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I have chatted about this before in the past.  Cash has a major issue with nail trimming/filing.  We have gone through the gamit of ideas.  He is worse than ever and even keeping him in a tiny closed with a man three times his size, his daddy, holding on tight, he is so squirmy that it is impossible to dremel or clip him.  His eyes get buggy and he literally flips out.  This otherwise amazingly calm boy, who is so easy to be with turns into the devil himself.  We can no longer take him to be done either since most places now give up quickly.  So our vet has prescribed what is basically human Xanax for the attempt.  I thought I would be cool with it, but actually I haven't filled it yet because I feel so uneasy about this extreme action.  I do NOT want to risk any type of medication which could change my dog in any way.  But that being said, his nails are now getting long enough and I am getting so tired of this constant issue I have no idea what to do.  He will let you massage his paws all night long.  I can play with his nails all night long.  That isn't the problem.  It is the actually act of doing it.  I have tried high value treats, he is so freaked out and in fight and flight mode that he won't touch treats.  He is dangerous the way he throws his body around too.  He will break one of our noses soon enough!  I have had black eyes and fractured noses from previous dogs and I am a bit skittish about holding a flailing dog.  So I guess I am asking what do you think about this?  No training advice....I have tried the only one nail each day thing, and it hasn't progressed at all.  I think I have tried everything I have read online as well.  He would let me bath him everyday, grooming him, no problems, just nails.

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Hi Sue, sorry to hear that this is still proving to be such a nightmare for you and I can understand why you would be upset given his behaviour is so different to his norm.  Did you try a nail file like this one http://www.mikkipet.com/?mikki_grooming=nail-file ?

We have virtually no pavements where I live so Bella's claws do require some assistance as they don't seem to wear down much.  She went through a phase at about 10mths where she decided claw clipping was not for her, her reaction no where near as dramatic as Cash's I have to say.  She also would let you massage her paws all night long but would run away if she saw clippers and have to be captured and it was so difficult to manage her that it just felt dangerous to do them. 

I bought one of these manual files at Pets At Home and then in the evening when she was sleepy cuddled next to me on the sofa I just did one stroke on one claw.  The first time she snatched her paw back and took herself off so I left it a few days and then did the same thing and she took her paw back but stayed put next to me so I gave her a treat and did no more but I slowly built up from there.  Only doing a few strokes at a time for months until we got to the point where she would happily sit with me and have both of her front paws filed away like a lady at a salon.  To cut a long story short (no pun intended) we then went through the same cycle bringing the clippers back in and we are now at the point where she lies down whilst my husband clips them and expects a treat after every claw.  It's quite funny because she rejects boring treats if offered and takes her paw back waiting for him to bring out the big guns of Liver Cake.  I know I'll probably get told off for pandering to HRH on that one but in the grand scheme of things I am happy to over indulge if it makes the clipping easy, for me you have to pick your battles!  We only do them about every 6 weeks with the odd in between file just to take the edge off.

I know that was not the help you were after but I wanted you to know that you weren't alone in the nightmare of claw management and hopefully some of the more experienced dog owners and trainers will be able to help you make the decision about the medication or perhaps have had to use this and can give you some real experience as to how it will affect Cash.  We had to have Bella mildly sedated for an ear exam once as she was in so much pain from an infection she wouldn't let the Vet near her and it was a no-brainer as to whether to do it, but for an ongoing issue it is more of a dilemma.  Did the Vet say that this is just to get him over the inital first few times so he realises that it doesn't hurt or is it something you will have to do forever?  Did the Vet say how long the effects of the Xanax would last?  I don't envy you the decision.

It would be given an hour before we do his nails.  We figured once every 2-3 weeks is enough if he lets us actually get them cut.  So really once or twice a month.  But still, I am a very anti medication type person and when it comes to my dog and my kids I prefer to find some other way if possible.  Now though if my dog was in pain, I am all for drugs.  Actually for myself as well.  I don't want to see suffering.  Cash isn't suffering with nail grinding.  He has just built up this anxiety it seems about it.  Each battle only enforces that so it has escalated to this dramatic scene.  Cash doesn't show an anxiety about much else.  Well okay he isn't thrilled being left home alone.  He tends to sit at the window till you return.  But when videoed he is not showing extreme separation issues.  He just waits.  His body language is relaxed.  And he breathes normally.  I appreciated your response.  I will check out the file.  That might work once I get his nails cut down enough.  We also have no pavement walking often.  He runs daily on mulch and in a field. 

I am going to take him to the vet with me since they expect me to pick up the meds later today.

I will chat with her.  She was Dubs vet also and knows how neurotic I can be about my boy.  I am sure she will offer some help.  I wish they could just strap him into something to hold him and do the deed quickly with meds.  Of course that would mean he would HATE going to the vet then!!  Not a good idea either I guess. 

Hi Sue pity that you are so much trouble i thing in your situation see you vet he might suggest that you have the dog with him  (knock him out ) sorry if its sounds bad it will be better for you and the dog less stress and painfull to me i would do it again your vet will be very helpfull to you i know to well what it is like to try and trim nails worse again dogs with black nails you might have thought about this all ready and not to sure about it how old is cash and did you have this problem since a pup best of luck

Hi Sue,

I'm with you and it is stressing me out to no end. I have similar problems with my 7 month old... so I will be very interested in what you try and how it works.

I've been working with him on the paws, he lets me hold them and play with his front, and is pretty good about the back although he gets impatient with them more quickly. He has become very wary as I tried and got the quick once early on. Now he views anything I have in my hands when he is lying down with great suspicion.

Now I've been working back up to clipping, showing him the clippers and can sometimes rub them against his paws, but he freaks and start flailing his paws if I tried to put it on the nail. That was how I caught the quick before, I thought it was positioned correctly, but he pushed me away as I was clipping and the clipper moved a little. I'm paranoid about hurting him, I've even picked up a dremel to try, but I'm just as traumatized as he is about the whole thing. With the dremel you have to be careful about getting his hair caught...

I took him to a pet store and he fought too much with them... it is looking like having the vet do it is the next step, but the person I talked to at the vet encouraged me to keep trying since it would traumatize him more to have strange people hold him down in a strange place and cut his nails. He's way to big and strong for me to restrain when he is in that state.

The situation was not helped by some ear problems, I had to put drops in his ears every night for 3 weeks and so each evening he watched me to see if I'd pick anything up that wasn't food, i.e., the bottle with ear medicine. He got very worried each evening as bed time approached, scrunching up his face and watching me from the corner of the room and refusing to come near... of course in the morning all was forgotten and he just wanted to me to sit on his bed and play with him.

The vet's office didn't mention giving me something like Xanax I could use at home... that might show promise if it worked, since if I can do it at home and over time he might get used to it and I could wean him off the Xanax, but I wonder what the side effects are with dogs... never heard of giving it to dogs.

Please let us know what you end up trying and how it works! I am sure there are a lot of people in the same situation.

Oh Leslie, everything you describe is the same here that we have had going on for over a year now.  I have found something that is working for us.  Oh and our vet did prescribe the Xanax and I never filled it.  I felt horrible about that idea.  She called me to talk about it and assure me on it, but in the end I just couldn't go that far with it.  We find that the dremel is less stressful for sure.  No chance of cutting his quick either.  And if you have hair over the nails then cut that off first.  Work on seeing how he lets you trim his foot hairs.  I keep Cash's trimmed often because it just attracts more mud and soon snow and ice packing in there.  He will let me trim his feet just fine.  That might help to work on that so your's can see that it doesn't touch his nails or hurt.  I do it after mine has been out running and playing so he is relaxed and I just do a little each night.  Even one foot at a time.  And they don't look great either!  I am practicing on getting better at it.  He won't stay still long enough to get it just right.  Okay so are you in the US?  Petco has this thing that looks like a petipaw thing that they sold on TV and all over but was a joke because it was battery powered and didn't take off squat.  But being able to put the nail into the hole was nice because it is easy to do on a flailing do and not as likely to catch your dog's hairs in it then.  So this thing at petco is like that but way more powerful.  It has a rechargeable battery pack.  And seriously it says to just put the nail in for 3 seconds at a time.  And it really works.  It just takes the whole end of it.  We loved it.  So we have gotten where we can do like one paw each sitting and he isn't quite as bad.  Let me know if you are in the US first http://www.petco.com/product/110062/Peticure-Elite-To-As-Seen-on-TV...

Hi Sue,

Yes, I'm in the US, out in California, so I'll take a look at Petco... is it a dremel equivalent or something you use with the dremel? I'm not picturing how you put the paw into something, but I'd love to be able to put his paw in something and pull it out with the nails all done! Somehow I think that is probably not what you're describing, but a girl can dream! ;-)


I picked up an actual dremel (7300), just haven't gotten the nerve to use it yet... but I'm working with him on it. I was at a session where they recommended pulling an old nylon over the paw and poke the nails thru to keep the hair back, but he is so suspicious of me where his paws are concerned, I think that he'd know something weird was going to happen. I'll go with your suggestion and try trimming the hair back between his toes, etc.

If I could make progress on the nails it would be a big worry off my mind!


I gave you the link to the product Leslie so you can see what it is.  You can't make it out but it is actually a plastic type cap on it, with a cut out for a nail.  Just one!!  ROFL the whole paw in, wouldn't that be cool though.  Anyway you put in one nail for just 3 seconds!  And seriously it does take the tip right off it.  It is a dremel but it is enclosed within the unit so you only have to struggle to get in one nail quickly.  Then we all yell GOOD BOY CASH and give him a cookie.  He usually won't eat it because if stressed he won't eat.  But after wards when I say all done....great boy and hug him up.  He then eats all the cookies he dropped.  I have tried everything and this so far is working better than anything else.  The motor on it is powerful enough just like our shop dremel is.  Let me know what you think of it and how it works overtime for you.  I have twisted Cash's hair in a dremel before and I just quickly shut it off and honestly it doesn't even tear out the hair so don't worry if you chose to just use the regular kind.  I do suggest this other one because it is safer and easier.

LOL, How could I have missed the link?

Although I needed your description..wouldn't have understood how it worked from the site. It is worth paying $50 ($25*2) to be able to do his nails... do you not have to worry about the angle, or just get it into the hole for 3 seconds? That does sound less stressful. I may end up with one of the Peticures too! I'll have to find some hobby to take up that requires the Dremel in that case. 

I'll play with the dremel and get him used to the sound... that will be needed regardless of which one... and report back.

Although maybe we're going about this all wrong, perhaps the owner is supposed to take the Xanax, not the dog! ;-)


PS. I'll be sure to yell GOOD BOY CASH! ;-) That seems like the most important part, well, it is definitely my favorite part... I can see you with your chorus cheering Cash on! ;-) 


ROFL your a riot!  Why do you need two of them?   How about turning on the dremel and laying it down like near you.  Then give him some super special treat just for it being on.  After a few days of this maybe he will associate the sound with good things?  Just a thought.  We bought ours in the store, if you have Petco in CA you could just look at it.  Good luck keep me posted.  And your so right about the Xanax and us!!  Oh and the angle doesn't matter...you just push that nail right in there.  It grinds it off so quickly.  My husband has been doing Cash every couple days because we can only do a few at a time before he gets a bit flippy on us.  But we see progress each time in his stress levels.

I know Tracy, we invested in a good dremel which luckily my husband has found many uses for in the garage anyway.  But this one just works better for nervous nellie Cash.

It is as powerful it just has the attachment to slip the nail inside so I don't have to hang on for dear life.  Tracy you have done Cash enough times to know the last time was a not a fun time!  Well he got worse since you saw him last.  I won't give up though.  I hear your voice telling me he has to have it done and he has to toughen up about it.

Joe is loving that tool.  He does his mother's Golden with it and ran over to do my sister in laws Golden tonight who is a fuss bucket about it too.  Can't wait to hear how that went.  Click on the link I left above to see it.  It is powerful enough that it seriously does take the whole tip right off in 3-4 seconds.  That is all the time they recommend you put a nail in it.  Joe thinks the motor on it is as powerful as his shop dremel.  It has this recharageable battery pack for it.  Although it sort of looks like the pedi paws thing that was a joke - it isn't the same as far as power.  That pedi paws one takes a couple double A batteries.  Which can't produce enough power.  This take that further with more power but the plastic tip to put the nail inside of it. 




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