At some point in life you will probably be faced with the task of cutting you Shih Tzu’s toe nails. Your Shih Tzu’s toe nails should ideally be clipped at least once a month. Unclipped nails may get caught on items and cause unnecessary pain to your Shih Tzu.
Before you begin clipping nails be sure to gather the following supplies:
- Toy breed nail clippers
- Stypic powder or corn starch
- A couple Q-tips
- A bath towel
- A bully stick
- A treat
- A human helper
As a responsible Shih Tzu breeder, I work really hard to expose all the puppies raised in my breeding program to nail trimming and other common grooming procedures. Most of the Shih Tzu Puppies don’t love nail trims but learn to tolerate the process over time. Hopefully the early nail trimming practice will make the nail clipping process go more once puppies go to their forever homes!
Start out by placing your Shih Tzu on a clean counter top. Establish rapport by petting your puppy. Offer the puppy a bully stick to distract him or her. Once your Shih Tzu puppy is comfortably chewing on the bully stick gently spend a minute massaging the paw area to get him or her comfortable.
Grab your clippers and locate a toe nail. If the nail is white you will see the blood supply under the nail. This is known as the quick. If you clip the nail to short into the quick area you will cause bleeding. Then you will have to dab a Q-tip into the Stypic powder and blot the bleeding nail until bleeding ceases. The goal is to cut above the quick. This is accomplished by cutting above the pink area.
Black nails are a little more challenging because you cannot see the quick. In this case, clip a small amount of nail at a time. Look at the center of the nail. It should be solid white in the center. Once you see a black hole in the center of the nail you will know you’re coming close to the quick. Stop clipping before you reach the black center to avoid bleeding. The goal is to simply keep the nails maintained. Let your groomer fine tune the nail area.
If your Shih Tzu puppy is squirmy and the bully stick isn’t enough, grab the towel and wrap your puppy up like a burrito. Have your human assistant cradle your puppy while you remove one paw at a time from the towel and trim.
Don’t forget to clip the dewclaws both front and back. Declaws are the toenails on the inside of the front and back legs. All dogs are born with front dewclaws. The front dewclaw is equivalent to the human thumb. Not all dogs have back declaws but some do. Some breeders remove dewclaws at birth. I don’t remove front or back dewclaws from any of the puppies raised in my breeding program. I find it unnecessary. Finally, remember to give your puppy plenty of praise and a great treat for an awesome job when finished!