We tried to trim Andy's nails last Wednesday night, and as I suspected would be the case, things didn't go well at all. I did a bit of research before we tackled the task and decided to try the advice of a vet I found on youtube. She suggests counterconditioning and desensitization in our situation. Basically you use food to alter the emotional state of the dog from fearful to relaxed and you use repetitive stimuli, gradually increasing in intensity, in order to desensitize your dog to the sensation of the clippers. We tried following the advice on the video...but unfortunately it just didn't work for us.
I ended up swinging by Home Depot that evening and picking up an abrasive disc for my Dremel with the hopes that Andy would take me grinding down his nails better than clipping them. There are actually a number of pet nail trimming products on the market, including one from Dremel, that follow this principle. Since I already had a Dremel I just purchased the discs and an adapter. Was it a success? Heck no. Andy kicked, bucked, and screamed bloody murder. Arg. Man, my neighbors must think we're torturing the boy.
I refuse to pay a vet or a groomer to trim his nails (at this point) and will continue to research different methods. His nails really are getting way, way too long so we need to come up with a solution fast. Long nails are a hazard not only to us and Andy's feline brothers, but to him. I've read that when they get too long they're more prone to break, which is painful and can lead to infection. According to the ASPCA really long nails can also change your dog's gait and lead to skeletal damage. I don't think we're anywhere near that point but we really do need to nip this problem in the bud. Any suggestions?