How To Trim My Dog Nails Safely

Time for a safe paw-dicure session with your furkid!

How To Trim My Dog Nails Safely

Different breeds of dogs have different nail growth patterns. Some have higher knuckles and some are more flat to the ground. That can determine how often or when they need their nails trimmed. Unless your pet is a very active outdoor dog, his nails will need to be trimmed on a regular basis – anywhere from once a week to once a month. Nail trimming and grooming are activities that are often feared by both dogs and owners. The best way to calm your fears is to ask your vet or a professional groomer to train you. The best way to calm your dog’s fears is to train it from a very young age to be comfortable with the process.

Reasons To Trim Your Dog’s Nails

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1. Letting your dog’s nails become too long can be uncomfortable and harmful.

2. With the nails getting too long they start to curl downwards, causing the toes to twist against the floor. That is not healthy and can get quite painful over time.

3. Not only can long nails cause pain and lead to permanent issues with the dog’s foot, long toenails can make every day walking (and running) difficult for the dog.

4. Overgrown nails can break easily — below the quick — which can be very painful for your dog.

5. Your dog will become used to the process of having his nails trimmed, the earlier you start. Therefore, your dog won’t squirm and battle with you each time you do it.

Tips On Trimming Dog’s Nails

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1. Make it a fun activity

First on the list is getting your dog used to you handling his feet. The sooner you start, the better it will get for you in future. Many dogs have very sensitive feet and toes, so this is an important step. If you have just adopted a puppy, now is the perfect time! Plus, it is so much easier because a puppy’s nails are so small and soft, making it very easy to trim.

Make nail trimming part of your fun playtime together. Stroke your dog’s feet and hold each paw in your hand for a few moments, gently but firmly. He should soon get the idea and realize that you are not going to hurt him.

2. Basic Technique

One technique that helps is to hold the handle of the nail trimmers flat against the toe pad and cut straight across the nail, so that the nail will sit just above the ground. This technique will prevent you from cutting the nails too short.

To get a shorter cut than the previous method, aim to cut at a 45° angle, after visualizing the quick. The quick is the pink area within the nail where the nerves and blood vessels are, similar to the area underneath our nails.

3. Use Nail Clipper

Use only “scissor” type clippers. Guillotine style clippers crush the toe, which is painful. Never put the whole nail in a clipper.

Use small size clippers for better control. Only giant breed dogs will need large ones.

Keep your tools sharp: either replace or sharpen your clippers regularly.

“Pedi-paws” type grinder: Smooth out your trim afterwards with a rotating emery board.

File only the insensitive nail around the top and sides of the quick: “Sharpen the pencil” where the nail is the wood and the quick is the lead.

Updated: September 21, 2017.

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