Nail Grooming 

Dachshunds and Pedicures
Vicki Thomas

One of the most important things you can do for your Dachshund is to keep his nails trimmed. Proper nail care will promote healthy sound feet. By keeping nails trimmed your Dachshund will be able to use his toes, nails and pads as mother nature intended, as digging tools, shock absorbers and traction devices. Click each image to see a close up.

The first consideration is your tools. First you will need a nail clipper designed for dogs. They come in many shapes, sizes, colours and price ranges. Your basic choice will be between a guillotine type of clipper and a scissors type of clipper. I prefer the scissors type as I find it easier to manipulate with a smaller (woman's) hand. As for price I recommend a mid-price range clipper. 

Next you will need to be prepared in case you err and cut a nail too short (we are all only human and accidents do happen). You will need styptic powder or silver nitrate sticks, which are available at a pet store or drug store.  I prefer to finish the job with a nail file designed for dogs with a groove in the middle or an electric rotary sander. This smoothes the rough edges and allows you to trim the nails as short as possible with little risk of making the nail bleed. You can purchase a rotary sander (i.e. Dremel brand) at most hardware stores or you may purchase a nail grinder (i.e. Oster brand) at most pet supply stores. Make sure you also purchase additional sandpaper tips, as you will need to replace them regularly.  Also remember to purchase safety glasses to protect your eyes from grit and nail dust.

Keeping nails at the proper length on a short legged breed presents it's own unique problems. As with most things in life there is an easy way and a hard way to accomplish this.

Start with your Dachshund on a table with a non-slip surface. Since I am right handed I have the dog stand and face to my left. I use my left hand to pick up the left hind foot so the bottom of the foot is pointing to the ceiling (lifting to foot 2 to 3 inches off the table) and clip tip off of nail. I then use to electric sander to sand the nails as short as possible. 

When I sand the nail my goal is to smooth and shorten the nail. I concentrate on sanding the outer, harder shell of the nail and I stop sanding when the center of the nail appears darker as I am getting close to the "live" portion of the nail. The reason for turning the bottom of the foot to face the ceiling is to make it more comfortable for the dog and so I can see precisely what I am doing.

The dog is still standing on the table facing to my left. I reach over the dog and pick up the right hind foot with my left hand and position it with the bottom of the foot facing the ceiling and clip the nails.  I then continue with the sander.

To do the left front nails I still have the dog standing on the table facing to my left. With my left hand I pick up the left front foot and bend the leg at the pastern so the bottom of the foot is facing the ceiling and cut the nails. 

I then continue with the sander, being careful not to get any of the dog's coat tangled in the sander. The head of the sander rotates at a very high speed so if you get too close to the coat, the hair may become wrapped around the rotating head and you risk ripping out a piece of coat. With longhairs the dog's coat will be in a safer position if you drape a towel over the dog's back to prevent an accident.

To do the right front nails, I still have the dog standing facing to my left and I reach over the dog and pick up the right front foot with my left hand, turning the bottom of the foot to face the ceiling and clip the nails. 

I then sand the nails on the right front foot with the dog in the same position 
The goal when finished is for the nails to be trimmed short enough so they will not touch the table when the dog is standing normally (for the dog's comfort)  and be smooth with no rough edges (for their human's comfort)

Vicki Thomas
Professional Groomer
Dachshund breeder and exhibitor
CKC licensed judge

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