Anita Pitts, PetMassage Foundation Level Program of February 2017, wrote, sharing her moment when the light bulb went on. I recognize this as something significant that you can apply to your canine massage practice. Here’s her initial email, my response, and her essay.
I’ve been doing pet massage and nail trimming. I started the nail trimming because, I see it like this. I can do all the massaging, and make pets feel good. But how can anyone feel good if it hurts to walk with long nails. So that has been my quest.
As you may know most dogs are afraid of getting their nails trimmed for many reasons; trauma from not getting permission, to cutting the quick. So, I mainly trimmed pet nails. Something just wasn’t clicking with the pet massage.
I’ve read all the emails you sent. Then one day the light bulb came on and I went back to the basics, reread course books and watched your videos. Asking for permission, breath, move slower, and listen. Those were my issues on my final video demo.
My attention has recently been drawn to long nails too. Especially this last year. I agree; massage alone cannot be effective unless walking is comfortable.
You’ve discovered a perfect combination. Would you will be willing to write a short essay on this – pretty much what you wrote here – so I can share your insights with the people who subscribe to my blog?
Here you go Jonathan.
About a year and a half ago I massaged a dog named Lucy, a 13 yr old, schnauzer mix. She hated to walk on a leash, would not let me touch her, she would snap, bite and throw a fit. She had to wear a muzzle. Owner wasn’t sure if anything physically was wrong with her.
About a month ago Lucy’s owner called to see if I would trim her nails, because she couldn’t, and the vet would have to tranquilizer her.
I’ve never had a dog that I couldn’t trim its nails and wasn’t sure at first what I was going to do with Lucy.
So, what does pet massage have to do with nail trimming? Everything!! That’s when the light bulb came on.
What I learned at PetMassage. I incorporated in trimming nails.
Working with animals Is about being a leader, breathing, being aware, patient, and getting permission.
That’s what I did. It took about 2 hrs. First, we went on a walk. She did awesome. Next vectoring and assessment strokes.
Lucy stood still with the aide of her owner holding her head gently massaging and breathing. I was able to cut her nails short and file them. Lucy’s owner couldn’t believe it. I’m still taking it in.
Dangers of long nails:
- nails digging in paws cause discomfort walking, standing or running,
- prone to split and break up to the quick, extremely painful
- *According to the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies (ESAVS) can cause the nail and even the bone structure of the leg to become deformed. Most importantly a dogs nails are part of their anatomy and having nails that are too long can alter the way in which your dog moves and carries itself. The altered position causes the bones in the feet to sit at a different angle, which in turn puts pressure on joints. Over time this can cause significant joint pain and lead to arthritis.*
Regular nail trimming will cause the quick (blood vessel) to recede resulting in shorter nails.
When trimming nails cut a little at a time. There’s a nerve that causes pain, dogs will let you know when it’s close enough, go slow. Have a jar of septic powder available to stop bleeding and pain.
Nails are too long if you hear clicking when walking, nails touching the floor or extending over paw pad.
Trim every 1-2 months. Depending on dogs environment. Weekly trimming may be required to encourage quick to recede. I prefer safari nail trimmers.
There is no need to be embarrassed, cut them yourself or have someone do it. “SMILE” As Jonathan would say.
-Anita H. Pitts, PetMassage Practitioner in Mayfield KY
A Knead A
Pet Massage, Nail Trim, Groom & more