The Puppy Pedicure Experiment

Pedicures aren’t just for people anymore. Our four-footed friends have joined the frenzy, with some amazingly cool and colorful designs. But why people paint their pets is a bit beyond me. After all, my dogs like to run around in mud. So I set out to find out about the appeal.

My dog Cisco was to take part in the Puppy Pedicure Experiment. It was a no brainer because his “brother” liked to chew his nails and I wasn’t going to chance him ingesting nail polish—even one made for dogs. I also knew that Cisco was an old hand at being pliable. For years, he’d been dressed up by the girls (my daughters who are now in college) and played house with them.

The one challenge with Cisco, however, is that he is “paw shy.” That means he doesn’t like his paws touched. (Chalk it up to one or two times when I missed with the nail clippers and you’ll understand.) When he was in training to get his Good Canine Citizen badge, I had to teach him “give me your paw,” in order for the instructor to be able to touch his paws—a necessary part of the final exam. So I knew that a dog treat would help to surmount this particular hurdle, and I thought it could work.

I started by researching how to paint a dog’s nails. The wealth of information on the Internet is astounding. They talked about needing base coats for dark nails, for example. Opinions were divided on whether special doggie nail polish was needed. I had purchased three colors in a 60-second quick dry version, since I could just imagine streaks of pink, purple and blue all over my couch (because of course, I let the dogs on the couch).

The big moment finally arrived. I had been writing all day and needed a break. And Cisco was sleeping soundly at my feet, meaning that he was nice and calm. I gathered my supplies, put an old towel down beside him and set up for the pedicure. I chose a beautiful blue color for the first stroke.

That’s as far as I got. As soon as I touched his paw, he pulled it back. We did a quick tug of war and he won. With wide eyes of panic, Cisco leapt to his feet and started running—as I made a fast grab to prevent him from streaking blue across the carpet. He stood panting, and glaring at me, when all of the dust settled.

It was time to pull out the big guns. I got some slices of roast turkey from the refrigerator, and held them out to him. Cisco clearly didn’t trust me. He eyed the bottle of polish on the table, and I moved it out of sight. Finally, he inched over to get the treat. We did a few rounds of “give me your paw.” But when I pulled out the polish, he made a mad dash, running for cover. In fact, I haven’t seen him move that fast in years. (He’s 13.)

So here I was with an incomplete Puppy Pedicure Experiment. I eyed the three brightly colored polish bottles, and decided that they shouldn’t go to waste. Why not? After all, I was due for a pedicure. I’ll share another beauty routine with Cisco next time, one more to his liking. I’m thinking cucumber facials. They’re edible, right?

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