Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Butcher of C'ville

Understanding House Mate is out of town for nearly a week at a work-related conference.  That means it's just me and the Horde.  Before she left, we needed to get one dog chore done - toenails.

I've posted before about doing nails.  The only truly cooperative dog is Ginny.  Bogey tolerates but doesn't enjoy.  Sam and Moira make it a 2-person, job and they both get a little something to help them relax before we get started.  As Sam has aged, I think his feet have become arthritic - I know his back has - and he doesn't tolerate the chore well.  Moira has been a fight since day one and nothing I do seems to make it more agreeable for her.  The only time I've seen her even moderately tolerate having her nails done was when Marla did them - and, honestly, I'd be afraid to fight Mar too!

So last night we did nails.  I put a new sanding band on the Dremel, scooped up Ginny and zipped through all four feet.  Then it was Sam's turn.  He was fairly relaxed until the last foot.  We had to pull out the peanut butter to get the job done but his feet look better too.

Next it was Bogey's turn and here's where things started going wrong.  Bogey gets clipped, not Dremeled.  He has white nails so it's easy to see the quicks and he has little girly nails - not the big, manly nails that his daddy (and Moira) have.  We've been really good about keeping his nails clipped so it's generally a super quick and easy job to get through; even if he struggles a bit.  Unfortunately this time Bogey moved abruptly when I was clipping one nail and I quicked him - badly.  Blood, blood and more blood.  He bled for probably an hour.  I didn't have any styptic handy so I used some flour but that wasn't very effective.  Note to self - buy styptic powder.

Then came Moira.  Even with a little something to help her relax, Moira was unruly to say the least.  I'm wondering if she is one of rare animals who actually has the opposite reaction to sedation.  She fought as if her life depended on it.  I started out with the Dremel but didn't get very far.  Thinking the noise was making things worse, I switched to the clippers.  Bad idea.  While I was clipping on a hind foot, she jerked and I quicked her too.  I've never quicked a dog so badly.  Her nail bled for a good 2-3 hours.  There was blood everywhere; on the floors, the carpet, and the deck looks like a small animal was butchered out there.  I finally caught her up, put a gauze pad with Neosporin on the toe and wrapped the whole foot in vet wrap for a couple hours.  That did the trick.  Oh, and I didn't get more than 3 nails done.

This morning, everyone is fine but I need to call the vet about Ra.  I might spring to have her put under to have her nails done then commit to doing a couple miles of road work with her every day to keep the nails down.  I don't like the stress doing her nails puts on her - or me!  The exercise would be good for both of us too.


  1. powdered alum (from the spice aisle in the grocery store) works like styptic. I put a little in the palm of my hand and dip the dogs' toes in it if I quick them. I Dremel (got the new higher RPM "stylus), but still occasionally will go down a hair too far.

    Mine range from full-out war to ho-hum when it comes to nails. I do a baddog, a ho-hum, a really baddog, then a not so bad dog to give my hands a break.

    It doesn't seem to help when I tell them it's really for their own good.

  2. I totally forgot about alum - although I don't think we have any in the house... I'm sure it's probably less expensive than the styptic too. It's good to know others struggle with this chore too. I try to keep it very calm and matter-of-fact but that sure doesn't work with Moira...

  3. Sounds awful! And stressful! I use the roadwork method, although even then it still has to be done occasionally the usaul way.

  4. Oh yeah - they're sisters.

    The weekend I picked Scout up, Marla flipped her over in her lap and dremeled them without a peep out of the little princess.

    It ranges from serious battle to all out war ever since. Cheryl won't even try it without muzzling her - Scout doesn't try to bite the hooman, she wants to eat the dremel.

    Laura was over the weekend (we went dancing with the stars - if you are a fan of Maksim Chmerkovskiy, she tells me he smells great. I just worshipped him from afar - but I digress.) I wouldn't let her leave this morning until she helped me tackle nails. I just won't even try it on my own.

  5. I saw Mar in March and she did the same thing. Turned Ra on her side, told her not to look, and ground away. Ra will bite anything that gets close to the mouth - we sedate, muzzle and wrap in a towel and it's still a fight.

  6. Its definately in the genes. Grace fought so hard for a long time, but now she tolerates it. But she passed that gene to her kids big time, they are just as bad-all 8 of them. And I did nails with the dremel from 2 weeks on until they left home. And as the little babies until they got to about 3 months they were fine with it. Laid there, no drama at all. At 3 months it changed big time.