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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6123
Experience:  I have been a small animal veterinarian for 25 years .
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Trimming nails

Resolved Question:

I have a Chihuahua that is 8 pounds and really nasty for cutting his nails. We have been asked not to come back by several places. Is there a sleeping pill I can give him to knock him out so I can clip his nails? He was a rescue dog which we got in April is about  3-4 yrs old. All other negative behaviors that he had are gone and he is a great little guy whom we love dearly and is sweet in all other areas.  He seems to be able to get out of any muzzle we put on him.

Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.
Hi, I'm Dr. Deb. I'll do my best to help you today.
This is a really difficult situation, isn't it? These little dogs are sometimes more difficult to control than the larger ones because there's not as much body to restrain!

The only over the counter drug which might help in this situation would be anti-histamines because they can have quite a sedative effect for many dogs.
Benadryl is one such drug which can be given at a dose of 1 mg/lb.
Another choice would be Zyrtec at a dose of 5-10 mg
Claritin is another option at a dose of 5 mg.

It might take about one hour or thereabouts for the sedative effects to be seen.

If your vet would work with you, then I often dispense Xanax to dogs with this problem. Since you most likely have established a client/patient relationship with them (Taco has been seen within the last year), then they might consider writing you a prescription if you ask which could be filled at your local pharmacy.

I hope this helps. Deb
Customer: replied 8 months ago.


I have tried Benadryl but that didn't seem calm him down enough to do his nails. I have even given him some melatonin, it calms him down until we touch his nails. We have even been just petting and touching his nails and feet. but as soon as you touch them with a clipper he freaks out and bites.

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.
Wow, this is a really tough dog!

I would have been surprised if Melatonin worked although I do like it for other situations.

Your options are going to be limited but I keep thinking about your muzzle comment.
A properly applied muzzle shouldn't come off in most cases.

Here's one thing to consider:

Try another antihistamine.
Get the muzzle on him and make sure it's really tight (you're not going to choke or smother him).
Wrap him in a towel so he can't get his front feet around his face to take off the muzzle.
Hold him really tight no matter how much he squirms.
Then have a second person locate his legs/feet and hold them tight feet while a third one trims his nails...or trys to anyway.

I've dealt with a lot of small dogs (and some fairly large ones, too) who absolutely HATE to have their feet/nails touched. In those cases, if I can't manage to trim their nails with the method I just described, then I dispense drugs for the owners to use.

Unfortuantely, there aren't going to be any other drugs available to you without a prescription which your vet would have to provide for you.

I'm really sorry that I can't provide you with a more positive answer. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6123
Experience: I have been a small animal veterinarian for 25 years .
Dr. Deb and 3 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 8 months ago.
Thanks so much for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.

And, good luck with Taco. Just be firm and don't let him sense your fear:)
But don't get bit either!!!

Best regards, Deb

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