Tonawanda News


July 20, 2013

CRITTER COMPANIONS: Foot care for flip flop season

Tonawanda News — It’s the middle of summer and we are seeing a lot of people. And I don’t mean we are seeing many people, I mean the people we are seeing — they are revealing a lot. 

Whether it is short shorts, tight T-shirts or thongs on their feet (or elsewhere), we are seeing a lot of skin. Sometimes, if we are unfortunate enough, we even see nails. Tiny, perfectly manicured, painted with polka dot toenails may be acceptable, however, most of us are not 15-year-old girls.

If you find yourself with gnarly, twisting, overgrown, dirty toenails, please do us viewers and yourself a favor and cut and clean them. Now, if your pets have similar-looking nails, they are not at fault.

They do say that people start to resemble their pet after a certain period of time.

I understand if your pet hates to have their feet touched. Who can blame them? That body part is naturally sensitive and the feeling of being restrained is hard to overcome. Of course there is a solution: Train the behavior.

If there is a clicking when your pet is approaching you from the kitchen floor, it is most likely time to cut those nails. Other warning signs could be problems with their gait, toenails crossing over each other or nails starting to bend in the incorrect way. Cats and dogs do walk on their toes so ensuring that their nails do not bend is very important. Untrimmed nails could lead to torn and bleeding nails, arthritis or ingrown nails.

Here are a few ways that I have trained critter companions to accept their nails being trimmed. If you are not the one cutting the nails, your pet pedicurist will surely appreciate the desensitization you have trained.

When we first got our kitten, Julian, he would curl up and sleep on our legs or on our chest. Sadly, sometimes we would have to move and in order to do that we would disturb the cat. We would shovel him up into our arms and relocate him on a real piece of furniture. When transporting him, Julian would be a little groggy so we would touch his feet. He did not react so we rewarded him with a treat.

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