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Dr. Peter
Dr. Peter, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  16 years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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I need to sedate my dog to cut her nails, what medication or

Resolved Question:

I need to sedate my dog to cut her nails, what medication or food might I safely use?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Peter replied 7 years ago.

Hi, I am Dr. Peter and would like to help. Need additional information.


1- I see you tried benedryl, how much did you use?

2- Are you doing it yourself?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We started at 1 pill, worked our way up to 4 (which I don't feel comfortable doing) but she was still coherent enough that she freaks out when I start clipping.

We have been working with our vet to get her acclimated to them doing it, them doing it with me in the room, me doing it at home, etc for about 8 months now, and nothing's working. We've tried it with and without her favorite food as a reward (cheese of PB), and the vet isn't really helping. They just tell me "well keep trying" and refer me back to the instruction manual they gave me on high energy dogs, but I think they just want the money for the sedation.

My other dog (same age, weight, breed/mut, sex) doesn't mind it at all, so I know I'm not doing anything bad to her, but at $100/trim, we're going broke getting her snipped monthly, her nails are WAY long now and I'm getting disgusted with my vet.

HELP! :(
Expert:  Dr. Peter replied 7 years ago.

Sorry that you are going through so much trouble to clip her nails. The benedryl does cause some sedation in some dogs, in others it does nothing, especially if they are stimulated by something like clipping their nails. There is an oral sedative that your vet can dispense, it is called Ace (Acepromazine). Once you have the Ace this is how you do it:


1- Always do it in the day when your vet is open just in case you need to take her in.

2- Give her the Ace inside of a treat like a little bit of peanut butter. Make certain she has not had a meal at least 3-4 hours prior to giving it to her.

3- After you give it, do not stimulate her. Leave her alone and within 30 mins you will notice that she will be super relax.

4- At that point one person controls her head, ideally with a muzzle and the other clips the nail.


As far as clipping the nail:

1- Do not clip the nail if you don't have quick stop (powder to stop bleeding); can buy at petstore.

2- Cut the nail as close to the quick as possible. If you make the nail bleed do not worry; just use the quick stop directly on the bleeding nail and it will stop. If you have a hard time with the quick stop, use a dry soap bar to press nail against and stop the bleeding.

3- Once the nails are cut leave her alone and observe to make sure she recovers uneventfully; make certain she is breathing ok.

4- To lessen the frequency of nails clipping walk her on concrete.


If you have any questions I will online for another hour.


Dr. Peter

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX ask them for that.

When we're doing it now, we try to "snip cheese snip cheese" and she does go for the treat, meaning she's not SO preoccupied with her nail that she won't eat the treat, but we're trying to get her to think "nails = associated with cheese." Since it's been so long and it's doesn't appear to be working, should I give up on that and just use the sedative or should I continue "cheese-ing" WHILE she's on the sedative? Is it safe to have her eat while it's in her system, b/c I when we take her in for sedation they tell us not to feed her for 10 hours before. But ideally, I'd like to not have pills or anything at all, or at least be working TOWARDS that goal.

Expert:  Dr. Peter replied 7 years ago.
You should not feed her while she is sedated. The Ace is not going to knock her out completely but she will be sedated and her swallowing may not be as good. You don't need to last 10 hours without feeding 4-6 hours should be enough.
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