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Breed Spotlight: Hairless Dogs and Cats

Everyone loves a fluffy dog or cat, but did you know the hairless breeds are also adored? Despite their biggest fans, they’re still much less well-known than their furry counterparts.

Learn about the coolest hairless dogs and cats out there, and give them some love!

1. Mexican Hairless

The Mexican hairless dog, officially known as the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced: show-low-eats-queen-tlee) or the Xolo, is one of the rarest breeds in the world. It’s also one of the oldest. The name Xoloitzcuintli is ancient! It’s a combination of Xolotl, an Aztec Indian god, and itzcuintli, the Aztec word for dog.

Native to Mexico and Central America, Xolos are considered to have been one of the first dogs to live on the North American continent.

Xolos are most often hairless, although they can occasionally be born with a very short coat. Many are blue-gray, but they can come in a variety of colors, including:

  • Slate
  • Black
  • Spotted
  • Brindle

Due to their lack of hair, the dog developed warm skin. Thanks to their warm bodies, they made excellent cuddle companions for those with arthritis. They were also believed to ward off other ailments and evil spirits.

What’s the Mexican Hairless Like?

Today, Xolos are known for being extremely loyal dogs, devoted to their families. A common name for them is “Velcro dog” because they won’t leave your side! They are also intelligent and athletic, making them trainable and excellent guard dogs. Xolos love exercise and long walks, though they will remain calm in the house.

It’s usually recommended that Xolos be supervised if you have other dogs or children, but they’re excellent companions if you’re allergic to dogs as they’re hypoallergenic!

COOL FACT ABOUT XOLOS! Mexican hairless dogs are commonly seen at the “World’s Ugliest Dog” competition!

2. Chinese Crested

hairless dogs and cats

The Chinese crested’s origins are first in Africa and later in China. Bred to be small, they were soon all over the world, becoming popular in the United States by the 1900s. They did not become an AKC breed until 1991 and are usually companion pets today.

Although they are considered hairless, they often have fur on their heads, paws, and tails. There is also a variation of the Chinese crested known as a powderpuff, which is entirely covered in silky fur. This variation is rare, since the hairless crested is often preferred. A toy breed, the Chinese crested weighs about 10 pounds and comes in 11 different colors.

What’s the Chinese Crested Like?

Like a Xolo, your crested will become extremely close to you once it overcomes its shyness. Affectionate, playful, and goofy, cresteds are also considered “cat-like” because they love high places. They’re great with children, so long as the kids are taught to be gentle.

If you’re considering adopting a Chinese Crested, keep in mind that the hairless variety will need regular treatment for its skin to avoid sunburn and other injuries. The powderpuff version requires regular brushing. 

COOL FACT ABOUT CHINESE CRESTEDS! As the ancestors of the Chinese crested left Africa, they were often used to hunt rats on ships!

3. American Hairless Terrier

The American hairless terrier (AHT) is a relatively new breed of dog, especially when compared to the Chinese crested and Xolo. In the 1970s, a hairless dog was born to a purebred rat terrier in the United States. Named Josephine, the owners wished to have more like her, and the American hairless terrier came to be after an extensive breeding program. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 2016.

The AHT can come in 19 different colors, with 7 variations in markings. There is also a coated version of the American hairless (known as the coated carrier). A smaller dog, they weigh up to about 16 pounds.

What’s the AHT Like?

Since it originated from the rat terrier, the urge to hunt and rat still exists for the AHT. But because they don’t have a coat, they can’t take part in those activities. They still have an energetic streak, though, so they love to play and explore. They’re intelligent and territorial, making great watch dogs for the family.

As with the Xolo, American hairless terriers are hypoallergenic, making one a great choice if you suffer from allergies. They also get along wonderfully with other pets.

COOL FACT ABOUT AHTS! They are the often considered the first hairless breed to start in the United States. 

4. Sphynx

The sphynx cat is a relatively new breed of hairless cat. The original one was born in 1966 in Toronto, Canada to a domestic cat. Recognized as unusual, cat breeders began a program to create a healthy version of the hairless cat through selective breeding with various furred cats, like the devon rex. The results are a beautiful sphynx with fewer genetic problems.

A truly unusual cat, a sphynx is born with plenty of wrinkles that start to disappear as it grows older. Its body can be either smooth and hairless or with a very fine down, like a peach! Sphynxes come in a variety of colors, from white to chocolate to calico. If they have any fur, it will often be the same color as their skin. 

hairless dogs and cats

What’s the Sphynx Like?

If you love an attentive cat, you’ve found it in the sphynx. Affectionate and cuddly, it will not leave your side. Sphynxes are also clever, fearless, and friendly, even to strangers. There’s no doubt they make excellent companions.

If you’re looking for a cat that will truly capture your interest and heart and even keep you laughing, the sphynx is an excellent choice. They even do extremely well with other pets and children. It’s highly recommended that you adopt two if you work away from home, as they do love companionship at all times.

COOL FACT ABOUT SPHYNXES! Several variations and experimental breeds have come from the sphynx, including the bambino and the Ukrainian levkoy.

5. The Donskoy

Although the donskoy is often mistaken for the sphynx, it’s its own breed! Also known as the Russian hairless, don sphynx, or don hairless, this kitty got its start in 1987 when a bald cat had kittens, just as bald as their mother. A breeding program began soon after, and the donskoy went on to become recognized by the World Cat Federation in 1997 and The International Cat Association by 2005.

This hairless cat comes in four different types:

  • Rubber bald
  • Velour coat
  • Brush coat
  • Flock coat

The rubber bald is completely bald from birth, while velour, brush, and flock coats have a variety of fur and textures. Flock coat, for example, appears to be bald, but does have soft fur. Donskoys also come in a variety of colors, from blue to lilac to auburn.

What’s the Donskoy Like?

The donskoy is very similar to the sphynx in behavior:

  • Loyal
  • Friendly
  • Active

If you’ve always wanted a dog, but love cats, you may find your soulmate in this hairless breed. Extremely intelligent, they’re trainable and have some of the best qualities of both cats and dogs.

A wonderful lap cat, this is a kitty that won’t leave your side. It also gets along with everyone in the family—from kids to adults—and has excellent social skills with all other pets in the home.

COOL FACT ABOUT DONSKOYS! The donskoy’s paws are quite unusual: Their webbed toes and thumbs allow them to pick up items!

Hairless dogs and cats may look unusual, but there’s no doubt they make excellent additions to homes, especially with owners who have allergies! If you’re interested in adopting one of these dogs or cats, check out your local shelter first. Many purebreds in shelters have their documentation! If you’re considering breeders, always ensure they have the proper paperwork and the animals are well taken care of.

If you take home a Mexican hairless, a Chinese crested, an American hairless terrier, a spyhnx, or another pet, congratulations! Make sure they see a vet for their first appointment! Call Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital at 281-693-7387 to schedule your fur(less) baby’s checkup!

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How to Give a Cat a Bath & Why Bath Time Matters

Everyone knows dogs need baths, especially after a trip to the dog park or a romp in the backyard.

But do cats?

You may not realize your feline fur baby needs a bath from time to time. Giving your cat a bath and living to tell the tale might sound impossible. It’s not!

Here’s exactly why bath time is important and how to do it.

4 Reasons Bath Time Matters for Cats

There are a few reasons why your cat may need a good cleaning now and again or more regularly.

1. Your cat doesn’t groom itself.

Even though cats are programmed to groom themselves, some are not so good at it, especially if they get into dirty or dusty places. They may have greasy or stained spots on their coat that they’re just not taking care of. For long-haired cats, it’s especially tough to keep up with all the grooming required!

Still, most cats are good at cleaning themselves. If you notice your cat isn’t grooming itself, there may be a medical reason. Obese and arthritic cats, for example, have a hard time reaching their lower backs. This causes the hair to become matted and, in turn, irritates the skin. Cats with mouth disease or tumors also have no interest in grooming themselves due to the pain.

If your cat has suddenly stopped grooming, call us. It may be time for a trip to the vet to check for an underlying cause.

how to give a cat a bath

2. Your cat has fleas. 

No cat wants to have fleas, and neither do you! A flea infestation should be handled immediately. Sometimes a bath can help remove the little pests, the flea dirt, and the eggs.

Most flea medications kill fleas, but if an infestation is particularly bad or your cat suffers from a flea allergy, a bath can provide immediate relief. There are also soaps specifically designed to help relieve your cat of these pesky critters.

For fleas, make sure you talk to your vet about the available medications, treatments, and shampoos.

3. Something is stuck to your cat’s coat.

Cats are notoriously curious, and sometimes that leads them into sticky situations—literally! If your kitty wanders outdoors, it can easily come home covered in tree sap, motor oil, or other items. Or your curious critter got into the syrup, honey, or another sticky food in the kitchen!

Even small spots of something stuck in fur may be impossible (and unhealthy) for your cat to get out on its own. For your cat’s health, it’s important to remove whatever substance is in the coat as quickly as possible.

If you suspect your cat has consumed a foreign substance, make a trip to the vet to ensure it didn’t ingest too much, and it doesn’t need medical attention.

4. Your cat has ringworm.

Ringworm is not like hookworms or roundworm. It’s actually a fungus on the skin that appears as a lesion. These lesions sometimes disappear on their own, but treatment is occasionally needed. This could be a combination of:

  • Topical creams
  • Oral medications
  • Bathing

It’s recommended you bathe your cat before applying the cream. Other times, your cat may be prescribed a medicated bath.

When is it time to schedule a visit to the vet? If your cat has a skin lesion with:

  • No fur
  • A scaly center
  • Small pustules

The infection can spread if left alone for too long, especially in senior cats and those with suppressed immune systems.

4 Tips Before You Bathe!

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind before you start gathering what you need!

1. Start young – Some cats, when introduced to water as kittens, grow to love the bathtub!

2. Brush regularly Doing so in between baths can help your cat find relief, especially if it has long hair. Brushing removes dead hair, dead skin, and dirt, but also helps with blood circulation.

3. Do it for your cat – Even if your feline isn’t dealing with any of the issues listed above, regular baths help it maintain a healthy coat.

4. Read the bottle first – Certain pet shampoos and soaps are not made for kittens. If you’re not sure, ask your vet.

4 Items You Need for Bath Time + 4 More You’ll Probably Want

You’ll have to gather a few items as you prepare to give your cat its first bath. Here’s what you should have ready:

1. A Towel or Non-Slip Mat

This will protect your cat from the uncomfortable, slippery surface of the bathtub.

2. Pet Shampoo

Never use human shampoo or soaps on your pet. If you are unsure what brand to use, ask your vet for a recommendation before starting.

3. A Detachable Shower Head with Low Settings, a Bucket, or a Pitcher

4. More Towels

Have towels ready to dry your cat off after its bath.

Optional #1: A Laundry Basket

how to give a cat a bath

You may want to use the laundry basket inside the bathtub, to give your cat a more comfortable, secure area for bathing.

Optional #2: Gloves

If this is your cat’s first bath time, consider using gloves to prevent scratches. Long gloves are recommended. It may also be a good idea to trim your cat’s nails before bath time.

Optional #3: Treats

Baths can be stressful for some kitties! Treats could help yours relax.

Optional #4: A Helper

For cats that really don’t like baths, a helper may be a necessity. Someone the cat is comfortable with is always preferred.

How to Wash Your Cat

Now that you have all the items you need, it’s time to start the bath!

Step 1:

Fill about an inch or two of the bath with warm water. Ensure that it’s not too hot.

Step 2:

Put your kitty in the bath. If you’ve enlisted the help of a family member or friend and your cat is not happy, one of you should hold the cat while the other bathes him or her.

Step 3:

Pour (or use the shower head on a very low setting) the warm water over your cat, avoiding its head.

Step 4: 

Lather your cat up with pet-friendly shampoo. Again, it’s important to avoid:

  • Head
  • Ears
  • Eyes
  • Mouth

Step 5:

Rinse off your cat with warm water, either from the shower head or bucket. Make sure all the soap is off your cat.

Step 6:

Gently dry your cat using towels. If your cat is young, it may love being put in what is known as a “purrito!” This is similar to swaddling a baby.

Giving your cat a bath for the first time can be trying. That’s why it’s important to start as young as possible to ensure your furry friend is comfortable as it gets older. Whether for the benefit of their coat or their health, sometimes a bath for your cat is an absolute must.

If your cat is particularly adamant about not having a bath or you’re uncomfortable giving your pet a bath, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional groomer. We offer grooming services for both cats and dogs! Find more information here, or call 281-693-7387.

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She Won't Stop! 4 Reasons Cats Meow at Night and How to Help Yours

Nothing can wake you up at night (and keep you up) much like a cat meowing. If it’s happening every evening, it could have serious effects on your sleep, your cat, and your life. Here’s a look at why your cat might be meowing so insistently at night and some solutions to handle it.

4 Reasons Your Cat Won’t Stop Meowing

There are a number of reasons your cat may be meowing throughout the night instead of sleeping. Here are a few of the more common causes!

1. Your cat is in pain or discomfort.

The very first thing you want to do is rule out medical reasons for your cat’s crying. This is especially true if your cat has cried all night in the past or if it also meows insistently during the day. Pain or discomfort could be causing your kitty to cry out, unable to sleep.

For example, an older cat that meows a lot could be deaf. Cats will often meow louder than usual to hear themselves as they lose their hearing.

If you suspect a medical issue, it’s important to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet can test for deafness and other issues. If nothing medically is wrong, you have at least ruled out this possibility, giving yourself peace of mind and your vet other avenues to explore.

2. Your cat is bored.

Boredom is a very common reason a cat will meow nonstop in the night. Even though cats’ ancestors were nocturnal, modern housecats do tend to sleep throughout the night like their humans. Still, they will wake up occasionally. This may be to take a walk around the house, grab a snack, or go to the bathroom.

If your cat doesn’t get enough attention or playtime during the day, it may be wide awake and bored come nighttime. Meowing might wake you up, and your kitty will get the attention it wants and needs! This is especially the case with younger cats and kittens that don’t get long enough workouts during the day.

3. Your cat is anxious. 

Anxiety is another reason why your cat may cry while you’re trying to sleep. Changes in its environment—like if it was recently adopted—can be startling for a cat! Your furry friend may be:

  • Nervous
  • Lonely
  • Confused
  • Seeking reassurance
  • Calling for litter mates

Besides meowing, other signs of anxiety in cats include:

  • Excessive grooming
  • Urinating outside the litterbox
  • Increased aggression
  • Pacing

With time, as your cat becomes comfortable, the nighttime meowing for the reasons above may stop.

4. Your cat wants attention. 

The nonstop meowing your cat is exhibiting may just come down to an attention-seeking behavior. This could be due to boredom, but your feline could also be used to getting what it wants when it meows. If your cat has a more demanding personality, this may be the root cause of the cries.

why do cats meow at night

Tips for Breaking the Habit of Nighttime Meowing 

Don’t worry! There are a few ways to tackle your cat’s nighttime cries.

1. Don’t encourage the behavior. 

You should never encourage or reward nighttime (or excessive daytime) meowing. Your cat is smart and will quickly learn that a meow can get results, whether it be food, playtime, or cuddles. The less you react to the crying, the less it will be used against you.

During the night, try wearing earplugs while you wean your kitty off this behavior. During the day, try not to respond to excessive meowing; walk away instead. You can give your kitty attention when it’s calmed down!

But make sure you stick to your plan! Giving in even one night can undo all your progress.

Pro tip: Don’t yell at your cat for meowing—day or night. It could cause behavioral issues in addition to the crying.

2. Stick to a routine. 

Cats prefer routine, like knowing their food bowl is filled at 8 AM and 8 PM. Do the same with playtime and attention, and make sure you’re spending time with your furry companion every day. With enough playtime, you can work out that pent-up energy and reduce the midnight meows. You may also want to consider playing with your cat just before you go to bed.

Cats also tend to fall asleep after a big meal. Feeding them dinner just before bedtime can ensure they stay asleep for longer. To prevent nighttime calls for food, consider using a timed feeder. Your cat will learn this schedule quickly and won’t wake you up!

3. Reduce your cat’s anxiety. 

If your cat’s nighttime cries are due to anxiety, you’ll want to take steps to reduce its stress. Plenty of attention and playtime during the day goes a long way, but you also don’t want to leave your cat all alone during the night. If your kitty is a new addition to your home, for instance, it may not know it can go upstairs with you!

Your meowing cat could be lonely, especially if you work during the day, and it’s an “only cat.” Adding a second kitty to your home could be the answer, but make sure to take proper steps to introduce them correctly.

4. Take a visit to the vet.

If none of these solutions work or you suspect a medical issue, it’s time for a trip to the vet. As stated before, insistent meowing at night could indicate an underlying issue that’s causing your cat pain or discomfort.

In addition to testing for medical problems, your vet can provide additional advice and/or remedial products for your cat’s anxiety or stress.

You love your cat, but no one wants to be kept up all night by their furbaby’s cries! Understanding the reasons behind your cat’s yowling can help you better understand the steps you need to take to reduce this behavior and help your furry friend be more comfortable.

If you think the cause of nighttime meowing may be an underlying medical issue or you just want advice, don’t hesitate to call us at 281-693-7387 to make an appointment!

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6 Unique Ways to Style Your Dog!

If you bring your dog to the groomers for their “regular,” are you really speaking to your furbaby’s style? People experiment with their hair; why can’t dogs? There are some unique and interesting hairdos out there for pooches; you’re sure to find what works best with your dog’s style!

Check out six of our favorite haircuts for cool dogs:

1. Teddy Bear

The Teddy Bear, also known as a Puppy Cut, is a fairly popular—definitely adorable—haircut for cool dogs. The end result of a “teddy” or “puppy” varies from groomer to groomer, but the general idea is your dog should look cute, cuddly, and puppy-like!

cool dog haircuts

The Teddy Bear cut is for dogs with longer coats—often smaller dogs like:

  • Shih tzus
  • Maltese
  • Pomeranian
  • Bichons

If you have a ‘Teddy Bear’ dog, which is a mix between a shih tzu and a bichon frise, you have the absolute perfect dog for this look!

2. Lamb Cut

Picture a lamb in your mind. Don’t forget about the curls and the fluff! You’re imagining another popular, unique look for dogs.

In this haircut, your pup’s face and feet are shaved. Its tail may also be shaved, but that is up to the groomer and your preferences. The rest of your dog’s hair will generally be the same length throughout, resulting in a fluffy, lamb-like look.

cool dog haircuts

Image from Flickr user VirtualWolf (compressed).

The Lamb Cut is an extremely popular choice for poodles, as it is one of the cuts used for showing. But other dogs can enjoy this cool cut too! It works best on breeds with curly hair but can look trendy on a wide range of long-haired breeds if done correctly.

3. Lion Cut

The Lion Cut will definitely bring out your pup’s wild side!

Dating back to the 17th century, it was first used for working, fishing dogs in Portugal. The cut helped them weigh less, making it easier for them to swim and complete work without the burden of extra hair.

The cut is almost exactly as it sounds: Your pup’s torso, legs, and hindquarters are shaved, and its head and neck fur is left naturally long. The tail is also shaved—except for the burst of fur at the tip!

cool dog haircuts

Image by Flickr user idalingi (compressed).

The Lion Cut is most commonly used for:

  • Portuguese water dogs
  • Chows
  • Poodles

It’s also a top choice for Pomeranians because their color closely resembles that of a lion. In fact, it’s so popular with this breed, that it’s also known as the Pomeranian Cut and can be used in AKC shows.

It’s best to ask your groomer’s advice before getting a lion cut for your dog! It isn’t right for every breed and does require regular maintenance and trims.

4. Top Knot

The Top Knot is another cool cut reserved for some lucky specific breeds. It requires a significant amount of hair on the top of the head to work properly. A good rule of thumb is if your dog has enough hair to cover its eyes, it has enough hair for a top knot.

A top knot is a ponytail made at the top of your dog’s head. It can be done for show or to ensure your pup has an easier time navigating its environment. It’s a great solution if your dog’s hair is constantly getting in its eyes, dragging on the floor, or falling into the water bowl.

The hair is generally held in place with a beautiful bow or barrette, but a hair tie can also be used. If your dog has plenty of hair, you may be able to make a hair bow—a literal bow of hair!

5. Asian Freestyle

The Asian Freestyle, also known as Japanese Grooming, Asian Fusion, or Asian Styling, is still fairly new to the United States. First becoming popular in the U.S. in 2014, the groom is originally from China, Japan, and Korea. The result varies from region to region, groomer to groomer, and dog to dog!

Asian Freestyle follows no real rules except to make your pup look adorable—like a stuffed dog. It’s frequently considered an art form, so the groomer and owner get artistic freedom. There are also no breed standards for this cool dog haircut!

Generally, dogs that get this haircut end up with extremely fluffy, columned legs that resemble bell-bottom pants, and the overall appearance of cotton candy. The hair on their faces is cut to look like stuffed bears or dogs. Since there are no breed standards, the cut is modified from dog to dog, but symmetry is often sought in the end result.

6. Kennel Cut

The Kennel Cut is an extremely common cut, but in the heat of summer, there’s not much cooler than this one! The name comes from the idea that it’s your dog’s off-season from showing, hunting, or working. A shorter coat is more comfortable in hot weather and easier for you to manage.

Cut close to the skin, the kennel cut favors an even length throughout the fur, with a clean face and feet. It’s perfect if you and your dog just need a break!

These are only five examples of cool haircuts for your dog; there is a wide range of options available to you when it’s time to take Fifi in for her new look! What hairdo is your dog rocking this summer?

If it’s about time your pup got a haircut, you have a show coming up, or you just want to try something different for your furbaby, we’re happy to help! With over 60 years of experience, we can offer advice and suggestions when it comes to your pet’s best grooming. Make an appointment for a full spa day—bubble bath, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and a new hairdo—by calling us at 281-693-7387.

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Your Vet's Right Hand: What Does a Vet Tech Do?

When you visit the veterinarian’s office, you’re greeted at the front desk and asked to sign in. You sit with your cat, dog, or other pet in the waiting room until your name is called. Once it is, you’re greeted by someone who’s not the vet.

But who are they?

That’s a veterinarian technician!

Find out how veterinary techs help your pet and why their jobs are so important to veterinary clinics and hospitals.

What Is a Veterinary Technician, Anyway?

A veterinary technician is the professional in charge of your pet’s care along with your veterinarian. Although a vet tech doesn’t perform surgery or diagnose your animal friend, they are extremely involved in all the aspects of your pet’s visit.

When you bring your pet in for a check-up or an appointment, a vet tech is usually the first person you speak to when you enter the exam room. They take notes regarding your pet’s:

  • Weight
  • Condition
  • Temperature

They also check your pet’s

  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Coat

They may also ask you questions about the reason for your visit.

What Does a Vet Tech Do?

A veterinary technician has their hands in everything around the office, but they don’t perform roles that require a veterinarian, such as surgery and prescribing medications.

They administer extra testing.

Sometimes, after an exam is completed by the veterinarian, further work is needed to determine what’s wrong. This often includes X-rays and lab tests, such as blood tests. If your vet orders a lab test for your dog, for example, your vet tech will personally take the samples and run the test. They’ll pass the results on to the veterinarian for a diagnosis.

They give medicine.

If medication is prescribed by your vet after they make a diagnosis, often the vet tech gives the medication to your pet.

They act as a right-hand man/woman during surgery.

If surgery is required, the tech will often explain the entire procedure to you, answering questions and providing reassurance.

They also have a part in the prep for surgery, including shaving and anesthesia, and they may be present throughout the procedure to help the veterinarian if they need it.

They care for animals after surgery.

After a procedure is complete, the vet tech sticks around to monitor your pet. If overnight care is required, they continue to keep an eye on your pet, documenting any changes or progress.

what does a vet tech do

They teach.

A vet tech is on the frontline of education. Not only do they answer the questions of any pet owners who visit the clinic, many host training and behavior classes. Or they teach basic care to new pet owners, including animal welfare and disease prevention.

They do what’s needed.

Some clinics also have vet techs perform routine procedures, such as:

Are Vet Techs Important?

Yes!

Veterinary technicians are vital to every veterinary clinic; they keep the office running. What would doctors for humans do without nurses? A vet tech’s work in the exam room, the operating room, and with pet parents is invaluable. It allows the entire office to see more patients while helping the veterinarian make diagnoses.

How Do You Become a Veterinary Technician?

To become a veterinarian technician, students must earn at least an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology, which takes two years. Students can also major in Animal Science, but that degree must offer veterinary technology as an emphasis. Some colleges may require students to observe in a veterinary hospital for at least 16 hours before being allowed to enroll in the program.

During their education, training vet techs learn about topics, including:

  • Animal behavior
  • Clinical practices
  • Animal pharmacology
  • Veterinarian clinic management
  • And more!

Communication courses are also recommended, as many vet techs work directly with pet owners. Students can also choose to specialize in particular fields, like:

  • Critical care
  • Dentistry
  • Anesthesia

A degree—either an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s—is required to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). The exam covers everything learned in the student’s courses, from surgery to lab procedures.

Once it is passed, the newly minted veterinary technician often applies for an internship and later a permanent position. It’s recommended that vet techs join the National Association of Veterinary Technicians to help them find the right positions, continue their education, and further their careers.

Only three states in the United States offer a way to become a veterinary technician without a degree or exam. Texas is not one of them. California, Alaska, and Wisconsin allow aspiring vet techs to get on-the-job training and pursue their certifications.

Who Becomes a Veterinary Technician?

Just like veterinarians, the job of veterinary technician attracts a certain type of person. Almost all are animal lovers first and foremost and pursue the position out of a passion for pets. But a good vet tech should also be…

  • Level-headed
  • Patient
  • Stabile

…especially in high-pressure situations.

In addition to animals, they must also be passionate about:

  • Communication
  • Teaching
  • People

A major aspect of their job is interacting with pet owners, both veterans and people who are new to owning animals!

There is no doubt that veterinary technicians are vital to any veterinary clinic or hospital. No wonder there’s a National Veterinary Technician Week! (In 2017, it’s October 15-21.) Everyone is thankful for their hard work and dedication to their position and animal welfare.

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Human Helpers: 5 Amazing Jobs of Service Dogs

When you imagine a service dog, you likely think of a seeing-eye dog. But did you know there are dozens of other lifesaving jobs service dogs can perform? Helping the visually impaired is only one of them. Check out just a few of these amazing service dog jobs, and why you should thank a service dog today!

1. Diabetic Alert Dogs

A less well-known—but equally important—service dog helps those with diabetes. Diabetic alert dogs, also known as DADs and blood sugar alert dogs, are trained to notice blood sugar highs and lows, particularly ones that are dangerous or could be fatal. The sooner these highs and lows are detected, the quicker the handler can take the appropriate measures.

What breeds are trained as diabetic alert dogs?

Specific dogs are chosen for this job, thanks to their sensitive noses. Labradors are a good example, but golden retrievers, poodle mixes, and sporting breeds are also popular choices. Some locations will train a dog if it has the right nose receptors. For example, Labrador retrievers have more than 200 million sensors. Other programs only train dogs from specific breeders.

How are they trained?

They’re trained to tell the difference between two scents: high blood sugar and low blood sugar. In response, they may be taught to take a certain action, which could include jumping on the handler or holding a specific toy in their mouth. In more serious cases, the dogs can use a K-9 Alert Phone to call 911.

DADs are trained for about six to eight months, but some dogs are not placed with their families until they are two years old.

Fun Facts About Diabetic Alert Dogs:

  • Diabetic alert dogs have about a 90% accuracy rate!
  • Although most DADs don’t have specialized gear, they do often carry emergency contact information for their humans.

2. Visual Assistance Dogs

Visual assistance is one of the most common service dog jobs. While their official title is “visual assistance dog,” they are sometimes called:

  • Seeing-eye dogs
  • Guide dogs
  • Leader dogs

Their main job is to assist the visually impaired or blind throughout their day. Although there is no one registry keeping track of all the guide dogs, the number is estimated to be in the tens of thousands.

What breeds are trained as visual assistance dogs?

  • Labradors
  • German shepherds
  • Golden retrievers

Many other breeds are also used. What’s important is that the dog matches the handler in height and stride. While small dogs are used, most visual assistance dogs are medium or large.

How are they trained?

Every dog trained for this job is required to go through vigorous training, and some may not be suited for the work. Training starts early for most visual assistance dogs, and their program ends with training with their potential human. The process before they are permanently placed lasts for months.

When they are training and working, the dogs wear white guide-dog harnesses, and they are taught a number of skills and tasks during their training, including:

  • Walking in a straight line
  • Going around obstacles
  • Stopping at corners and curbs

The dog will only continue when commanded, but if there is dangerous traffic, for example, it will wait until the coast is clear.

3. Hearing Dogs

Another common service dog is for the hearing impaired or deaf. Hearing dogs respond to daily sounds like:

  • Doorbells
  • Knocks
  • Telephone rings
  • Children crying
  • Smoke alarms
  • Cars

They let their owners know about important sounds by touching and leading. Once a hearing dog is comfortable in its home, new sounds can be learned, like oven buzzers or microwave beeps. Less common sounds can be learned, but it’s much easier for a hearing dog to learn repetitive sounds.

What breeds are trained as hearing dogs?

Most hearing dogs are actually from shelters, so they come in many different breeds, mixes, shapes, colors, and sizes. A majority of handlers do request smaller dogs, so many are small or medium. The chosen dog should be energetic and willing to work, so these breeds and mixes of these breeds are common:

  • Terrier
  • Poodle
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Shih Tzu

How are they trained?

Training hearing dogs takes a similar amount of time as training seeing eye dogs: four to six months. During training, and even during work, hearing dogs interpret the job as playtime.

4. Autism Assistance Dogs

A service dog job that is becoming more popular is autism assistance. These dogs are trained to help calm autistic individuals, when needed, but they also help the person maintain boundaries and learn life skills. The majority of autism-assistance-dog handlers are children.

service dog jobs

Autism assistance dogs mainly aid autistic children with social interaction by helping them connect with others and with avoiding repetitive behaviors by redirecting them. They can also create a safety net for a child and reduce stress for the entire family by being the family dog. These service dogs have been shown to help create independence and improve vocabulary as children become comfortable speaking to their dogs.

What breeds are trained as autism assistance dogs?

Autism assistance dogs are usually:

  • Labradors
  • Golden retrievers
  • Goldendoodles
  • Labradoodles
  • Similar mixes

How are they trained?

Autism assistance dogs undergo two types of training, in many cases:

  • With a program
  • In their home

The primary caretaker may be required to be there for both parts.

The time it takes to train an autism assistance dog depends on the particular program it goes through. Some programs allow the dogs to go to their families while they’re still puppies, while others wait until the dogs are adults.

Facts about Autism Assistance Dogs:

  • As with diabetic alert dogs, autism assistance dogs don’t tend to have gear, but they do carry emergency contact information.
  • Programs that train these service dogs usually ask for a donation, which can be around $13,000. Some also offer payment plans.

5. Seizure Alert Dogs

Seizure alert dogs usually work with people with epilepsy, which affects 2 million people in the United States, but these dogs can help someone with any seizure disorder. Sadly, many people who suffer from seizures avoid going outside or doing daily activities, but a seizure alert dog can change that for them.

What breeds are trained as seizure alert dogs?

For most cases, as with other service dogs, Labradors, golden retrievers, and their mixes are the most common breeds used for seizure alert services. If the adopter has allergies, poodles and poodle mixes may be used.

How are they trained?

Some seizure alert dogs can be trained to know when a seizure is coming, but not all services provide this. PAWS with a Cause® states that while they don’t train their dogs to predict seizures, it is possible for the dogs to learn after years with their owners.

The pups may be trained to:

  • Catch the person if they’re falling
  • Find help
  • Use a life-alert system
  • Remain close to their owner during a seizure event.

Training takes more than two years.

Facts about Seizure Alert Dogs:

  • Oncoming seizure alerts can include behaviors like circling, pacing, close eye contact, and pawing.
  • Some service dogs that are trained to know when a seizure is coming can predict one to up to an hour ahead of time!

There are many other jobs for service dogs than the examples listed here, from PTSD assistance to severe allergy alert! Dogs make amazing, wonderful pets for almost anyone. For the deaf, blind, autistic, diabetic, those living with seizure, and more, the work they do is lifesaving!

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5 Best Dog Dental Chews, with Vet Recommendations!

Every dog owner wants a healthy dog! Taking care of your furry friend includes taking care of their mouth, something many owners forget about. Of course, this means brushing their teeth and getting regular dental cleanings at the vet, but did you know your dog’s mouth health can be aided by dental chews?

Here’s why you should consider adding them to your dog’s diet and a few recommendations for some of the best!

Why Your Dog’s Dental Health Matters

Dogs’ teeth are often overlooked, but they’re an important aspect of your pup’s overall health! In fact, about 80% of pets will develop periodontal disease before they even turn 3 years old. And poor oral health can cause other issues, like:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

You can help avoid issues with your dog’s teeth by regularly brushing them, taking your dog to your vet for check-ups and dental cleanings, and using some recommended dental chews.

If you would like to schedule your next appointment for your pup’s dental cleaning or are concerned about their oral health, give us a call at 281-693-7387.

Why You Should Use Dog Dental Chews

Dog dental chews are just one part of ensuring your dog’s overall health, but they’re an important step—and one your dog is likely to enjoy. Over time, plaque builds up inside your dog’s mouth. Dental chews help reduce that plaque buildup by up to about 70%, and if the chew contains polyphosphate, it can reduce tartar by 55%. To be labeled an accepted product by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), a dog dental chew must reduce plaque or tarter by at least 10%.

Bonus! Dog dental chews are also known to reduce cases of bad breath.

best dog dental chews

The Top Dog Dental Chews

There are plenty of dental chews out there to choose from, but here are some of the top options on the market:

1. Enzadent Oral Care Chews (Recommended by Cinco Ranch Vet)

One of the dental chews we recommend the most is Vet Solutions Enzadent Oral Care Chews. Available in petite, small, medium, and large sizes, they work with your dog’s saliva and enzymes to break down any food left on the teeth. The beef hide they contain leaves your dog’s teeth clean and polished.

These chews can be given to your pup after meals.

2. Hill’s® Prescription Diet® Dental Care Chews (Recommended by Cinco Ranch Vet) 

Another dental chew treat we recommend to our patients is Hill’s Prescription Diet Dental Care Chews. They’re shaped like a toothbrush and floss and are designed to clean the teeth and reduce bad breath. They are available in small and regular sizes, and come in a mint flavor.

These dental chews are approved by the VOHC, although they are not recommended for dogs under 10 pounds or younger than 10 months.

3. GREENIES™ Original Dental Chews 

Also approved by the VOHC, GREENIES Original Dental Chews are another great selection. They come in four sizes: teenie, petite, regular, and large.

Used daily, they fight plaque, tartar, and bad breath and have ingredients that are easy for your dog to digest. In addition to the original flavor, try blueberry and freshmint flavors!

GREENIES also offers dental chews that work for weight management and hip and joint care, as well as grain-free choices.

Homemade Dog Dental Chews 

Sometimes homemade is best! This can be true even for dog dental chews, especially if your dog is a picky eater.

4. DIY Dog Treat

This chew is similar to GREENIES but uses mint, chlorophyll, and homemade chicken stock and focuses more on combating bad breath in dogs than on reducing plaque and tartar buildup. Find the recipe here!

5. Doggie Pancake Breath Busters

This is another great recipe for freshening your pup’s breath. It makes about 30 biscuits and will have your dog’s breath smelling like mint. Check out this and nine other recipes here. If your dog isn’t a fan of pancakes, there are quite a few others to choose from!

Use Dog Dental Chews with Care 

As with anything you feed your dog, it’s important to give them dog dental chews with care. While some are designed to be daily treats, read the label of anything you feed your dog, and look carefully at the ingredients. It’s also a good idea to ask your veterinarian for advice!

Just like regular dog snacks and treats, calories in dog dental chews add up quickly. If your pup is a huge fan of a particular chew, they could swallow it too quickly, before it can have any real benefit on their mouth. It’s important to find the right match for your dog and the right amount to give them, so they don’t pack on the pounds.

It’s also important to use the right size treats for your pet. For example, even the small version of Hill’s Prescription Diet Dental Care Chews are not for dogs under 10 pounds, while GREENIES Dog Dental Treats in petite size are perfect for dogs between 5 and 15 pounds. Giving your dog a treat that is too large can cause them to choke, and a treat that is too small may be swallowed without being chewed. Check with your vet if you’re unsure about the right size.

Other Fun Options for Dental Care 

In addition to the top dog dental chews listed above, there are other treats and toys you can give your dog to aid their oral health. Rawhide chews are great for reducing plaque and tartar, although if your dog has diseased teeth, you may want to avoid hard bones and pigs’ ears.

Some kibbles are also designed to aid your dog’s teeth. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets and Science Diet Oral Care for Dogs are two choices that have been approved by the VOHC and are known to reduce tartar.

If your dog has a habit of eating dental care treats too quickly, look into toys! Kong and Gumabones are two recommended brands.

Taking care of your dog’s teeth is an essential part of their overall well-being. Giving them dental chews, brushing their teeth, and taking them to regular dental cleanings at your vet are all great ways to avoid issues like gingivitis and periodontal disease.

If you’re worried about your dog’s dental health or they’re in need of a dental cleaning, schedule their next appointment with us!

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What Does a Veterinarian Do? Explore a Day in the Life of Your Vet!

It’s likely that the only time you’re ever at your veterinarian’s office is when you bring your pet in for an exam. This gives you a peek at what life at the hospital is like, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. There’s so much going on behind the scenes! And you don’t get to see a lot of your vet’s job. Each day is different, depending on who walks through the doors. Your vet’s morning may start with a young, happy puppy attending its first check-up or an aging cat in need of life-saving surgery.

Let’s explore a day in the life of a vet!

Starting the Day

Most veterinarians wake up the same way other pet owners do: with a cold nuzzle of a nose just in time for a morning walk or a soft, yet demanding cry for food. After their own morning routine and asking their pet to “be good,” a vet makes their way to the office. Most clinics open around 8 or 9 AM and begin seeing clients immediately. Cinco Ranch Vet opens at 7 AM, Monday through Friday, and 8 AM on Saturdays.

Spaying, Neutering, Surgeries

Often, veterinarians have set appointment times for surgeries, including spaying and neutering. They tend to do them in the mornings, so animal that need the procedures are seen in a timely manner and have the rest of the day to recover at the office before being picked up by their humans in the afternoons or early evenings.

Spay and neuters involve anesthesia and pain medication as well as constant monitoring during the procedure. A male cat’s neuter is by far the fastest, with the procedure itself sometimes taking as few as two minutes! A male dog’s neuter will take a vet a bit longer—up to 20 minutes—but this depends on the dog’s size and age.

Spaying female cats and dogs takes vets a bit longer, especially if the animal is in heat. For cats, a vet will spend 15 to 20 minutes in surgery, and a dog’s spay procedure can be up to 90 minutes.

In addition to spay and neuter procedure, veterinarians usually have to factor in other surgeries, like:

  • Tooth extraction
  • Surgery on cancer
  • Bladder stone removal

These are extremely common reasons a dog or cat may require a procedure.

Besides time in the operating rooms, vets also dedicate time out of their day, either at the office or at home, to research information about diagnoses and surgeries and surgical techniques, so they’re always improving the way they care for your pet.

Check-Ups

Much of your veterinarian’s day involves doing check-ups. Many check-ups are for animals’ first ever vet visits! Some breeders’ contracts require new owners to take their pets to a vet within three days, and some shelters ask that new owners visit within seven.

During your cat or dog’s very first visit, your veterinarian will check many things:

  • Weight
  • Temperature
  • Lungs (by listening)
  • Heart (by listening)
  • Mouth and teeth
  • Skin
  • Coat
  • Face
  • Abdomen (by feeling)
  • Lymph nodes (by feeling)

An animal’s first visit is also a great chance for owners to ask questions about their new pets, including future care and diet, so a vet will listen to their questions and concerns and propose solutions. Many pets also receive their first shots during this visit and get a schedule for booster shots and other vaccinations.

what does a veterinarian do

As you know, animals shouldn’t go to the vet just once. Annual check-ups are important for their ongoing health, and a vet’s typical day includes these too. An annual check-up may involve:

  • Vaccinations
  • A dental exam
  • An overall wellness check

Many owners will also receive advice from their vets, which may include diet and activity changes as the pet gets older.

Appointments

First-time visits and annual check-ups are made by appointments, which make up much of a veterinarian’s day. There are other reasons for appointments, usually because of concerns a pet owner has. Three common reasons cats and dogs see the vet are:

  • Upset stomachs
  • Skin allergies
  • Ear infections

Dogs often also require appointments for skin and bladder infections, while cats visit for kidney and dental disease.

During these types of appointments, a vet inspects the animal, which may include taking its weight and temperature and asking the owner questions about changes in the pet’s:

The vet may make a diagnosis right away, based on what they see and hear, but some issues require further testing like:

  • Blood work
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds

The veterinarian will also offer advice on what to look for in the next few days and how to care for the animal in the future.

Emergencies

Sometimes emergency cases walk—or are carried—through the door of a veterinary hospital. A dog could have been involved in a fight or a car accident. Or an animal’s behavior or health may have suddenly changed, like labored breathing or excessive straining in the litter box.

When situations like this happen, many owners are unsure at first and call veterinary offices for advice, which is always welcome. If the veterinarian advises, the animal will be brought in.

If a life-threatening emergency shows up at a clinic, it is likely to be seen immediately. After an examination—and stabilization, if needed—the veterinarian will advise the owner on what to do next.

            Note: If you ever believe your pet needs an emergency vet visit, don’t hesitate: Call 281-693-7387 to ask for advice or get information about coming in.

Euthanasia

Sadly, a veterinarian’s day sometimes involves euthanasia. When there is nothing more that can be done for a pet, or they are in considerable pain, euthanasia is sometimes recommended. Although it does make a beloved pet’s passing easier, it is heartbreaking for owners—and veterinarians.

Although a veterinarian’s day can sometimes have sad parts—because of a chronic condition or the passing of an animal—most veterinarians absolutely love their jobs. Their education and hard work pays off in ensuring puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats have long, happy lives. The best sight is a joyful, wagging tail walking out the door next to a satisfied owner.

 

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A Dog MRI? A CAT Scan? Advanced Technology Your Vet Uses, and How It Helps Your Pet

We know bringing your pet into the office for an emergency or surgery can be nerve-wracking, whether you’ve been a pet-parent for a week or 10 years. Thankfully, there are two things your pet has on its side:

  • Your vet’s education and experience (Find out more about that here.)
  • The ever-improving technology your vet uses to care for your pet

Technology in veterinarian offices has improved and evolved over the last 25 years, making procedures faster and more comfortable for your pet and easier for us to ensure their health.

Here are just a few of the advanced technologies veterinarians throughout the U.S. use to keep animals healthy and happy!

MRI

Many humans have heard of MRIs, and many others have even received them, but did you know they’re also used by veterinarians? Formally called magnetic resonance imaging, radio waves and a magnetic field produce the images.

In humans, MRIs are often used to find:

  • Artery disease
  • Tumors
  • Injuries

In dogs and cats, MRIs are most often used for investigating issues with the:

  • Brain
  • Spine
  • Tendons
  • Joints
  • And more

An MRI is an extremely advanced diagnostic tool. If your pet is suffering from an issue like a spinal cord injury or a brain tumor, an MRI will absolutely help your vet diagnose the issue. Non-invasive and with no ionizing radiation, it is much safer than many other solutions for find out what’s going on in your animal’s body.

Dog MRIs can be expensive, costing up to $1,500 per scan, but if you have pet insurance, it is most likely covered. This does not always include the price of anesthesia.

Since MRI technology is so advanced, it’s not available in every office. If your pet needs an MRI, and your vet doesn’t offer it, they will be able to help you schedule the appointment at a specialty center. At Cinco Ranch Vet, we often refer to Gulf Coast Veterinary Services, as well as Texas A&M.

CAT Scan

A CAT (forcomputer axiel tomography)—or CT—scan is another tool familiar to us humans. It’s a diagnostic imaging test similar to the MRI, and in humans it’s often used to discover the cause of a stroke or investigate head injuries. It can also be helpful when looking for issues with blood vessels. For dogs and cats, CAT scans are most commonly used to determine the cause of neurological disorders, like issues walking and seizures.

Using X-ray beams—but more powerful than a conventional X-ray—the vet technician puts dye into the patient’s bloodstream to provide contrast on the CAT scan’s gray scale.

In some cases, after a CAT scan, further investigation is needed, which may include an MRI. Pet owners can expect to pay $500 to $1,200, depending on the extent of the scans plus monitoring and anesthesia.

A CAT scan, like an MRI, may only be available at a specialty practice in your area and might require recommendation from your vet.

Anesthetic Monitoring

For CAT scans, MRIs, spaying and neutering, and surgery on almost any pet, that animal will be put under anesthesia to ensure it doesn’t move or feel pain during the procedure. While most pets do not have reactions to anesthesia, it’s always important to be careful and monitor their vital signs, like any human during surgery. Thanks to improvements in technology, anesthetic monitoring is better than ever!

There are several parts of the monitoring process:

  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) can be used to show a patient’s heart rate and rhythm while also detecting any abnormalities that may occur.
  • A pulse oxymeter monitors the oxygen levels in your pet’s blood.
  • A CO2 monitor checks the CO2 that your pet exhales.

Also watched carefully throughout the procedure are your pet’s:

  • Blood pressure
  • Pulse rates
  • Temperature

The cost of anesthesia depends on:

  • The procedure
  • The type of animal
  • The size of the animal

For most surgeries and diagnostic exams, the anesthesia price will be explained by your vet and added to the cost of the procedure.

dog mri

Ultrasound

Since dog MRIs and MRIs for cats can be quite expensive and not always readily available for use, pet owners have another solution available to them: ultrasounds.

An ultrasound is perfect for investigating your pet’s heart and abdomen. It’s extremely helpful if your pet has swallowed something it shouldn’t have. Fast, inexpensive, and non-invasive, most patients will not even require anesthesia during an ultrasound.

Although ultrasounds are not yet in every veterinarian’s office, they are becoming a popular tool, and many vets are investing in them. Costs can range between $50 and 500, making it a more affordable solution for most pet owners.

If an X-ray does not determine the cause of an issue, we provide ultrasounds in our office by appointment.

3D Printing

3D printing seems to be used for almost everything now, and it’s still evolving. Biological engineers are even looking into its uses for artificial organs!

This technology allows veterinarians to plan ahead when surgery for pets is required. In one case, when a CAT scan didn’t provide enough information for a particular patient at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, professors used a 3D printer to replicate the dog’s effected bones. This allowed the veterinarian to determine a solution ahead of time, rather than during the surgery.

3D printing requires a specialized computer that layers materials into a specific shape. Due to the advanced technology of 3D printing, 3D printers are most often found at veterinary teaching colleges, where they were first used in 2009.

More colleges and more specialty centers are using 3D printers to plan surgeries and look for solutions that may not have been used in the past. Unfortunately, due to the cost, it may be quite a while before a 3D printer is available in your local vet’s office.

Laser Therapy

At Cinco Ranch Vet, we use FDA-approved laser therapy to decrease the pain associated with surgery and reduce animals’ inflammation. It’s a great treatment post-surgery and provides much-needed relief to dogs and cats with arthritis.

Laser therapy works by calling on the body’s own healing and immune system. Different wavelengths are used for different procedures. Deep tissue treatment, for example, takes only 5 to 10 minutes, but arthritic patients require several sessions.

At Cinco Ranch Vet, we know bringing your cat or dog in for an MRI, an ultrasound, or even a spay or neuter procedure can be stressful; it’s natural to worry! But thanks to advances in technology, our job of taking care of your pet and diagnosing their problems is easier than ever. If you are curious about the technology we use at our practice or our preferred specialists, give us a call, or feel free to ask during your next visit!

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How to Trim Your Dog's Nails: A Step-by-Step Guide + Tips

Just like brushing your dog’s teeth, trimming a dog’s nails can be a bit intimidating at first, especially if you have a pup that doesn’t want to cooperate. But trimming your dog’s nails at home is likely easier than you think! Below is a short guide to what you’ll need to keep their claws looking their best. Of course, if you’re still unsure, have any questions, or want a demonstration, call Cinco Ranch Vet today!

Why Trimming Your Dog’s Nails Is Necessary

You know that all dogs have claws, but did you know that properly maintaining them is important to your pup’s overall health? If growing claws are left unattended, they can eventually cause pain or even injuries to your dog’s paws and legs. Long nails can leave the paw splayed, making it difficult to walk and, in some cases, causing the foot to become deformed.

For this reason, your dog’s nails should be trimmed every 4 weeks, although digging in the dirt and walking on pavement can help keep them dull and filed. You should also clip them if they become broken or torn.

Materials You’ll Need

There aren’t many materials you need to trim your dog’s nails, but you’ll want to have everything on hand before you start, so the process is as smooth and stress-free—for your pooch—as possible.

Materials:

  • Nail clippers
  • Clotting powder
  • Grinder tools/emery board (optional, but recommended)
  • Treats (suggested)

Nail Clippers

When it comes to nail clippers, there are quite a few choices available. Guillotine-style clippers are generally easiest to use, but this style also makes it pretty easy to pinch your dog’s toes. They are perfect for small dogs but may be more difficult to use on larger dogs.

Pliers-style and scissor-style nail clippers are great options for bigger breeds, as their nails are larger and tougher.

Maintain your clippers by ensuring they are sharp or using replacement blades.

Note: Never use human nail trimmers on your dog! Dog nail clippers are designed to meet the shape of a dog’s nails.

How to Use the Clippers

Guillotine clippers work very differently than pliers or scissor clippers, and it’s important to know how to use each one before beginning.

  • Guillotine clippers – Slide your dog’s nail into the hole at the top, and squeeze. As the blade lowers, it will cut off the nail tip.
  • Pliers and scissor clippers – Put your dog’s nails in between the pliers or scissors, and cut the nail through in one stroke.

Clotting Powder

Clotting powder is a must-have in case you accidentally trim your dog’s nails too short, and they start to bleed. Styptic powder is great to have on hand, but if you need to trim your dog’s nails and don’t have access to clotting powder, mix together:

  • Baking soda
  • Baking flour
  • Cornstarch

Grinder Tool

A grinder tool is essentially an emery board that rotates. It’s great for smoothing out your dog’s nails after a trim, but it isn’t required to get trimming done. Pedipaws is a popular product.

Some dogs that are especially unhappy about having their nails trimmed may prefer a grinder, and many groomers like to use grinders because they cauterize the end of each nail.

Treats

As a dog owner, you know that treats make everything better!

 

Before You Start…

Before trimming your dog’s nails for the first time, you may want to have your groomer or vet show you how to do it.

The first step is to make sure your dog is comfortable, relaxed, and okay with its feet and claws being touched. This may take a few sessions. Once your pup is comfortable with you handling its paws, you can move on to trimming.

At the beginning, you may want to clip only a few nails at a time to reduce your dog’s stress. Have a few treats handy during the session to reward your pup for good behavior and make the situation more appealing. If your dog becomes uncomfortable—squirming or acting nervous—stop and try again later.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Again, it’s recommended to watch a professional groomer or veterinarian trim your dog’s nails before trying it yourself.

Once you’re ready, your dog is comfortable, and you have all your supplies, it’s time to get started!

Step 1: Position your pup.

Have your dog lie down on its side. Some people find having the dog lie on a table is easier. Ensure your pup remains still throughout the process.

Step 2: Gain access to the nails.

Take your dog’s paw into your hand, and squeeze the pad softly. This will splay the foot and extend the nails.

Step 3: Look for the quick line.

The quick line supplies blood to the nail and contains nerves. Make sure to clip in front of it to avoid injuries.

Step 4: Trim.

Carefully trim each nail one at a time using the clippers. 

Note: If you accidentally trim the quick, use the clotting powder right away to stop any bleeding. Hold the powder onto the nail until the bleeding stops, and continue to add more as needed. Consider trimming the remaining nails another day.

Step 5: Grind.

Once all the nails are trimmed, use the grinder tool to smooth them. Using the V of the tool, move in one direction until you reach the end of the V. If you decide to use the grinder tool for the entire process, note that it will take longer than trimming, and some dogs will require extra time to become accustomed to the sound and movement.

Step 6: Treats!

Once you’re all done, it’s time for treats! Although you should consider giving your dog treats—and definitely give it reassurance—throughout the entire session.

When to Take Your Dog to a Professional Groomer or Vet

If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails at home, schedule an appointment with your groomer or vet. This is also the case if your dog just cannot get comfortable with the process, even after several sessions.

Dogs with darker nails may require trips to a professional, as it is harder to see the quick and avoid injury. You may also want to take your pup to the vet if you don’t have clotting powder on hand and an injury occurred.

Trimming your dog’s nails is necessary to ensure its health and well-being. It can be done at home when your dog is relaxed but sometimes requires a professional’s assistance. If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails or would like to see how it’s done, give us a call at 281-693-7387!

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