Many dog owners are hesitant to clip their dogs’ nails and it’s understandable why: they don’t know how to clip dog nails. There’s a lot to doing it right and dogs often fight it. But luckily, there are ways to make the process easier for both of you. Here’s how to clip dogs nails easily and carefully.
1) Keep an eye on the nails. Nails that are too long can become overgrown, curl under, and cause a lot of pain. Daily exercise on hard surfaces, like concrete sidewalks, help wear down the nail before it gets that bad. Dogs that spend more time indoors, such as apartment dogs or those that get out less during winter, will need extra attention to their nails.
2) Get your dog used to you touching its paws. If your dog only has his paws handled when you’re looking for why he’s limping, he’s going to associate you touching his paws with pain. Make it enjoyable: teach shake and high five to get rewards or give your pup a daily paw massage.
3) Get the right equipment. Only use nail clipping tools that are designed for dogs. Some people advocate using power tools to file your dogs’ nails; instead of that, we recommend a dog nail grinder that is specifically designed for dogs (click the link to see how it works). You'll get the same kind of results but with the peace of mind that it's safe for your big dog.
4) Be calm and confident. Like all other things dog, your dog will respond to your vibe during a nail trimming. If you’re nervous, your dog will be too. Be calm and confident and your dog won’t worry about what’s coming next.
5) Watch out for the quick. The quick is a living nerve within a dog’s nails. If you’ve ever seen a dog bleed during a nail trimming, it’s because the trim went beyond the extra nail at the end: it went too high and cut the quick. Ouch. On light-colored nails you’ll be able to see the pink quick running into the nail; on dark-colored nails, when you see a whitish center as you cut into the nail you’re getting close.
6) Trim small sections at a time at a 45 degree angle. This will help you avoid cutting the quick. If you do cut the quick, use a styptic powder or baking soda to stop the bleeding. If you’re using a nail grinder, stop to check the nail often to make sure you’re not filing too much.
7) Be patient. If your dog is not used to it, you may have to start out doing one paw one day, the next paw the next day, and so on. Just be patient and your dog will get used to it.
With a little care and patience (plus lots of treats for good behavior) nail clipping won’t be a scary task. You’ll know how to clip dog nails and make it a bonding experience for both of you.
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Photo credit: anneh62