Cutting the nails of a Yorkie, is an important part of the beauty treatment, also an important health precaution. Nails that grow too long can get caught in carpet loops and pulled from the nail bed, impacting the ground with every step, displacing the normal position of the toes, and causing discomfort, splaying, and even lameness.
If dewclaws, those rudimentary “thumbs” on the wrists, are present, they are especially prone to getting caught on things and ripped out, and can even grow in a loop and back into the leg. They’re easy to miss under all that hair! A groomer will clip your dog’s nails, or you can have your veterinary clinic to do it, but it’s easier to do it yourself.
The best time to start is in puppyhood, so you can teach him early on that, this is worth the treats you’ll be heap on him for every nail cut. Do this enough, and avoid cutting the quick, and your Yorkie will be wishing he had more toes. Use nail clippers – either the guillotine type or scissors type are fine for Yorkshire nails. Just be sure they are sharp, as dull clippers crush the nail and hurt.
You can also use a tiny nail grinder, but don’t let the heat build up, and don’t let any long hair wrap around the shaft. The way to avoid this is by putting an old nylon stocking over the foot and pushing each nail through it before filing. You also have to make sure your Yorkshire doesn’t put his head near the grinder, where he could get his hair caught in it. It’s easiest to hold your Yorkshire on his back in your lap to cut his nails. This allows you to see the quick, the sensitive and potentially bleeding part of the nail, better.
If you look under the nail, you can see where it begins to get hollow; anywhere it looks hollow is quickless. In this same area, the nail will suddenly get much thinner. Again, where it’s thin, it’s safe to cut. In a light-colored nail you can see a redder area that indicates the blood supply; the sensitive quick extends slightly further down the nail than the blood supply. When in doubt, cut too little and gradually whittle your way higher. You’ll occasionally goof up and cut the quick. That calls for styptic powder to quell the bleeding and lots of extra treats to assuage your guilt!
Trimming the Feet
All Yorkshires should have the hair between their footpads trimmed. Left long, it can cause the dog to slip and also attract dirt and debris, dispersing it around the house. You have to be very careful when trimming around the tiny paw pads, because they can be cut badly by a powerful clipper. It’s safer to use a moustache trimmer or small, blunt-nosed scissors. Dogs tend to be ticklish there, so be prepared for jumpy paws.
Start by trimming the edge along the outside of the foot, so the hair doesn’t reach the ground but instead forms a rounded edge. Then carefully trim the hair from under the foot, between the pads.