Making Nail Clipping Less Stressful
Updated: Mar 7, 2018
While a vet can and will clip your dog’s nails for you, many times you will want to save the cost and trip by doing it yourself. Learning how to cut dog’s nails may not seem like a very important part of his grooming regiment, but in fact, it is. Without proper nail care your pet could experience a lot of pain and discomfort. Below are a couple of suggestions to make this session less stressful for both you and your dog.
What Do You Need
To clip your dog’s nails you will need some basic equipment that you can pick up at any good pet supply store.
Dog nail clippers have a different shape and are specially designed to make the clipping as fast and painless as possible.
Traditional clippers are like scissors and are made of stainless steel. You squeeze the handles together and the blades clip the nail by coming together horizontally.
The other type are guillotine-style. It has a hole where the nail is placed and work on the similar principle, however they be hard to trim the very thick nails of some large dogs.
Nail grinder. Filing your dogs nails is a great way to rounding off those sharp edges created by trimming your dogs nails alone. This process is relatively painless and quick. However when filing the nails at home, be aware that the friction of every type of grinder, even those sold specifically for use on pets can heat the inside of the nail, possibly burning the quick and causing pain to your pet. This is easily avoided by gently holding the grinder to each nail for only about 3 seconds to round the edges.
In Case of Messy Clipping Accidents
When you ask any professional groomer or veterinarian if they’ve accidentally cut the quick of a dog’s nail before, they’ll say yes. It happens to everyone, no matter how experienced you might be. Styptic powder is a common product to use if you accidentally cut the quick inside your dog’s toenail. It also contains Benzocaine that works as a topical anaesthetic to help ease the pain. If you ever forget to stock up - home remedies like corn starch will stop the bleeding too.
Ask an Expert and Keep Calm
When clipping your dogs nails for the first time its important to ask someone who knows how to do it to show you. Especially if your dog has dark nails you will want to watch to get an idea of where your dogs "quick" is located. Most veterinarians will clip your dogs nails for you and this is the best way to learn. You can also watch some YouTube video posts. Don't clip your dogs nails 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.
So how short should your dog’s nails be?
In terms of length, a good rule of thumb is this: when your dog walks on hard surfaces, you should not be able to hear his nails clicking.
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.
Even the simple act of massaging your dogs paws for a few minutes every day to familiarise your dog with a new procedure and being touched there can help greatly.
It’s best to start learning how to cut dog’s nails when you first adopt your puppy. If you start from the beginning, he’ll get used to this regular grooming practice quickly.
Have treats ready to offer and give extra attention to reward your dog for cooperating both during and after the trimming.
You can follow this step by step procedure:
Spread dog’s feet to inspect for dirt and debris.
Hold your dog in place by putting your arms and upper body over him while you clip nails. While clipping front nails, hold your forearm over the dog’s neck to prevent him from lifting his head. If dog remains anxious or jumpy, try laying him on his side and gently holding him down.
Using sharp clippers, cut off the tip of each nail at a slight angle (45 degrees), just before the point where it begins to curl.
Take care to avoid the quick, which is the vein that runs into the nail (easy to see your dog has white, clear, or light colored nails). Always start by cutting less of the nail than you think you can. You can always cut more later. If you accidentally cut into the quick, causing bleeding, apply some styptic powder to stop bleeding.
After nails have been cut, use a grinder or file to smooth out edges.