Photographer: Carroll Van Ark “Putting Paws On The Table” circa 1947 – CH. Warlord of Mazelaine, SOM waits patiently for grooming.
No dog likes his nails cut, but cutting a boxers nails is necessary for his well-being. Long nails will cause his feet to splay and make it hard to stand on slippery surfaces. His nails should not make clicking sounds on the floor. They should not be pointy and sharp. They should not scratch and gouge your skin when he touches you. For his health and safety, his nails need to be kept short.
There are four toes with nails on each foot, and sometimes another nail called a dewclaw a little way up the inside of the front leg. The dewclaws may be removed when the puppy is three to five days old.
Before you cut his nails, either have someone hold him or put him on the grooming table and secure him with the grooming noose. Using dog nail clippers, clip just the tip of the nail. Be careful not to cut into the quick, the vein in the center of the nail. The quick is usually easily visible in a white nail but impossible to see if the nails are black. If you cut the quick, it will bleed, but just a little. Everyone nips the quick accidentally sometimes. If you keep the nail trimmed, it keeps the quick back.
If the toenail bleeds after being cut, press a pinch of styptic powder to it and hold for three seconds. This is not a serious injury, so don’t panic. The bleeding will stop easily. You will never get a Boxer to enjoy having his nails cut, so just do it as quickly as you can. Praise him and give treats when you’re finished. If you trim the tips every week or so, the nail will stay short.
The grinder is another tool that makes it even easier to keep his nails short. The new, battery-powered grinders make very little noise. First, acclimate the dog to the grinder by holding it in front of him. Turn it on and off, letting him see that it is not going to hurt him. Speak calmly to him. Give him treats. Next, with the grinder turned off, gently rub him on the leg with it. You are reconditioning any fear he has, showing him he won’t be hurt if the grinder touches him. Boxers are smart and this usually doesn’t take long.
With the grinder still off, pick up one foot and touch the nails, praising him and rewarding with treats if he stays still and lets you do it. Then turn it on. The first time the grinder touches his toes might startle him, so reassure him that it’s okay. Some Boxers aren’t bothered at all by this time, others look on curiously, and others are bored. Those are much better reactions than having a scared Boxer on your hands.
Hold one toe and use the grinder gently on one side of the nail, then the other side, then in the center.