How to Clip Your Shih Tzu’s Nails

The  Tzu is an AKC registered . The following article reviews the breed.

Many people ask how often a ’s should be cut. I would recommend your Shih Tzu’s nails be cut every four to six weeks, depending on how fast they grow. Some owners cut the nails a little every week. Cutting any dog’s nails is a delicate procedure since a sensitive piece of flesh called the quick is nestled inside the nails, and is often hard to spot. If you cut into it accidentally, your dog will start to bleed and will be in some temporary discomfort. However, it’s not at all difficult to cut the nails properly, if you know how.

Dogs wear down their nails when they walk; the rougher the surface they walk on, the more their nails will be worn down. Since Shih Tzu’s don’t need a lot of exercise, their nails tend to grow faster than they can be worn down, so they will need to have them cut. And I will also remind you that all dogs have dew claws, which are nails that grow a little higher on the legs. Since the dew claws never touch the ground, they can grow very long indeed. If nails are not cut, they will curl around and grow into the dog’s paw pad, causing a lot of discomfort and they may even break off.

What you’ll need

• Dog nail clippers. Whether scissor or guillotine type is up to you, and whatever you feel most comfortable with. I would recommend speaking to a vet or groomer first, so that you can get their opinion on the best type to use

• Emery board (for filing and shaping the nail)

• Styptic powder or styptic sticks (in case you cut into the quick by accident)

• Treats (optional, to keep your Shih Tzu distracted while you work)

• A second person (also optional, to help hold the dog, depending on how stubborn your Shih Tzu is)

How to cut the nails

1. Hold the paw firmly in one hand and apply the clippers to the top of the nail

2. Look carefully at the nail to identify where the pink-colored quick stops. You must not to that point to avoid hurting the dog

3. As soon as you are sure you are only covering the dead area, quickly cut the nail and repeat on all the others

4. Then using an emery board or file, smooth and shape the nail. Use the pointed end of the nail file to remove any dirt or debris, but do not dig down under the nail

5. If at any point you accidentally cut into the quick, apply the styptic powder or insert the styptic stick to stop the bleeding

As long as you are careful, there is no reason why you can’t cut your Shih Tzu’s nails yourself and save some money and a trip to the groomer. Just make sure you have everything you need, work slowly, and remember to pay attention to your dog’s reactions as you cut.

Chris Boshoff is a Shih Tzu lover and researcher. If you would like to find out How to Groom Shih Tzu or more about Shih Tzu Care please visit his website.

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