Puppy-Parent Pampering Session: The Ultimate Guide
If you’re a nail expert or a mani-pedi enthusiast, you will know that few things are more enjoyable or refreshing than a quick pamper session. The smooth skin of freshly treated hands, the uniform neatness of pretty painted nails, and the overall polished look all work to leave you feeling great.
Now, if you happen to own a pampered pooch or a would-be pampered pup, you will also know how much they enjoy being groomed and fussed over. For us, most nail care is done for cosmetic purposes, but for dogs, the health and condition of their nails and paws is essential to their wellbeing and comfort. Everything from their posture to them being pain-free depends on neat and tidy nails.
So it makes sense to bond with your furry four-legged baby over something you both enjoy; a puppy-parent pamper session, if you will.
Is indulging in a manicure and pup-icure really called for though?
Well, read on to see why your nail health, and the health of your dog’s nails, is so important. We’ve even given you some great advice on how to give your pooch the proper treatment.
Human Nail Health
Human fingernails grow quickly, at an average rate of 3.5 millimetres per month whilst toenails grow 1.6 millimetres a month. There are nuances, like the fact that your dominant hand will grow its nails faster, and that men experience faster nail growth than women. Ultimately though, the speedy rate of nail growth in humans calls for us to keep on top of care and maintenance.
Though the practice has been around some five millennia, the word manicure comes from the French for ‘care of the hands’ and has Latin roots of ‘manus’ (hand) and ‘cura’ (care).
Now, the term and treatment are certainly popular, but manicures (and pedicures) offer much more than a way to beautify your nails with pretty colours and embellishments. Beneath the decoration, manicures and pedicures keep hands and feet healthy and in good condition.
In a nutshell, manicures:
Are practical…Try opening a bag of crisps with overgrown nails! As nice as non-bitten, properly-grown nails are, if they are too long, they are useless when you need grip or dexterity. And if you leave your nails for too long, they might even curl under.
Are painless…Those with long nails will know there is nothing worse than banging your hand on something and feeling that nail rip. If you don’t get it off, you’re likely to lose it by surprise, which will hurt. If you do try to get it off, it will likely be too close to the quick, resulting in pain and bleeding.
Offer protection…Keeping your cuticles in check, and your nails at a safe enough length to scratch an itch without drawing blood is essential to your health. You don’t want overgrown and unclean nails festering as dirt, grime and bacteria build up underneath. Nor do you want to leave hangnails and cuticles damaged because they will leave your fingers, and potentially your body, prone to infection; removing cuticles removes the “seal” they create to keep moisture and germs out.
Improve appearance…Neatly cut, filed and polished nails look good. They say that you take pride in your appearance and that you took time and made the effort to ensure your nail health is up to scratch. They’re also more pleasant for you to look at on a daily basis. It is important to let your nails breathe between treatments though, because over-treated nails prevent oxygen entering the nail bed, become brittle, and find it more difficult to fend off viral and fungal infections.
Indicate your overall health…Our nails offer important indicators as to our overall health. Nailbed discolouration and capillaries in the cuticles, as well as all manner of pigmentation issues in the nail, all indicate different health issues. Stress and infections can also damage nail health.
For professional advice on how to give yourself a manicure at home, see the DIY Manicure Guide at The Coveteur, or check out top tips from Glamour magazine. And if you’d prefer to start slow, stick with easy nail designs.
Now you know all about your nail needs, let’s see about pampering your pooch…
Pampering Those Paws
The importance of paws, claws and care
So why is the condition of your dog’s nails so important?
Well, for starters, their nails affect their overall posture. If their nails are too long, a dog will stand awkwardly, back on their feet. As such, many chiropractic issues can be remedied by cutting the dog’s nails.
Ensuring they are at the right length will change the balance of the paws, mobilisers and stabilisers, so their back is not rounded, and their paws are not tucked under. Long nails and poor paw balance will change the angles of every single joint, causing repetitive strain and recurrent injuries.
Long nails will also dig in when they walk because they will hit the floor with every movement, thus making the nail bed sensitive.
A good rule of thumb is to listen to your dog walk. You shouldn’t hear their nails clicking on the floor; their pads are for walking and running, their nails are for grip on grass and in sand.
Tips for trimming…
If you’re well-versed in how to work your own manicure table, but you’re worried about doing your dog’s nails properly, check out these top tips.
A good length…Nails that are too long will click on the floor, and this is a good indicator that you need to trim them, even if you’re between fortnightly cuts. Your dog’s claws should never hang over the pad or touch the ground when the dog stands.
The right cut…The first rule of thumb; use the right tools. Guillotine clippers are best for small breeds; plier clippers are for larger breeds. Ensure you get a pair with enough grip for a clean, safe and easy cutting process. When making the cut, take care with the quick and make sure cuts are smooth and decisive. Also, follow the natural curvature of the nail by cutting at a slight, rather than sharp, angle.
Cuts and trims will need to be done regularly, and they’ll become part of your dog’s routine. If your pup is new to pedicures though, get them used to their feet being touched in advance.
Cutting the quick…The quick is inside of the claw, where the blood vessels and nerves are. The recommendation is usually to cut the nail approximately 2mm away from the quick, which is easier to judge with lighter-clawed dogs. With darker-clawed dogs especially, take your time and keep checking to see where the quick is.
This extra effort will make a difference, ensuring you don’t hurt your dog, so you can both enjoy the experience.
And if you do cut the quick? Don’t panic! Your dog will react to your emotions and become nervous. Just stay calm and use tissue or styptic products like Hatchwell’s Trimmex to stop the bleeding.
Let the Puppy-Parent Pampering Begin!
So now you are up to scratch on pampering your pooch and treating yourself with a mani-pedi session, let the fun begin! Grab your dog, stock up your manicure table, and get ready for happy, healthy nails.