How To Safely Trim Dog Nails

dog paws

If you don’t know how to trim dog nails properly, then you could be creating a tense and anxious situation for your dog that will make it practically impossible to get her to sit still for future trimmings. But at the same time, you also don’t want to have to book a veterinarian appointment or pay for an expensive visit to the dog groomer every time your dog needs her nails trimmed, so what can you do?

In this post, you’ll learn how to cut dog nails quickly and easily, but most importantly, safely.

Why It’s Important To Trim Dog Nails

Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is an essential part of keeping her well-groomed. If left to their own devices, a dog’s nails will eventually grow long enough to the point that they can start curling in on themselves, thus making it painful to walk and increasing the risk of her developing other health problems.

Unfortunately, not every dog likes having her nails trimmed. In fact, few do. But there are some things you can do that can help make the process a lot smoother for both you and your pet.

7 Days to Mastering How To Cut Dog Nails

The most important thing you need to do before you attempt cutting your dog’s nails is to get your dog comfortable with the nail clippers or grinder. This is something that won’t happen overnight, but if you practice enough patience, it will eventually happen. Here is a seven-day plan to getting your dog comfortable with getting her nails trimmed.

Day 1: Gently introduce your dog to the clippers or grinder. Do not attempt to use them yet. You simply want your dog to sniff the equipment. When she does, give her a treat and praise her.

Day 2: With your dog in a relaxed state, gently touch the nail clipper or grinder to each paw followed by a treat and praise.

Day 3: Lightly touch the nail clipper to each paw and squeeze the clipper without cutting any nails. This will help your dog get accustomed to the sound of the clipper. If using a grinder, turn it on and let your dog feel the vibration but do not grind any nails. Give a treat and praise.

Day 4: With your dog in a relaxed state, gently touch the nail clipper or grinder to each paw just like you did on Day 2, followed by a treat and praise.

Day 5: Try trimming or grinding the tiniest tip from one front paw nail on the fifth day. Even if it goes smoothly, keep it to only one nail. After successfully trimming the nail, give your dog plenty of praise and a treat. If your dog doesn’t let you trim her nail by Day 5, then repeat this step every day until she lets you and doesn’t seem to mind.

Day 6: If you were successful in trimming one nail on Day 5 then attempt to trim two nails on Day 6. Like before, keep it to only two nails even if it goes well. Afterward, give your dog plenty of praise and a treat.

Day 7: For Day 7 and those that follow, trim additional nails each day until all have been trimmed and your dog doesn’t mind.

Consistency and calmness are the two cornerstones of successful nail trimming. If you’re not calm, your dog won’t be either. It also pays to practice the act of trimming her nails even when she doesn’t need them trimmed. Just pretending you are clipping her nails and going through the motions will help your dog get more comfortable with the process.

How To Clip Dog Nails Properly

If you are using a nail clipper, then here’s how to clip dog nails safely:

  1. Pick up one of your dog’s paws and hold it firmly, but gently. Place your thumb on the pad of a toe and your forefinger on the top of the toe on the skin above the nail. This will help the nail extend out, so you can clip it easier. Make sure none of your dog’s fur is in the way.
  2. Clip just the tip of each nail, straight across. Don’t forget to trim her dewclaws, which are the smaller nails located on the inner side of the paws.
  3. Never clip past the curve of the nail or the pink area of the nail. This is called the quick and it is where the blood vessels are located. If your dog has dark nails, then look for a chalky white ring on the nail. This will be where the quick is located, so keep your clippers away from it.

If you are using a nail grinder, then here’s how to grind your dog’s nails safely:

  1. Only use a grinding tool that is designed for grinding dog nails.
  2. Support your dog’s toe as instructed above and grind a small part of your dog’s nail, one at a time.
  3. Start by grinding across the bottom of the nail and then carefully in from the tip of the nail, smoothing the rough edges.
  4. Take your time and make sure that your dog remains comfortable and relaxed. If you notice her getting tense or anxious, stop grinding.
  5. If your dog has long hair, make sure you keep the hair away from the grinding tool, so it doesn’t get caught.

Dog Walking Can Help Reduce Your Dog’s Nail Clipping Needs

One way to help keep your dog’s nails trimmed naturally is by taking her for regular walks. As she walks, the concrete will act as a natural grinder and help prevent her nails from getting too long. It is important to note that you may still need to trim her dewclaws as these claws don’t always meet the ground and thus can grow very sharp and even curl up if not trimmed regularly.

If you need a dog walker to help ensure that your dog gets the exercise she needs to enjoy a happy and healthy life, then contact Suburban Pets today. We’re the #1 dog walking service in the Long Island area. Call us today at 516-698-7182 or use our convenient online contact form to request dog walking services for your beloved pet.

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