The Good: Durable, Comparatively inexpensive, Good medical protection for small animals, Easy-to-use.
The Bad: None that I can find!
The Basics: A perfect pet care product, the Miller’s Forge Pet Nail Trimmer (5”) is strong enough for professional use, but smart enough for personal pet care use!
Miller's Forge tends to get high marks from me for their pet grooming products. The reason for this is simple: more than any other brand, I have found that Miller's Forge creates tools intended for use on pets that are made with quality and durability in mind and the comfort and safety of animals are taken into account with the product design. Their products are tough enough to be used by professional animal-care workers and inexpensive enough to be appealing at the consumer level. They offer the perfect blend of value and efficiency, which tends to create perfect animal-care products. That is exactly where I come to the Miller's Forge Pet Nail Trimmer.
The Pet Nail Trimmer is a small tool kit from Miller's Forge that is designed with the idea that professionals might not be the only ones using it. As such, the kit comes with the nail clippers, a replacement blade and a vial of styptic powder. The latter is what insures that those inexperienced with pet maintenence do not inadvertantly kill their pet. I found that remarkably reassuring because I have very little experience with animals; my wife has taught me most of the pet care and maintenence tricks and warnings I know.
Rather important when it comes to pet nail trimming is not cutting too deeply. My wife and I have a dog, two cats, and a rabbit and with all three, there is a soft, fleshy part of the finger or toe beneath the curved nail that, if cut into will cause the animal to bleed profusely. It is like the difference between trimming the white "lip" edge of the nail and chopping off the end of one's finger. The difference with animals like dogs, cats and rabbits (and, I am told, birds) is that the nail is hollow and curves outward to end in a claw. By holding the nail up to light, one may easily see where the end of the nail is versus the actual digit of the animal. Avoiding cutting too deeply is essential when clipping the nails of an animal and with guillotine-style nail trimmers, a novice could easily miss the end of the nail and hurt their animal.
In my case, I came to the Miller's Forge Pet Nail Trimmer when I noticed that my youngest cat, Gollum, was walking around sticking to the rug. Virtually everytime he took a step, he would get caught on the carpet. While Brillo uses a scratching post for his forepaws, Gollum will have none of that and even with his claws retracted, he was catching on the carpet. Thus, I knew it was time to trim them. My wife had bought the Miller's Forge Pet Nail Trimmers months prior and I saw Gollum's nail problem as my chance to truly test them out.
The Miller's Forge Pet Nail Trimmers are a 5" long (3" wide at the base of the handles when they are not being squeezed) double-handled trimmer which operates on squeezing the two handles together. When one squeezes the handles, a single blade pushes upward and anything caught between the blade and the guard gets sliced off. The Pet Nail Trimmer is made of solid, stainless steel and it contains a spring which makes this very much like a pair of pruning sheers (for gardening). On the solid handle (the one that does not move) the top features a metal loop screwed in. This is where one places the tip of the dog, cat or rabbit’s nail. When the other handle, the spring-loaded one, is squeezed down, the carbon steel blade slices by pressing forward and slicing the nail between the flat metal loop and the blade. This clips the end of the animal’s nail and makes a flat cut surface that the natural movements of animals will cause to quickly dull. Thus, within a few steps of having the nails clipped, the animal will stop getting caught on rugs, screens, etc.
Outside pets fidgeting while using, the Miller’s Forge Pet Nail Trimmer is exceptionally easy to use. Ours have been in service for over six months and the blade has not dulled at all. That means with an average of once a month use on eighty nails each time, the blades hold up excellently for wear. When the blade does get dull, the Pet Nail Trimmer does come with a single replacement blade. Having used these in the brief time I was employed at a pet store last year, I can attest that even in industrial settings, one is likely to only have to change the blades about once a year. And with such use, the spring does not give out. The pair I used at work had been in service for two years, so this is certainly a durable product.
Replacing the blade is simple enough as the Miller’s Forge Pet Nail Trimmer comes with instructions, though one needs to have a screwdriver (not included) to open the trimmers up and replace the blade.
What makes the Pet Nail Trimmer ideal for personal home use, however, is the inclusion of styptic powder. While professionals might know how to properly trim animals’ nails and they ought to have adequate protections if they do trim too deep, private pet owners might well lack such experience. As such, the styptic powder becomes the best friend of a pet owner who accidentally trims the tip of the digit when they slice the nail. The styptic powder is essentially a clotting agent and it acts almost like salt on a wound to quickly block off the source of bleeding. They have styptic pencils for humans when shaving so they may quickly clot and this works on the same principle. If you trim too deeply (poor Rowe, our rabbit!) the styptic powder may be liberally doused on the wound and the powder hardens to basically cap off the nail and stop the bleeding. Yes, while trimming Rowe’s nails, I had need to use this because she flinched (it was my first time!). What makes Miller’s Forge’s styptic powder such a great asset is that it comes in a small vial and the easiest way to apply it is to simply stick the wounded digit into the top of the vial, flip it (with the animal’s digit inside) over and it applies exactly enough to stop the bleeding! And it works. Within fifteen seconds of the first sight of my rabbit’s blood, she was clotting. Untended, these type of wounds can be fatal because animals do not naturally clot at the tips of their digits, so this is literally a lifesaver. Including it with the Pet Nail Trimmers is a huge boon over all of the competitor’s products.
In summary, the Miller’s Forge Pet Nail Trimmers are easy to use, durable and comparatively inexpensive. For $10, one is likely to replace their animals several times over before they have to replace the Pet Nail Trimmers! A perfect pet care product worth the attention of anyone who has animals with claws and nails!
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© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.