10 Tips On How To Trim A Dog’s Nails

If the thought of clipping your dog’s nails is frightening to you, you aren’t alone. Many people prefer to ask their veterinarian or groomer to do this task. Learning how to trim a dog’s nails shouldn’t be a frightening task at all, though. There’s no need to regard it as any different than giving your dog a bath.

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Tips On How To Trim A Dog’s Nails

1. Start At A Young Age

Ideally you should start when your dog is young to get the dog used to having his feet handled regularly. Desensitizing your dog to having his paws handled will have a few other benefits too: it will make it easier for your vet to handle your dog’s feet and will also mean if your dog is injured you will be able to examine his paws easier.

2. Learn The Proper Technique

If it’s your first time clipping a dogs nails it might be a good idea to watch someone else do it first. You can ask someone to show you how to do it or take a grooming course that includes instruction on how to properly trim a dog’s nails.

3. Have The Proper Grooming Tools

You will need a pair of nail clippers that are made especially to trim a dog’s nails. Human clippers or scissors could tear the nail and cause painful torn edges. Make sure you get the right size and type of clippers for your dog. You might find a nail file useful too. I prefer to use the miller forge type of nail clippers but the guillotine type and nail grinders are also popular choices.

You will also want to have some special clotting powder on hand just in case you accidentally cut the nails too short and it starts bleeding. You can find all of these products online by clicking on the photos below.

4. Find A Location With Minimal Distractions

You will want to clip the nails in a quiet place with minimal distractions. If your dog has never had his nails clipped or is particularly resistant you might want to ask someone to help you. The other person can either hold or distract the dog while you trim his nails making the procedure less stressful for everyone involved !

5. Desensitize Your Dog

To avoid mishaps it’s best to slowly desensitize your dog to having his paws handled. This part should be easy. Take your dog’s paws and massage them a bit every day. You can also desensitize your dog to the nail clippers if he is afraid at first. Gradually introduce the nail clippers to your dog. Once he is comfortable with the nail clippers you can try to cut one of his nails. If you are successful give him lots of praise and a treat. Gradually work your way up to cutting all of the nails. Make nail trimming a positive experience for your dog.

6. Soft Nails Are Easier To Trim

It makes the process easier if the dogs nails are softer. You can do this by bathing your dog beforehand or even just dipping the paw into warm water. This has the dual effect of both softening the paws and cleaning the dirt out from under the nails. If your dog has thick, hard nails this will help to soften them and make trimming the nails much easier.

7. Watch Out For The Quick

Examine the nails closely and try to locate the cluster of veins inside the nail. This is called the ‘quick’ and cutting this can cause your dog to bleed. If your dog has dark nails this can be difficult. Look at your dog’s nails and see where it starts to curve at the tip, this is where you will want to cut. The best policy here is to trim the nails bit by bit over a longer period of time. By trimming your dog’s nails regularly the quick will recede and the nails can be kept shorter.

8 . Stay Calm

Always use a calm and soothing voice when trimming your dog’s nails. Try to cut the nails with the one hand and hold the paw firmly with the other hand. You don’t want your dog to become afraid and make the trimming more difficult. If you are nervous your dog will sense that. So stay calm and try to keep yourself and your dog relaxed.

9. Keep Styptic Powder On Hand

If you do cut too far – don’t panic! You can use some of the styptic powder to stop the bleeding. Just dip the paw into the powder. There are some other household items you can use to slow the bleeding if you don’t have any styptic powder. You can use cornstarch or flour in the same way you use the styptic powder. You can also press the dog’s nail into some soap. If the bleeding is not too bad – just simply applying pressure should slow the bleeding.

10. Always Be Patient

Always be patient with your dog. If you have cut your dog’s nails too far and they bleed – this may make the dog scared of nail clipping all over again. You will need to desensitize your dog again.

If your dog is very afraid of having his nails clipped you should gradually get the dog used to the process and the tools. Start again by praising and treating the dog while you handle his paws. Then get the dog used to the nail clippers. Step by step desensitization coupled with positive reinforcement should ease your problem.

Once you learn how to trim your dog’s nails and take some time to practice, it will be become easier each time you do it.

10 Tips On How To Trim A Dog’s Nails
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