I am not one to paint my dogs nails; this photo was done as a special assignment for a magazine request.  It is my little Jessie girl who was beyond patient for this shot.  

Rain again this morning, we are going to have a very green spring here in Southern California.  We are in for some cold rainy weather in the next few days so you know what that means?  I'll be out in it with Luke and Elsa.  Seeing that we were to have more rain I focused on feet a couple of days ago.  Many dog owners never have to think about shaving feet; if you have a smooth coated dog they don't normally need trimming.  But even our little Jessie needed a trimming between the bottom of her pads once in a while.  Not often but if it were going to be especially wet I'd trim them to help them dry faster.

I shave my guys feet regularly.  It is purely for cleanliness and care.  They easily pick up stickers when their feet are very furry which can be very painful.  Feet are much easier to keep clean and dry when they are shaved nice and short.  With my breed I have to shave between the toes on the bottom of their feet as well as the top.  All dogs are different so some have huge furry slippers under there and some don't get much growth at the bottom.  Having done it for years and years now it takes me just a few minutes to shave their feet.

This also gives me a good chance to check on the health of their feet.  Yes, you should be looking between toes; above and below the pads.  How do the nail beds look?  While you are down there looking around, check out their dew claw if they have one.  Both of my terriers had a remnant piece left from having their dew claw removed improperly.  I had to take great care that these little straggler pieces were kept short as they tended to grow at odd angles.  Jessie's was a very tiny piece that grew straight out towards her other leg.  Mandy's grew up and around like a curly sheep horn.  Check on their nail condition and length as well.

Our dogs feet are put through a lot.  We subject them to all sorts of surfaces and rarely think about them until there is a clear an obvious problem, limping.  Feet need care like anything else and they should be checked on weekly.  Dog nails need to be trimmed or ground down to keep them at a nice length if a dog is not wearing them down on their own.  Elsa rarely needs her rear nails done as she has such force behind her running with that rear of hers.  She wears them down quite nicely with all of her power take offs.  But she does need her front feet done weekly.  I use to only use clippers but now I prefer my dremel tool for the job.

Strictly leaving feet up to the groomer is never a good idea.  Sure they can touch them up but they typically need more attention than every 5-6 weeks.  The longer you leave trimming the more that needs doing.  If you let them get too long it can take quite some time to get them to a good length again.  Leaving nails to get over grown can cause a great deal of discomfort for your dog.  It gets hard to walk when their nails are too long causing each step to be painful.  Have a look at your dog's nails; they should not touch the ground when they are standing still.  If they are then you need to take a bit off so that your dog can walk in comfort.

Many dogs do not get out for daily walks.  Some never walk on pavement and only get grass walks so that their nails never have a chance to wear down.  So we need to attend to them.  As dogs age their nails typically become harder making it a longer process if you are using a dremel.  If you are using clippers, make sure that they are sharp or they can damage the nail.  Dull trimmers can also cause pain by creating a crushing sensation instead of just quickly trimming off the nail.  Luke has extremely hard nails so a bit off every couple of days works great for him.  But Elsa's nails are still soft and done in a flash.

Today might just be a good mani/pedi day right?