How to Cut Dogs’ Nails

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How to Cut Dogs’ Nails

Why is it important to know how to cut dogs’ nails? Just like human beings, dogs need to have their nails cut. Cutting dogs’ nails is one of the most important grooming needs of a dog and something that needs to be done on a regular basis. If a dog’s nails grow too long and are not cut, they can break. This is very painful for a dog. Sometimes not cutting dogs’ nails can result in infection as well. Long nails may also cause an irregular gait in the dog that leads to skeletal damage.

Cutting your dog’s nail can be difficult and is the kind of work that can make both the dog and their owner feel uncomfortable, anxious and stressed out. There are a lot of factors to keep. There is a specific location where the nail should be cut. It is also important to not trim too close and cut the sensitive skin. If you do however, it is vital to know how to deal with that situation. Of course, there are other questions, such as what to do if your dog seems very anxious and worried.

Black, shiny pug lurking in the shadows

In our case, we always ended up taking Bunk The Pug to PetSmart because we could not stand the idea of messing up. Also, Bunk is so energetic that we were scared that if he moves for a second, we will have a profusely bleeding pug!

Even though it seems like a daunting task, cutting dogs’ nails does not have to be such a stressful situation for dogs and their owners. By following some simple steps and keeping a consistent schedule, you can have a well-groomed, healthy dog!

What are the main ways in which I can cut my dogs’ nails?

There are two main things that can be done to make cutting dogs’ nails a success in your household. These rules apply no matter what age, sex or breed of dog you have.

Firstly, you will want to teach your dog to associate nail trimming with things he loves such as petting, yummy treats, etc. Of course, many dogs find nail trimming to be an unpleasant experience. I don’t think we can blame them for that. Some dogs seem to naturally not like the sensation that they feel when a person is handling their feet. Dogs are also like little babies in the sense that they feel uncomfortable when the clippers squeeze or slightly twist their nails. If you accidentally cut off too much of the nail (or cut it too short) and hit the sensitive area quickly, you can even cause pain and bleeding for the dog. Not fun!

It is possible to help your dog learn to tolerate, and maybe even enjoy, the process of cutting his or her nails. If your dog learns that nail cutting can bring about wonderful things in life, he or she will comply readily to the process! Some of these things can come in the form of special treats, brand-new chew toys, a favorite new game, a walk in the part or even dinnertime! Again, it really depends on your dog and what they love. If they know that cutting dog’s nails leads to that special treat, he or she can learn to love it!

It is important also to remember to take it slow and easy. If your dog is not getting used to the trimming process, it really is not going to help to make him feel overwhelmed or frightened of it. This can happen if you try to rush him or her into it. Be patient and take that little extra time to slowly accustom your dog to the nail clippers, as well as the sensations that are involved in the trimming. This can mean that the first time you are cutting dogs’ nails you trim one or two of them. Then, you over-reward them with treats and play time, and try a couple more. It might be a week or two before you try giving them a full pedicure!

Always keep your dog’s comfort level in mind. In order to keep the dog comfortable, you want to approach him or her calmly and speak in a quiet, soothing tone of voice. Finally, you need to be relaxed through the process as well. If you are stressed, then it is going to rub off on the dog!

There are two kinds of nail clippers that you can use for the task of cutting dogs’ nails. One is known as the guillotine trimmer. These ones have a stationary hole in there where the nail is supposed to go through. There is a blade that moves up and cuts the nail where you squeeze the handles of the trimmer tightly together. The scissor kind on the other hand works just like a pair of scissors. You open them up and put the tip of your dog’s nail between the blades and trim it.

Both of these kinds of scissors can be found in pet stores. You should visit a pet store and see which one you like the best. It really depends on what you and your dog feel most comfortable with.

If you have never experienced cutting dogs’ nails before, you should spend a couple of days getting yourself and your dog prepared for the experience.

The low down- step by step process of cutting dogs’ nails

Here are the actual steps to take when you are cutting your dogs’ nails.

  1. Spend a few days having the dog used to someone else handling his feet. You can pick up one paw gently and touch his toes and nails for a couple of seconds. After that, release one of the paws and give him something delicious as a reward for letting you touch his feet! You can repeat these steps for a couple of minutes.
  2. Repeat these steps for a couple of days, and see if your dog feels comfortable with having you touch his paws and nails.
  3. Get out the nail clippers.
  4. Pick up your dog’s paw and touch the clippers to one of his paws. At this step, do not actually trim the nail just yet.
  5. After you pick up the dog’s paw, immediately reward him with a treat.
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 multiple times before moving on to step-7.
  7. Pick up your dog’s paws and clip a couple of nails. Please do not clip all of them!
  8. Immediately reward your dog with a treat once you have clipped a nail.
  9. Repeat step-7 for a couple of days until all the nails are trimmed. Make sure to always reward the dog after every single nail has been clipped. Always remember to star clipping only after your dog has been through some exercise and is a little tired or sleepy!

Here’s a diagram courtesy of TCPalm that should give you a visual of what is happening to your dog’s nails!

Dog nail cutting diagram

Make sure that you are in a quiet area as you prepare yourself and your dog to trim his or her nails. Keep a clothing powder nearby. One example of such a powder is Kwik Stop Styptic Power. If you have this power in your hand, you can quickly stop bleeding if you accidentally cut too much or too quickly.

Choose a nail that you want to trim. After this step, take your dog’s toe and hold it firmly but gently between your fingers.

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6 Comments

  1. Frankie Furter and Ernie on

    Our mom and dad just cut our nails TODAY.. Furst mom trims the long hairs away… beclaws they get caught in the clipper and PULL if she doesn’t… THEN she just nips off a little bit of nail… she says it is better fur EVERYBUDDY here if she takes off LESS and does it more often. Dad helps us by rubbing our tummies and ears and stuffs.

  2. We get taken to the groomer as Mom & Dad don’t like doing the nail trimming thingy, Mom tried it once as both she and us were uncomfortable. The Grommer specicalizes in Scottie so she knows us, how we need to be grommed al how we handle nail trimming, Whew, good for us!. Thnaks for the information, now Mom says she will be getting our nails trimed more often.

    Your Pals
    The Mad Scots

  3. My humans take me to Pet Smart because everyone there loves me. I also don’t want the humans to get anywhere near my paws with cutters because they are clumsy and stupid.

  4. Oh man, Ma is such a wimp when it comes to nail trimmin’! She just takes me to the vettie for a trim. It gets me regular visits to the vettie without anything ‘bad’ happening, and they do a better job than Ma could ever do!! BOL
    Kisses,
    Ruby

  5. I know it’s impawtant fur Momz to trim mynails but I really don’t like it…But I do try and sit still fur her cause that makes it quicker and quicker is better

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