The Very Basics of Eyes, Noses & Toenails
Welcome to part 2 of 2 of a collaboration with Miss Edie the Pug. We’re going to finish up our discussion of simple care things you can do at home to keep your pets healthy by focusing on the eyes, nose, and those pesky toenails this week.
Maybe your pets stares into your soul with those eyes when you get ready to clean their ears or trim their nails. Those eyes are not something I ever recommend anyone messing with. They only get one set so it’s best not to self-treat. Discharge from the eyes could be indicative of an infection or a scratch. Squinting is often associated with a scratch, which if not treated promptly, can hurt and may be difficult to heal, or in the worst cases can result in permanent damage. Other things to watch for are swelling of the eye or cloudiness of the cornea. Get to your vet as soon as possible if this is noted.
Let’s be nosey… The very front of your fur-baby is one of the few hairless spots (unless you have a Sphyx or other type of exotic breed). In general, you don’t need to clean the nose but you may see color changes or texture changes on the surface of the nose. For some dogs, this could be a seasonal change or a breed related condition. On the other hand though, some conditions involving the immune system will manifest with changes in the nasal appearance so your veterinarianshould be consulted.
Yet, in some breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, & other brachycephalic breeds, we have to deal with folds around the nose. Sometimes these folds will get dirty or retain moisture and can lead to infections so we do recommend cleaning them. A wash can be obtained from your veterinarian but I have also recommended using baby wipes, a wash cloth with mild dish soap, or if there is more greasy build up you can safely use human acne pads.
Oddly enough, I think more dogs & cats mind getting their nails trimmed than they do ever getting any type off needle or brushing of their coat. Some of the reason may be the restraint involved while other times they had a bad experience once and the quick, or blood vessel, was clipped causing bleeding & pain. If nails are left too long, they can catch & break off causing more severe pain, limping, and in the worst case, an infection. Again, like brushing teeth, I always try to get people to handle the feet of their puppy or kitten to get them used to it.
The clear nails are simple, just don’t cut into the pink part and everything will be okay. But those black nails? Those buggers can be a problem. There are two tips to trimming these. First, I say make them flush with the bottom of the paw pads; the vessel typically does not extend past that. Second, start trimming a few millimeters at a time keeping perpendicular to the curve of the nail and if you look at the nail from an end-on perspective, you can start to see concentric rings like a target – STOP! You’re getting close at that point of the vessel. Give your dog a treat and maybe one for you (not from the same container though!) and then repeat in about 4-6 weeks.
Hopefully this has been helpful to do some simple things to avoid bigger problems with your pets. Your veterinary clinic can help you with a demonstration of these things – all you have to do is ask! But if your pets won’t cooperate, we’ll always be there to help! If there’s something you want to find out more about, or to hear my opinion on a topic, leave a comment below or over on my Facebook page. Thanks for reading & sharing!