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Spruce up Your Pooch with a Pedicure (aka Paw-dicure)

By: Renae Hamrick, RVT

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Massage

If your dog is comfortable having his feet handled, he may enjoy a massage of his tired tootsies. Have your dog lie down and relax, then rub his paws in a fashion similar to how you would give your significant other a foot massage. Apply gentle pressure with your thumbs and finger tips, rubbing your dog's feet with circular motions. You can also gently squeeze each paw one at a time for several seconds, then let up. Some dogs are ticklish just as we are, so take care not to drive him crazy with his foot rub!

A Finishing Touch

For the particularly posh pooch, you may choose to paint his or her nails as a finishing touch to the pedicure. If you feel your dog would enjoy some more color and pizzazz, only use a nail polish designed specifically for pets, as a polish designed for humans may not be safe. This can be purchased at some pet stores or from a groomer.

Painting nails is easiest when your dog is tired, such as after a relaxing doggie massage or a tiring romp. The finished product may look best on nails that have been trimmed a few days prior, so the nails are smooth on the ends. Do not paint cracked or split nails.

Hold the paw you are painting and paint quickly. Any excess paint that gets in the hair can be removed with a pet-friendly polish removing pad. Be careful to keep your dog off the carpet and furniture until the paint is dry. Using the pet-friendly nail polish removing pads, promptly remove polish when it starts to crack.

The Experience

If the pedicure process is stressful to your dog, do not force it on him or get frustrated with him, as this will only stress him more. Also, skip unnecessary pedicure steps, such as the moisturizer and painting, with a stressed dog. Short, slow pedicure sessions with positive reinforcement for calm behavior may gradually make the pedicure process more enjoyable for an anxious dog.

A successful pedicure can be a fun experience which greatly strengthens your human-animal bond and brings relaxation to both you and your canine companion.


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