I was having breakfast with two of my dear friends yesterday, who happen to own three Newfoundlands, and when I asked what they were doing the rest of the day they groaned and said "We have to do nails today!" There was a collective sigh and nod of heads because feet in general can either go quickly, or like us, it goes painfully slow. It always seems to be a battle of wills and who is going to win that day. Usually it's me.
For some reason although I hate doing it, I consider well groomed feet one of the indicators of a well cared for dog. To me it shows that an owner takes pride in their dog and understands the importance of regular grooming. Besides aesthetics there's a good reason to keep your dog's feet in shape. When hair and nails get too long they can track in dirt and debris, carry allergens that the dog then licks off and makes their allergies worse, lead to cracked nails that cause pain, or like in dachshunds it can actually effect their backs and cause damage from being off balance. Plus, don't you just like the look of nicely groomed feet? So today, we are going to tackle grooming dachshund feet. Cleaning out the pads goes for any dog, but I'll show you how to get a tighter clip on the front of the feet.
For this you will need a pair of straight edge scissors and your 48-tooth thinning shears. I have the dachshunds lie on their backs on my lap to make it easy to see the entire foot, but I trained them to do this when they were puppies so you may need to find a way that works best for both you and your dog. (Nooner actually fell asleep today while I was trimming her feet so it can be a good experience, for those of you that have puppies try this and massage their feet so they get used to it before attempting to trim.) Here's what the AKC standard says about dachshund feet: Front paws are full, tight, compact, with well-arched toes and tough, thick pads. They may be equally inclined a trifle outward. There are five toes, four in use, close together with a pronounced arch and strong, short nails. So that's the look I will try to achieve.
Take your straight edge scissor and carefully trim away the hair using the pad as a guide. I don't trim down between the pads (personal preference) but my vet said a few weeks ago that if they have allergies sometimes it helps to get as much hair out as possible. Then I go perpendicular to the outside edge of the foot and trim off long hairs using the foot as a guide. Nails may be in the way but work around them the best that you can. I trim, do nails, then come back and trim excess off again.
Above you can see where I've trimmed the left foot and the right is still long. I also take @ 1/2" up from the bottom of the foot up the hock area for a cleaner look.
This is what your pads should look like when you are done. Next step is the top of the foot, so grab those thinning shears. Push or comb the hair up so it's sticking up off the top of the foot. Using your shears, and moving slowly start trimming away the hair, with your shears, parallel to the growth of the hair. This helps to keep it smooth and so it won't look choppy. Clip as closely as you can without cutting your dog, it helps to lay them a bit flatter, parallel to the foot. Finish up by trimming off excess hair with your straight scissors.
Here I have a before and after picture. Front foot is on top and back foot is on the bottom. For a tighter look on the front I would have had to trim her nails even further back but Hazel takes a dislike to any nail trim so this is as far back as I could get them today without drawing blood from either one of us. I'm debating adding the video that we shot showing this tutorial. It's not perfect but if you think it would help let me know and I'll upload it tonight. No laughing at the quality though!