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Discussion Starter #1
I feel like a failure here, not getting our new dog to the point where I can do his nails.

Bit of background, for our first dog I spent many weeks working on the clipper for her, and then a Dremel. Lots of desensitizing, treats, different methods, but now she'll lay down and I can easily do a paw or two (with a treat!), then the rest. She doesn't love it but she's good, and her nails are a proper length.

With our new guy, no go. He's sooo gentle and sweet, but is incredibly strong and when it comes to his feet, kicks like a kangaroo while wiggling like an oiled snake. In January I took him to a groomer and she had me hold & distract him with treats and managed to do his front paws, but no dice on the back.

Since then I've been working on desensitizing him to me touching his nails, and after a few weeks I was able, and could scratch his nails with mine, but bring out a file or anything else and he goes crazy. With husband feeding him chicken I was able to do his front feet once but no chance on the back - which are the scary ones.

A few times now we've tried it with my husband holding him and me trying for the nails, but at this point I'm afraid he'll twist so hard he'll break his own legs - he's insanely strong and very defiant on this. Nevermind the screaming he does, little drama queen.

He chews his back nails now, and they're longer than his toes, and to me they're in a 'danger zone'. I'm now desperate. I've called the vet and if I take him for a checkup they'll give me a sedative to give him (Acepromazine or 'Quamicon' (?)) that will have him very drowsy for 6 hours.

If I do the sedation route, I'd use it once to do his nails, then again a week later when the quick's receded to hopefully take them down much further. Ideally I could work to have him be better with it or take him to a groomer for future trimmings.

Has anyone gone the route of sedative? I'm very wary of unnecessary medications and wish it hadn't come to this. Any other suggestions for natural sedation, etc?
 

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Zoe, Phoenix, Alice - ACDx
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I wouldn't use ace on him. It can make things worse. It only sedates the body and not the mind so they get even more freaked out. If you really need a sedative I'd go with one that is benzo-based. Or ask the vet to give him light sedation (not ace) and have them do his nails. That way they are all short and you can work on re-conditioning him to nail clippers.

With him I would go back to basics with the counter condition and just feed him treats for seeing the tools then work up to him choosing to give you his paw, clipping one nail, etc. He might need tinier baby steps than your other dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
He definitely needs tinier steps. Just getting him to the point where I could gently touch his feet while petting him was huge - I suspect that at some point he had his nails trimmed off and the quick was cut on them.

When you suggest having the vet trim them down - how so? They are quite long but the white cuttable area is only 2-3mm long on them. He probably needs to have 7-8mm trimmed off, though they can't do that all at once.

Good to know about the ace - I'd think that would be terrifying. I'd rather he be mentally drowsy too so he's relaxed when it's done - like a 20 year old who's super drunk getting a tattoo. ;)
 
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Zoe, Phoenix, Alice - ACDx
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The vet would just cut what they could, too! It might just be easier on you to have them do it and if they give him some happy drugs he won't care. That way they are all short and you can just worry about handling his feet and working on counter conditioning. Hopefully that makes sense!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't think they'd be able to do much at all - 2mm is one thing with a Dremel, but with cutters it's not enough to do without likely hitting the quick, I think. Do you mean they'd just cut through the quick on all the toes and get them short?

I went over to one groomer and they checked his feet and said they'd only be able to do a few as there wasn't enough nail past the quick. At another groomer they also do Dremel and going forward I might take him there where I can hold and distract him and they can Dremel. And I don't want him put in a groomer's noose as I think he'd thrash and hurt his neck, and crushed trachea is a real concern with him.
 

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Zoe, Phoenix, Alice - ACDx
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Oh yeah, if they won't be able to cut too much then I probably wouldn't do that either. It would be too painful to just cut them all back short. It really sucks because when they grow out really long they need to be trimmed more often to reduce the quick in the nail. Poor guy! I'm sorry he doesn't like it! :(
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, little guy's been through enough, I don't want him to have pain like that. Fin's nails were also horrendous when we got her, and her terrible foster had clipped them and 'only clipped a few quicks'. Ouch! Needless to say she was terrified of having anyone touch her nails.

Thankfully she responded well to feet-training and it worked out well to Dremel each nail for just a second - not much comes off but that quick sure reacts.

I'll ask for a benzo-based sedative for him, fingers crossed everything goes well - thanks for your help. :)
 

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Have you had the vets try to do his nails? A lot of dogs that come into my work have either failed at having nails trimmed at home, or have even been told by groomers that the dog may need sedation to have the nails done, but we usually encourage people to let us try them without sedation first, and many are ok, or at least manageable. They're in a strange place, usually more effectively restrained, and they have no familiar people for "back up", so frequently they're much less resistant than with their owners. A lot of times, we recommend for these owners to continue conditioning at home to having the feet handled, and some of these dogs do get better over time, others always just need the "quick and done" clipping (this could be influenced by owner effort-or lack thereof- at home). There are also dogs who need oral sedatives for nail trims, and dogs that need injectable sedation for nail trims, but they are less plentiful than people think ;)

It is possible to cut only a mm or two off the nails, but if that's all that can be trimmed, have you tried playing ball or running with him on concrete? You might be able to get his nails shorter bit by bit that way. Some people also train their dogs to paw at sandpaper on a board to file their own nails- that may be an option until he lets you do them. It sounds like this will be an ongoing thing to get his nails manageable, so the best path may be that of least resistance :)
 

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i have never had a dog that needed his nails doing before we got our hound Ben. even his are not abnormally long, as he runs and walks about on concrete quite a bit. i have seen him chewing them as well. it did hurt a bit when he was jumping up on us, so when we had him neutered recently, we asked the vet to clip his nails as well, and he did it for free whilst Ben was under anaesthetic...

i think it is quite risky to cut a dogs nails yourself, if he wont keep still, for obvious reasons. someone i know, who had a wolfhound, used to file his dogs nails. that might be a safer option, if the vet is to expensive for you.
 

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i have never had a dog that needed his nails doing before we got our hound Ben. even his are not abnormally long, as he runs and walks about on concrete quite a bit. i have seen him chewing them as well. it did hurt a bit when he was jumping up on us, so when we had him neutered recently, we asked the vet to clip his nails as well, and he did it for free whilst Ben was under anaesthetic...

i think it is quite risky to cut a dogs nails yourself, if he wont keep still, for obvious reasons. someone i know, who had a wolfhound, used to file his dogs nails. that might be a safer option, if the vet is to expensive for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We walk constantly on cement sidewalks, on average 2 1/2 hours a day. Arwen the Dremel is a filer, I don't use an actual clipper on them.
 
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