The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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September 20, 2013

Pet Talk: The importance of a 'pet'icure

You and your beloved pet may share a lot in common: enjoying long walks in the park, snuggling up on the couch, or even taking a dip in the pool. But when it comes to an afternoon of pampering at the nail salon, our pets don't always find it as relaxing as their human friends. Nevertheless, even if your pets find it unpleasant and stressful, clipping nails is a crucial grooming technique for their overall health and well-being.

Leaving your pet's nails untrimmed can lead to pain and discomfort from many different sources.  

Nails that are too long can get hung on fabric, blankets, or towels  and get torn off, which is not only painful, but tends to cause a great deal of bleeding, said Dr. Stacy Eckman, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM).

Nails that are too long can also grow around and into the footpads, causing pain and infection.

Popular to contrary belief, dogs aren't the only pets that require a routine clipping. Our feline friends need some nail pampering on a regular basis as well.

"Outdoor cats who climb trees keep their own nails short, but with the majority of our cats living indoors, they too need nail trims," Eckman said.

Cats will naturally sharpen their claws if given something to do this on – such as a scratching post or wood – but they may need additional trimming, especially on the back claws.

Trimming your pet's nails can be done as often as necessary. For dogs, trimming their nails whenever you bathe them can be convenient for both of you. Since most people do not typically bathe their cats, a thorough trim every two to four weeks is plenty.

There are several brands, types and sizes of clippers to choose from, including scissors, pliers, guillotine, and nail grinders.

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