Dear Cathy, I have a 55-pound male mixed German Shepherd/Border Collie. The dog gets groomed every four weeks. He doesn’t get his nails trimmed. For some reason, the quick is very close to the end of his nails, especially on his front paws. If we walk him on a long walk, about a mile, his quick will bleed. We walk him on the sidewalk next to grass so he can do his business with him. If we shorten the walk, there is no issue. I have shown this to my vet. The only resolution we can come up with is for him to wear dog socks to protect his feet from him. Any suggestions? — Ben, Cooper City, Fla.
Dear Ben, Dogs and cats need regular nail trims to keep the quick from growing out. When they don’t receive frequent nail trims, their quicks grow to the end of the nail, making it difficult to cut their nails without causing pain and bleeding.
There are only two solutions at this point. One is for your vet to anesthetize your dog and cut his nails from him, so the quick is cut back to a good starting point again. Then maintain regular nail trims with every four-week grooming sessions.
People are also reading…
The other option is to gently clip/file his nails every few weeks so the quick can recede on its own. It helps if you can file or Dremel the shiny surface part of the nail, but not every dog will tolerate that process. If your dog does, though, that’s great because the filing or Dremel action will cause the nail to dry out more quickly, causing the quick to recede faster. Faster is a relative term in this case since this process can take many months before you see results.
Since you take your dog to a groomer, I would ask them to begin removing little amounts of the nail each time. They won’t be able to clip the nails, but maybe they can file one-sixteenth of an inch off to begin the pushback process. If after a few months you don’t see much progress, then anesthetizing your dog may be your only option.
In the meantime, there are nail tips you can buy, which are typically used when dogs are scratching themselves or other things in the home. But you can try them to see if it helps your dog when he is walking. Keep walking him on the sidewalk, as that helps file his nails from him, and take him for shorter walks until you see some progress with the quick. If you have floors only throughout the home, place small carpets in areas where he likes to lay, so his paws have something to grip when he gets up off the floor.
Dear Cathy, I have two male kittens that are around 14 to 15 weeks old. I would say they are bonded, but I have been thinking of giving one to someone since it has been hard to find a place to live with two. They do sleep together, but is there any possibility they could be separated? — Talan, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
Dear Talan: I am so glad you are thinking about the impact this decision will have on your felines. People often think cats like to be alone, but they are actually social animals who often want to be in the company of other felines.
If your cats had lived together for many months or years, I would say please leave them together; a sudden separation could cause behavioral issues and depression for both cats. They would suddenly feel lost without the other. To them, it would feel as if the other one had died. For this reason, animal shelters and rescue groups work very hard to place bonded pairs together.
Since they are both still kittens (under 6 months), they will likely adjust more easily to being separated. They will still miss each other, but they tend to adjust better at this age to new life circumstances. (Like humans, change is easier to handle in our youth.)
Having said that, I am a big advocate of having at least two pets, so they have a companion when you’re not home. So, before you decide, call around to potential rental spaces to determine their policies on having two cats. Most rentals accept two pets these days. It’s when you have three pets or more that you usually begin having problems renting a home with pets.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who
has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips
Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her