How to Trim Dog Nails

How to Trim Dog Nails

How to Trim Dog Nails

When was the last time you trim your dog’s nails? If you haven’t looked at your dog’s nails in a while (or ever), it might be time to check. Not trimming your dog’s nails can be harmful to your furry friend. When a dog’s nails grow too long, it cannot walk properly or comfortably. 

Dogs can be prone to sprain and other serious issues. However, trimming a dog’s nails can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time doing it. Here are some important things to know about how to trim your dog’s nails the proper way.

How to trim dog’s nails

Most dogs do not like their nails trimmed. For this reason, it isn’t a great idea to jump into a full trimming session immediately. Familiarize your dog with the trimming tool that you are going to use. Introduce the tool by having your pooch sniff or play with it. This will help the animal not feel threatened by the trimming tool when it comes time to start clipping.

  • Find a perfect place: Bring your dog to his favorite spot in the house. It can be on the sofa, floor, or if it’s a puppy, you can put it on the table. It will help if you have someone to help hold the dog while you trim.
  • Sit and Relax: Have the dog relax first. If you can, give it some positive reinforcement. Calming treats can be especially helpful in these scenarios. Show the dog your trimming tool. Have it sniff the device once more. Comfort your furry friend by putting it in your lap if possible. 
  • Locate the quick: The “quick” part of the nail contains blood vessels connecting to the paw. It is pink on white-colored nails and a chalky color in darker nails. Avoid trimming the quick, as this can cause the dog pain and will bleed. 
  • Time to clip. There are many tools used to trim the dog’s nails according to length and thickness. Whatever type of tool you are using, make sure it has been sanitized. 
  • Start small: Trim a small portion at a 45-degree angle, then make several small snips until you get the desired length. The recommended is approximately 2 millimeters from the quick.
  • Give a Reward: For each successfully trimmed paw, give a treat. Pause for a moment, give time for your dog to relax again, then repeat. 

Dog nail anatomy

It is important to understand the dog nail anatomy so that both of you will have a nice, positive nail trimming experience. This image from Kingsbrook Animal Hospital will give you an idea of where to cut the dog’s nail without hurting your dog.

Dog nail trimming tools

There are so many dog nail trimming tools in the market to choose from, but don’t just pick whatever has the most bells and whistles. Find the perfect trimming tool that meets the need of your dog. Here are few examples of dog nail trimming tools and their functions:

  • Scissor clippers: This type of clipper is advisable for large dogs with bigger and thicker nails. It works like scissors and provides extra force.
  • Guillotine Clippers: This type of clipper is best for small to medium-sized dogs. This clipper works like a guillotine. Just carefully stick the end of the dog’s nail in the hole and squeeze. The blade inside the hole gently slices the nails as you squeeze them.
  • Nail Grinder: It is a rechargeable nail grinding tool that gently grinds a dog’s nail. It is especially recommended for dogs with extra hard nails.

Dog nail clippers

These are some of the best dog nail clippers, according to experts:

  • Boshell Dog Nail Clippers: Features a built-in safety stop to prevent cutting the nails too short.
  • Paws and Pals Nail Clipper: Has a blade with a 45-degree angle to prevent clipping the dog’s quick.
  • Miller Forge Pet Nail Clipper: Built-in safety stop that can move to the desired position to prevent overcutting nails.

Dog nail grinders

Use dog nail grinders if you are afraid that you might cut your dog’s nails using scissors or clippers. The downside of a nail grinder is the vibration that it creates, which might scare your dog.

Styptic powder or alternative

Styptic powder is used to slow down the bleeding. If you trim your dog’s nails, make sure that you have styptic power on hand for emergency purposes. 

If you accidentally nip the quick of your dog’s toe and it starts to bleed, dip your dog’s entire paw into the styptic powder’s jar. Count up to 15 seconds before removing the paw. Hold your dog’s paw so that it will not lick it or run around, messing the floor with the powder. Repeat the process if the toe is still bleeding.

When to get help with dog nail trimming

If your dog’s paw has black nails, it is very difficult to see the quick. When in doubt, don’t guess. It is best to let professional groomers take the job. Also, if your dog is not tamed and tends to bite, get the help of professional dog groomers.

How to grind your dog’s nails

The steps in grinding your dog’s nails are the same procedure as clipping. But it can be more challenging for you and your canine because of the vibration the grinder creates.

Dog nail grooming essentials

Dog grooming essentials include nail clipper or grinder, paw cleaner, and styptic powder.

Why do you need to trim your dog’s nails?

Trimming your dog’s nails keeps them from injuries caused by having long nails, and it is also good dog hygiene.

What’s happening inside the nails?

There are blood vessels and nerves located deeper in the nail. On the outside is made up of thick keratin that serves as protection for the nails.

My dog hates getting their nails cut

If your dog hates getting its nails cut, you must break it with him little by little. Forcing him will do more harm than good. You can give him positive reinforcement like a small treat.

Why do you need to go to a vet clinic to trim your dog’s nails?

There are two reasons to go to a vet for nail trimming. The first is if you are not confident that you can do it properly. The second reason is if you don’t have the necessary trimming tools.

Final thoughts

Whether you do the trimming yourself or ask professionals to do it, trimming your dog’s nails is the responsibility of every dog owner. As long as you take the proper precautions and do it safely, your pooch and their beautiful nails will thank you!

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