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The ScratchPad scratching board from Etsy offers a gentle, non-invasive method for trimming your dog's nails.

Travel & Lifestyle: The ScratchPad Nail File Is Genius For Anxious Dogs

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At best, trimming our pets’ nails can feel like a chore that owners and dogs alike dread. At worst, it’s a fight that neither of you wants to be part of. This is understandable: Pets may feel stressed or scared during nail time, and as their owner, you may feel anxious about accidentally hurting them.

Still, it’s not a good idea to skip trimming your pup’s nails. “Regular grooming and nail maintenance is essential for the health and well-being of pets,” Dr. Nicole Savageau, a veterinarian with mobile pet service The Vets, told HuffPost. As a result, owners must find a method that works for their specific pet, taking into account their dogs’ unique temperament and health status. You should also consider your own comfort with different nail-grooming techniques, Savageau explained.

One method that’s suitable for anxious pets is Etsy’s reviewer-beloved ScratchPad, a scratching board with an abrasive surface that lets nervous dogs file down their nails at their own pace. Dogs can scratch it like a scratching post, or you can use your hand to guide their paws; your pup may even think it’s a toy, as one reviewer’s dog did.

A scratching board like the ScratchPad provides a simple yet effective solution for pets and owners alike, especially compared to other common methods like electric nail grinders. “Some pets may be fearful of the noise or vibration produced by electric grinders, leading to stress or even injury if they struggle during the nail trimming process. Scratching boards offer a quieter and less intimidating alternative,” Savageau wrote.

The ScratchPad also may enable you to trim your pup’s nails more precisely and with less risk of injury. “Scratching boards allow for more precise control over the amount of nail being removed, reducing the risk of over-trimming and potential injury to the quick (the sensitive tissue inside the nail),” Savageau explained.

A tool like the ScratchPad may prove especially useful for those with elderly pets or pups with arthritis, anxiety or thick, dark nails, according to Savageau. This is due to their gentle, quiet and non-invasive design.

The ScratchPad scratching board from Etsy is suitable for anxious dogs and dogs with arthritis and dark, thick nails, according to an expert.

If your pet has extremely overgrown nails, a scratching board may not be the right call for you — at least initially. “If a pet’s nails are severely overgrown, a scratching board may not be effective in sufficiently trimming them down,” Savageau explained. “In such cases, it may be necessary to use clippers or grinders to safely shorten the nails before transitioning to a scratching board for maintenance.” In addition, if your pup is particularly aggressive or uncooperative, you should seek help from a veterinarian or professional groomer.

The ScratchPad’s abrasive surface is made with extra-durable sandpaper that is supposed to last at least six months with regular use (refills of the scratching surface are also available at Etsy once it’s time for a fresh one). You can choose whether you want the surface to feature medium grit, coarse grit or one side of each; the medium grit is supposedly all-purpose, while the coarse option is best for larger breed dogs with larger, tougher nails.

The ScratchPad measures 10 inches by 24 inches, so it’s suitable for both large and small dogs, and it’s designed to work on both front and hind legs.

Etsy reviewers sing the praises of the ScratchPad, saying it’s a great alternative to other methods and noting that before trying the ScratchPad, their pups resisted nail-cutting so intensely that they risked hurting themselves. One reviewer noted that using ScratchPad was “like second nature” to their dog.

“Great purchase. My dog has notoriously long nails that bother him and can even cause arthritis. This is a great alternative to chasing him down to cut or sand down his nails.” — Jessica A.N

“This is much higher quality than any other knockoffs you’ll find. It was worth the price. My pup loves it.” — Donald Hahn

“My dog has black nails and it’s hard to see the quick, so clipping was really stressful for both of us. He really likes the scratch board and thinks of it as a toy, so I can finally keep his nails short while also having a nice enrichment activity!” — Shinobu

“Oh my goodness! Such an amazing product! The instructional video was so helpful and my dog caught on right away. No more long nails!!” — Sarah S

“I had reservations about this working for my dog. But after the first go with the scratch pad, Its like second nature and I could not be happier! I recommend this 100%” — Steve

“My dog won’t do this himself, but he’ll allow me to do it or him. Like he’s at the spa! (eyeroll) Which is a huge step up since he needs anxiety medication and a vet to do his nails otherwise.” — Melanie

Absolutely love this! My dog hates having her front paws held and puts herself near a place of injury when we try to cut her nails. With a couple handfuls of food and encouragement, she learned to use this so quickly! The separate course and fine sides made it such a neat and easy process, and I would absolutely recommend this! If it worked on our tough case, that deserves 5 stars!” — Brittany Burger





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