Trimming nails on any animal can be stressful and intimidating, especially those of the larger variety. Not only do a lot of dogs try to fight the process, but many times it’s due to having painful experiences in the past. Save yourself and your four-legged friend some tears and time, and follow these tips.
What you need:
- Lots of treats
- Animal Nail Clippers – be sure to choose a pair that has side-to-side scissor-like cutting, otherwise it does more crushing than cutting
- Styptic Powder, just in case
When dog grooming it is important to make it clear that you are in control, but without losing a gentle touch. If you are dealing with a skittish animal they need to be reassured that they are in a safe place, with a safe person. Start with brushing the dog while offering small treats. Have a bunch on hand, they are perfect for distraction.
When the dog is calm and occupied with their “yummies”, then you may begin to trim their nails. The absolute most important thing to pay attention to is that you do NOT cut the quick: It is the pale pink part at the base of the nail and has the same shape – only smaller – as the actual nail. If your pup has dark nails, trim just a very small amount off at a time until it is an appropriate length. If you see a black circle on the underside of the nail then you are very close to the quick and should not trim anymore. Remember to keep the treats coming! Finish by giving the nails a quick file if your dog will let you.
Some dogs have more of an issue with their paws being handled more so than having their nails trimmed. If this is true for your dog, get them used to you handling their paws before you attempt trimming, including pressing on their nails to extend them. You will have to do this to get a good grip when you clip them.
The most important thing you can do is to remain calm and patient. If you do accidentally cut into the quick, do not panic and do not coddle your dog. Like children, they will use this reaction to learn how to manipulate future situations. Just calmly apply the styptic powder, offer another treat, and once they are at ease again, continue to the next nail. Remember that dogs can sense what we are feeling, so wait until you are not feeling stressed or rushed.
Not comfortable trimming your dogs nails? Book an appointment with our groomer and we will do it for you.