TODAY   |  June 17, 2013

Ask the vet: How to trim pets’ nails without pain

TODAY animal advocate Jill Rappaport and Dr. Brett Levitzke answer common pet questions, including how to trim your dog’s nails and how to know if shedding is abnormal.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> is your couch covered in fur? does your dog freak out at the sight of a nail clipper ? these are a few of the issues dog owners deal with every day.

>> so we brought in experts to answer your questions. our animal advocate is here as always and brett. they brought two dogs, buc and ruby.

>> all right. let's launch right into this. shedding is a huge problem for dog owners.

>> it doesn't look like ruby has much to shed here.

>> no, she doesn't. i invested in a lot of lint rollers.

>> let's pull buck up here. it's an unbelievable problem.

>> is any amount of shedding normal or when do you know you have a problem with abnormal shedding.

>> all dogs shed and they shed that extra fur they have in the wintertime and he's ready to go here so i'm going to start demonstrating. large clumps of hair come out, red and irritated and painful then you'll see a vet.

>> look at that.

>> that's the furmanator.

>> it is and he is an excellent candidate for it.

>> you're supposed to do it every day.

>> the best way to prevent shedding is do it every day. gets rid of the dead hair so they don't shed all over the house.

>> let's talk about the other products as well.

>> are these supposed to be good shampoos.

>> maintaining good health of the fur. it's a good quality shampoo. don't want to bathe them too often.

>> another problem dogs have -- and buck is a candidate, fatty tumors.

>> if we turn him around, my nickname for my sweetheart, we call him mashed potatoes. we has so many lumps and bumps. this one is the size of a baseball.

>> and one over here and over here and when people hear the word tumor. it scares them. they think it's going to be malignant. dogs, especially, sorry buck that are a little overweight, as they get older they develop these benign fatty growths. they're not problematic and we can see he has --

>> it's nothing to worry about but does it get uncomfortable for them?

>> i keep a diagram at home for buck. he has over 50 and i check them regularly and if they start to grow rapidly there's a little bit of concern because it can inhibit their movement.

>> how do you know the difference between one that's a problem or not.

>> the vet will take a small sample of it with a needle no bigger than a vaccine needle. but once you can document they're benign you can keep an eye on them. as long as they're still growing, if they don't cause problems you can keep an eye on them at home.

>> get them checked out one way or another and a good pet mom like jill, she has the diagram.

>> and you rarely remove them.

>> right. unless it's causing a problem.

>> let's move to the part that i always cringe as clipping the nails.

>> i worked at a pet store when i was a teenager and i clipped a dog's nails too far and it was bleeding everywhere.

>> so you worry about --

>> please do not try this at home unless you know what you're doing.

>> because the nail unlike a human nail, they have a vein and nerves that can be painful and if you get that once they'll never let you do it again.

>> how do you know where you can go?

>> right here, she has little tips that can be trimmed off here.

>> he saw those nail clippers and he went out of here.

>> like most dogs.

>> okay. so you just take it and you just want to get --

>> just the tip.

>> just the tip there.

>> and how often should you clip their nails.

>> oh --

>> well, a country dog like ruby probably needs them done more often because she is not walking on the concrete. however city dogs probably have them done less. maybe a few times a year.

>> i'm here and it's free. do some more.

>> okay.

>> come on, keep going.

>> but be careful.

>> thank you so much. good segment. we'll have a lot more pet owners asking questions