On Saturday, I noticed that Una was “missing” one nail. She only had a very small ( maybe 4-5 mm long) but healthy-looking nub of nail in the toe that had given her trouble after she came to Finland (see my first posts)! The rest of the nail had now vanished. Una did not react in any way to this event, not during our forest walk with Naava when it must have torn off, or when I examined it.
My guess is that Una had injured this nail when she started limping the first time, about a week after she arrived. The injury had then started to heal slowly, the nail still giving her trouble for a while. Una hasn’t had pain in that toe for a couple of weeks now. It must have healed completely, and the already loose shell of the nail just dropped off when Una was running. This sounds like a convincing explanation to her earlier lameness!
Una’s nails are quite brittle and the edges of the surface layer break and split easily. I clip Una’s nails several times a week, a tiny bit at a time, with my own small nail clippers. Anna told me that I should be careful when attempting to clip Una’s nails: they had used a muzzle on her, to get it done without a danger of getting bit. I decided to try and desensitize Una to nail clipping, so I wouldn’t have to go to the vet every time she needs to have her nails clipped. And also to avoid scaring Una with the experience.
I started lifting Una’s paws and examining the nails with my fingers when we were going out. I picked this context for the training, since Una is totally and happily focused on going out, with her harness already on, and there is nothing to remind her of nail clipping. Also, I started using the fleece socks on Una at this point (sensitive pads on her paws, couldn’t walk on gravel), which also brought a good reason to manipulate her paws every time we went out and came back.
My plan has worked, 100%! Una now lets me gently clip her nails, waiting patiently. Even if she has some discomfort due to a sore spot somewhere in her paws, or she just gets suspicious for some reason, she only turns her head and brings it close to the paw, indicating that I need to be careful – and I understand, and continue with extra care. This is valuable communication, and I give the credit to Una for using it!
I talked with my sister about Una’s nails, and she suggested I buy her biotin and salmon oil. Naava has had some problems with her nails, just like several dogs of my sister’s friends, and I was happy to use their accumulated experience!
Today I went to Murren Murkina and bought Una a big jar of Biotiini Forte rakeet (Vitabalans Oy) and a bottle of Villin lohen öljy Alaskasta (Grizzly Pet Products Aps, Denmark). They recommended 3 grams of Biotiini Forte per day for a dog weighing 22 kg. 0,1% of the product’s weight is biotin, so 3 grams (3 000 mg) has 3 mg of biotin. The recommended 4 units of the salmon oil for a dog of Una’s size has 2 140 mg Omega-3, and 260 mg Omega-6 fatty acids.