog’s nails.

“For those uncomfortable with the prospect of actually cutting the nail, Andis offers the EasyClip nail grinder,” Erler said. “This two-speed tool is the easy and stress-free way to give pets a perfect pedicure. The nail grinder is also great for smoothing out rough nail edges after clipping to avoid any scratching on the skin if your pet does jump on someone. Smoothing nails after clipping also prevents scratching and pulling of furniture fabric.”

Grinders span a range of prices. At the higher end, with a retail price of around $40, the Conair Pro Dog Professional Nail Grinder is designed specifically for safely grinding pet nails for dogs of any size. It’s quiet, lightweight and powerful, and includes interchangeable stone/sander attachments.

In the mid-range is FURminator’s Nail Grinder For Dogs and Cats. According to the brand, they provide unique, proprietary nail care solutions that are completely safe and easy to use, thus eliminating the discomfort from the process for both pets and owners. The grinder has two speeds and operates on four AA batteries instead of a cord. It includes an automatic LED light and is made from an anti-microbial plastic that helps minimize germs and bacteria.

On the low end is JW Pet’s Palm Nail Grinder for Dogs, which retails for under $10. The ergonomic grinder is small enough to fit in the palm of the DIY groomer’s hand. It has variable speed controls, LED lights for visibility and guard holes to prevent accidental hair winding. It traps nail filings for quick clean up.

At-home groomers will also find that a nail file comes in handy.

“One of my personal favorite items in our nail care line (and our top nail product seller in volume) is the Dog Fashion Spa Glass nail file,” said Chuck Simons, founder of Groomers Helper, distributors of Dog Fashion Spa. “This two-sided glass file–medium on one side, coarse on the other–does not wear down with use at all and can be popped right in the dishwasher if you want to give it a cleanup.  For a quick touch up, a full PAW-dicure or for dogs that just plain freak out when you turn on the Dremel, this is the answer.”

Many dogs struggle to get up on hard surfaces. Some dog owners strive to protect their wood floors or upholstery.  Nail caps solve both of those problems. Soft Claws Nail Caps are vinyl caps applied with a pet-safe glue and can last up to three months. Likewise, one of the most popular options is Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips. ToeGrips are designed to provide traction for dogs who struggle to get up on slick floors, like hardwood and linoleum. However, they must be sized appropriately, so be prepared to guide customers to the right size for their dog.

One thing groomers want to avoid is being bitten by a dog that is less than happy about nail trimming. A restraint system like Groomers Helper will do the trick.

“Of course the most important thing you have to think of when you are doing nails is safety–both the dog’s and your own!” Simons said.  “There is no better friend when it is time to do nails than your Groomers Helper. It really is the only way to do nails by yourself.”

Have a Little Fun

On the fun end of at-home nail care are cosmetic items like nail polish. Pet-safe options are readily available and are popular impulse purchases. Brands like Pet Head offer non-toxic polish. Their popular Mommy & Me line is designed to let fashion-friendly dog owners match their pets. With a 10-second drying time, the risk of dogs licking it off is eliminated. And, the made-in-the-USA products are free from typical nail polish toxins like toluene and formaldehyde.

Dog Fashion Spa offers pet-safe nail polish as well as nail polish remover. According to Simons, items in the line are free of acetone and other harsh chemicals, instead relying on natural oils and pigments.

Warren London offers their patented Pawdicure Polish Pen, a water-based, odorless, non-toxic polish that dries in less than 40 seconds. Because of its ease-of-use, it is recommended for nail art, one of the biggest trends in human manicures that is trickling into the pet sphere. The Nail Polish Pens apply a quick drying, non-toxic coat of polish that is easy to remove.

Consider displaying the fun and functional nail care items together to spark creative inspiration among your DIY groomers.

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