The hair that grows in the gaps between the pad of your long-haired sheltie's paw and the pads under his toes can be an uncomfortable nuisance for him. When your dog's toe hair gets long enough to get tangled, dirty and collect grit and debris, it can cause your dog a significant amount of discomfort. In the summer months,+ brambles, briars, mud and dirt can be trapped against your dog's foot as he walks. In the winter, the moisture may cause the hair to freeze. Fortunately, you can eliminate all these potential problems if you trim your sheltie's toe hair as a normal part of your grooming ritual.
Acclimate your dog to the feel of the clippers against his skin and on his feet. It is safer to use a small pair of clippers on your dog's feet than it is to use scissors because clippers are less likely to cause a serious injury if your dog moves suddenly or your hand slips. If your dog is ticklish about the clippers, you may have to spend some time placing them against his skin and getting him to accept the feel of them.
Restrain your dog with a groomer's loop or a grooming restraint that will apply pressure if he attempts to pull away from you. Place a friend or family member in charge of keeping your sheltie still while you work so you do not have to worry about whether he is going to move and you will be able to focus on the task at hand.
Examine each one of your dog's feet and use a comb to detangle any matted hair growing from your sheltie's toes. You do not want to try to clip hair that has brambles, mats or other debris as the clippers may not cut through the mess and will wind up pulling your sheltie's hair instead. Make sure your dog's hair is completely detangled and free of debris before you start trimming.
Starting with a back foot, gently use the clippers to trim the areas between your dog's toes. Spread the toes apart as you clip to make sure you can reach all of the hair. When the hair is gone, put the foot down and move on to the next foot.
- Make sure clipper blades are sharp so they cut the hair cleanly instead of tugging on it.
- If you think your dog may try to bite you while you are working on his feet, you may want to put a muzzle on him or have your groomer perform this task.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.