Keep your dog's feet healthy by regularly trimming its nails. Long nails can interfere with a dog's gait, break off (usually near the base, where it's painful), or cause a dog to slip from loss of traction.
Gently touching your puppy's feet helps your dog grow accustomed to having this sensitive part of its body handled. A dog who is not used to nail care may require two people to trim its nails: one to hold the dog and the other to do the trimming.
To trim your dog's nails, clip the part of the nail that hooks downward. Toward the base of the nail is a small triangle that contains blood vessels and nerves that you do not want to cut. In unpigmented nails, the triangle appears pink, but in black or pigmented nails, it is impossible to accurately see the triangle and you will have to estimate how much nail to remove.
According to American Kennel Club Dog Care and Training (Howell Book House, 2002), a useful device for trimming a dog's nails is known as a guillotine trimmer. To use it, you guide the top of the dog's nail into an opening above the cutting blade, then squeeze the handle.
Continued on page 4: Clean Teeth