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How to Safely Trim Your Dog’s Nails

Trimming your dog’s nails can be an unnerving tasks.  Most pet parents are afraid of nicking their soft spot called the quick.  This is the pink area within the nail where the nerves and blood vessels are, much like underneath our own nails.  However, it doesn’t have to be such a frightening experience. With a little practice and a steady hand trimming your dog’s nails will be a snap.

Bring on the Treats

Make sure you have a lot of treats handy.  By making it a positive experience, it will be easier for the both of you.  Also, if they seem extra apprehensive after the first nail or two, give them a treat and take a break, then come back and try again.  If you can, try and increase the number of nails you clip in between treats. You’ll get them all clipped eventually, doing it in stages with snacks can sometimes be the easiest and most effective way.  

Tips to Clip

Be careful not to trim too close to the quick, this would feel like how a hangnail feels to us and is pretty painful for your pup. As much as you try it may still happen; and if it does the nail will bleed (possibly pretty badly) at first. You can stop the bleeding with styptic powder to thicken the blood and stop the bleeding. If you do accidentally nick your dog’s nails, it will only hurt them temporarily and doesn’t cause permanent damage to their paw.

The Supplies:

  • Nail Clippers of your choice, just make sure they are sharp and the proper size for you dog
  • Styptic stick or powder (just in case there is an over clip,  it’s good to have handy)
  • Treats

The Steps (Give treats freely throughout):

  1. Talk a walk before to help expend their energy and relax them.
  2. Gently press on their paws to help them become accustomed to the feeling.
  3. Inspect for dirt and debris in between the pads by spreading their feet gently.
  4. Hold your dog in place by putting your arms and upper body over him while you clip your dog’s nails. While clipping front nails, hold your forearm over the dog’s neck to prevent him from lifting his head. If this doesn’t seem to be a comfortable position for you, try laying him on his side and gently holding him down.
  5. Using sharp clippers, cut off the tip of each nail at a slight angle (about 45°) just before the point where it begins to curl.  Careful to not cut too close and avoid the quick.
  6. After nails have been cut, use a nail file to smooth out edges
  7. If they did a really good job, have some fun and paint them!

Clipping your dog’s nails is a must if  your dog doesn’t  spend plenty of time running around outdoors or wearing their nails down on hard surface such as pavement. Long nails can become ingrown or even catch on things as they walk. If your dog is doesn’t get a lot of time on rough surfaces, then they should get their nails trimmed about once a month.  If you are still not comfortable with the thought of trimming your dog’s nails, take them to a groomer who’d be happy to help.

Comment any tips and tricks you have for trimming your dog’s nails, we’d love to hear them!  




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