Clipping your dogs nails doesn’t have to be frightening

Do you dread clipping your dog’s nails? Don’t worry you are not alone.. Even though it’s not much fun most dog owners will have to make nail clipping part of their regular grooming.

Overgrown nails or neglected nails can end up curving and growing into your dog’s paw pad. Overgrown nails and claws can also easily tear or split. Not only is it painful, but tears in the nail can also cause infection. For example, dew claws (AKA the thumb nail) are more susceptible to this type of breakage. Severe cases of overgrown nails may need to be treated by a veterinarian.

Clipping your dogs nails will need some basic equipment that you can pick up at any good pet supply store. Don’t try to make do with human clippers. Special dog nail clippers have a different shape and are specially designed to make the clipping as fast and painless as possible. There are other items you can buy to make it easier to trim your dog’s nails too – various products that encourage the blood clotting process are very useful in case of messy clipping accidents.

Here are some things to keep in mind before purchasing or using dog nail trimmers:

“Scissor” dog nail clippers are the best and easiest to use.
Small dog nail clippers are best for maintaining control over how long or short you cut your dog’s nails.
Large dog nail clippers should be reserved only for giant breeds.
Use a nail file after nail clipping to avoid leaving hang nails or jagged edges.
Keep your tools sharp and charged (if you use an electric or battery-operated nail grinder).
Replace nail grinder bits and tips and sharpen nail clippers regularly.
Consider using a Dremel as a dog nail grinder.

Tips on clipping your dog’s nails:

There are many variations on the best way to clip your dogs nails. In general you will want to start with prolonged desensitization of your dogs feet. This will allow your dog to get used to having his paws handled regularly and will make it easier to have a calm clipping session.

When clipping your dogs nails for the first time its important to ask someone who knows how to do it to show you. You can get many instructions and even some excellent illustrated instructions on how to clip your dogs nails but watching someone else clip your dogs nails will gie you a chance to ask any questions you might have. If your dog has dark nails (as many do) you will want to watch to get an idea of where your dogs “quick” is located. Most veternarians will clip your dogs nails for you and this is obviously the best way to learn.

Starting young increases the chances of having a dog who doesn’t mind having his nails trimmed. Puppies generally won’t need to have their nails clipped but even if you only bring the clippers up to his paws and “play clip then” he will learn that it’s just a normal part of life.

Clipping your dog’s nails shouldn’t be done until you are completely sure what you are doing.

Not only will your dog pick up on your anxiousness but he will most probably make things difficult for you.

  • Hold your dog’s paw firmly, but gently.
    Place clippers around the tip of your dog’s nail – below the quick at a 45º angle.
  • Double check that the clippers aren’t on top of the quick.
    If you’re in the clear, snip off the tip of the nail.
    If your dog’s nail starts bleeding that means you hit the quick. If this happens, immediately press some styptic powder on the tip. The styptic powder will help the quick clot.
    Don’t forget to cut the dewclaws (if your dog has them).
    Lightly file your pup’s nails to eliminate any sharp edges.
    Reward your pooch with treats and affection!

Many people find that one of the best ways to ensure a calm and easy nail clipping session is by walking the dog before you start with the clipping. Tire your dog out well and he might not be able to make as much of a fuss as he’d like.

Some people resort to using tranquilizers to make nail clipping easier for their dogs nd them. This really shouldn’t be necessary with some foresight. Even the simple act of massaging your dogs paws for a few minutes every day to desensitize your dog to being touched there.

Of course the most important thing you can do to make nail clipping easier is to use treats liberally.

Oops!  You clipped too short!

It happens to the best of us at one time or another–the dog moves, or we underestimate where the “quick” ends and accidentally trim the nail too short.
Dog nails can bleed and bleed and bleed! Forget about what you learned in an elementary first aid class. You won’t be able to stop the bleeding with pressure.

You won’t be able to stop the steady stream of blood with a bandage. You need to have something on hand that will stop the bleeding:
Styptic Powder: Sprinkle some of the powder on a cotton ball, gauze pad, or tissue. Wipe away the blood on the nail with a clean gauze pad or tissue. Place the cut nail on the gauze pad covered in powder for a few seconds. Release and watch for any additional bleeding. Repeat if necessary. All bleeding should be stopped before releasing the dog.  Read more by clicking here.

HINT: When clipping dog nails, to remove blood stains from dog hair, dab with Hydrogen Peroxide.

Click here to read more about dog grooming.