About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I have come to the conclusion that the only reason for dogs to be born with toes nails, is so that groomers can be tortured by them......both physically and mentally.

It starts with Grooming School.

You are petrified of hitting the quick, hurting the dog, and making the nail bleed.
Your teacher keeps telling you to take more off.
You keep taking itty, bitty pieces off the nails, until the teacher gets fed up with you and comes over, grabs those stupid guillotine nail clippers out of your hand and says; "Here. Let me show you again!" and proceeds to clip the nails with lightning speed, making you feel like an idiot.
Torture session number one.

You eventually become more comfortable with clipping the nails.

Of course, you learn very quickly that those nails can be a pain in your a** in different ways....literally.

Like, early on in my grooming career.

One summer to be exact.

I was wearing flip flops (open toes shoes) to work.
I was walking a very large Old English to the tub when he decided that he wanted to go back to his kennel.
He turned, stepped down on the top of my bare foot, and proceeded to dig all of his toes nails into my skin, and pushing with all of his might to go back to his kennel.

Talk about pain.

Lets just say, by the time I was able to get his foot off of the top of my foot, get feeling back into my foot, and saw the four holes in the top of my foot, I had learned my lesson to never ever wear open shoes in the grooming room again.

Oh, I used to wear ear rings also....until the day that a Shih-tzu put his paw up to my face as I was carrying him back to the grooming room and got one his nails caught in the loop of my earring.

Talk about some more pain.

I was able to get the nail out of the earring before he ripped the whole earring out of my earlobe, but I swear he did manage to pull the earring enough to make the hole larger.
I no longer wear earrings to work.

Of course, there are the countless number of times that a dog freaks out as I am taking them out of a kennel and they rake their nails across my neck, or arm, or face.
And, the times that they dig all of their back nails into your back as you carry them from the kennel, to the tub, to your table.

Lets not forget the times that the dog hangs on you in the tub as you are trying to rinse their face and they tear your arms to shreds.

Then there are the heart attacks....

~The heart attacks with the dogs that like to try to lick your nail clippers as you are trying to clip their nails.
~The dogs that sit there nicely and let you clip all of their nails....till the very last nail...then they go for the kill, and go after the nails clipper, or you big time.
~Or, the dogs that think that you are playing with them while you are trying to clip their nails.
They like to watch you, and just as you start to squeeze the clipper, they lung with a playful bite at the clipper.
~And, I can't forget the dogs that insist on hanging their heads right down in front of their feet so that you can not see what you are trying to clip.

Last but not least....the ticklish dogs.

~The dogs that, just as you are about to clip the nail, jerk their foot so hard, or mule kick so hard, that they send your nails clippers sailing across the room.

As if that isn't enough to deal with nails and the dogs.....we come to the pet owners.

You have the owners that could care less as to whether their dogs nails are kept short.

Or, are just ignorant of the fact that dogs need to have their nails clipped regularly.

Then there are the pet owners that have actually gotten angry at me, because I will not clip their dogs nails all of the way back to the toe.

Me: "I am sorry, I don't clip nails back that far. It would be very painful for your dog."
Pet owner: "I don't care. I want the nails cut off. They are tearing up my wood floors!!"

Now, to be fair, I have only had a hand full of pet owners request this of me.
Every one of them got pissed off with me when I refused.

I actually groomed a Standard Poodle whose owner would routinely have his dog put under by the Vet so that said Vet could clip the dogs nails all of the way back to the toes.

Then comes the pet owners who like to accuse you of not clipping their dogs nails when you groomed them.
The only problem is....these owners tend to wait till weeks after the grooming to call you.
Much too late for you to take up for yourself.

Case in point:

I recently had a customer call to say that her dogs nails had not been clipped at the last grooming.
It had been 3 weeks since his dog had been groomed.
The dog was due in for another grooming in 6 days.

The owner did not want to wait till his grooming appointment.
We let him bring his dog in that day to have the nails done.
Yes, they were fairly long, but after 3 weeks there was no way to know whether they had been missed during the last groom.
We are not perfect, but it is highly unlikely that the nails were not clipped.

So I clipped them, and filed them.

Now, I am going to toot my own horn here a little.
I am very good at clipping nails.
I am very good at getting them as short as possible without bleeding them.
I don't want customers coming back and accusing me of not doing the nails, or not getting them short enough.

So, I clipped those nails as short as I could safely get them.
Then I filed them nice and smooth and round.

That same owner came back in six days for the dogs regular grooming.

 This is what the nails looked like 6 days after I had clipped and filed them.

Even I could not believe how much they had grown in 6 days!!

No wonder they made me question whether or not we had clipped them at the last grooming.

Once again I clipped and filed the nails.

Now I have picture proof of how fast this dogs nails grow.

I will not hesitate to pull them out if I am accused of not clipping them again. :/

I personally do not agree with de-clawing any animal, but if dogs were suddenly born without nails....I think that I would do a happy dance. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Hi Lisa!
    Thanks for your advice, every tip helps :) I read your post about mrs. PITA, it totally makes me feel better to know that other groomers experience people like that and that I'm not the only one!
    I have another question for you, though it doesn't have to do with toe nails :P. I was wondering how you deal with the cowlicks on the dogs' chests? No matter what I do, I always manage to leave this horrible short patch! Is there a trick you use to prevent this?

    Thanks again!


    1. Hi Reid,
      I wish that I had a full proof trick that would stop me from exposing cowlicks. Every time I think that I have found a way to keep from getting that bare spot, I expose it again. :/
      Believe it or not, I did a post on this subject too:


      Short of only using scissors on that spot on the chest, I almost always bare part of that cowlick. You are not alone in that either. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  2. Wow does this post hit hard for me today. I have a very sweet southern accented woman who always requests me to groom her little silky terrier. I love the owner and I love the dog but this lady is very picky about her dogs nails. I clipped them and then use a nail grinder on them until I could see the little black dot in the center of the nail and luckily they were not all black all the way through so I could see the pink quick on the sides. As short as I could get them without making her dog bleed. She picked up the dog and went home then I guess came back and started raising holy heck in the lobby about her dogs nails not being short enough and wanting to talk to my manager. I was extremely swamped today but I thoroughly explained to the receptionist that came back to get answers everthing that I did to the nails in detail. I was in too much of a hurry to ask what the conclusion came to. Grrrrr some people. We do not need this during spring break week.

    1. Hi Peggan,
      It has always amazed me how even the nice customers can turn mean when they think that you have not taken their dogs nails short enough. They seem to take it personally and get offended. (shaking head) I just don't understand it.
      Lisa, MFF

  3. People can be ridiculous about nails! I have heard a woman say "you need to cut them more...I can still see the pink part!"

    1. Hi cherie,
      It can be really frustrating trying to explain to a customer that even though you can still see a little white on the end of the nail does not always mean that you can cut it off. Some customers just don't seem to understand that the quick tapers off into a point that you can not see through the white part of the nail.
      I had one lady get upset with me because I did not clip all of her dogs nails to matching lengths. I tried (in vain) to explain that I could get more off of some nails and not as much off of others, that is why the nails are not a uniform length. :/ It can drive you crazy!
      Lisa, MFF

    2. I usually end up having to liken it to cutting into the pink part of a human nail...ouch I just hurt myself with that one...*shudder*
      I love your blog Lisa! My friend introduced me to it last October :)

    3. Thanks Cherie,
      I have used that analogy before also, for people who just don't seem to 'get it'.
      I am glad that you like my blog. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  4. Ouch, those first three! Now I feel a need to clip my dog's claws, even though I did just last week.

  5. I ended up making a big information pamphlet, in order to explain the importance of short nails. Cited all my information (including a link to a rehabilitation vets website on the subject), so they can learn about it on their own time. This seems to work well for the customers who don't like to listen to you. It especially hit home with the owners of older dogs. Overgrown nails are so much worse for them, and I now have customers coming in-between grooms (win!)