How To Cut Your Dog’s Nails Without Them Hating You!
21 January, 2016

Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is important and should be a part of your usual health routine with your dog.  If your dog’s nails aren’t trimmed properly, your dog could get infections, broken or ingrown nails and other painful conditions. Some dogs will naturally wear down their nail by walking or playing especially if your daily walk involves cement.  Older and inactive dogs tend to avoid hard surfaces and will not wear their nails down. In all cases, it is important to look at your dog’s nails and keep them on the shorter side.

How can you tell if your dog’s nails are too long?

If your dog’s nails are too long, you will hear them clack when your dog walks on hard surfaces.  Another way to tell if your dog’s nails are too long is if your pup’s claws protrude over the pad and touch the ground when your dog is standing.

Cutting your dogs’ nails need to be associated with a positive experience.

Many dogs find nail trimming annoying and try to avoid it at all costs!  Some dogs naturally dislike the sensation of people handling their feet. Trimming can also cause discomfort when the clippers squeeze or slightly twist the nail so try to make the experience a positive one.  Try to clip a nail or two (or three is possible) and then feed your dog his favorite treat. Clip another nail or two and feed another treat. With repetition and a little time, your dog will probably decide that getting his nails done is not frightening and worth the effort and rewards.

Make sure to buy dog clippers that you feel comfortable with using and can get the job done.

Make sure to purchase a specially made implement for the job of cutting your dog’s nails. There are several styles of nail trimmers available. Guillotine nail clippers are often the easiest to use and work well for small breeds. Plier dog nail clippers with a scissors type action are also very effective and especially suit larger breeds or if the dog has strong, thick nails. Look for a claw cutter with sharp stainless steel blades and a comfortable handle with plenty of grip.

Try one nail to get the feeling and action right and then move onto the next

Take your dog’s toe and hold it firmly but gently between your fingers. If you’re using a scissors-type trimmer, hold them at a right angle to the nail with the tip of the nail between the blades. Quickly squeeze the handles to close the scissors and cut the nail. If you’re using a guillotine-type trimmer, insert the tip of your dog’s nail into the hole, holding the trimmer perpendicular to the nail so that you cut from top to bottom, not side to side.  When you’ve positioned the trimmer in the right place, squeeze the handles to cut through your dog’s nail.

Make sure not to cut into the quick of the nail

If your dog has clear nails, you can see the live quick, which looks pink. Cut the nail no closer than about two millimeters from the quick. If your dog has dark nails, you can avoid cutting into the quick by trimming one little sliver of nail at a time, starting with the tip. Stop trimming when you see the oval. If you don’t, you’ll cut into the quick, causing pain and bleeding. Another option with black nails is to have an assistant use a flashlight to back-light each of your dog’s nails while you trim. The light from behind the nail allows you to clearly see the pink quick.

Trim your dog’s nails regularly once you get the hang of it.

Most dogs do not like having their nails trimmed. It is inherently a good idea to get your dog used to having their paws handled at a young age if possible, or at any age by gentle handling and praise. Take things slowly. You don’t have to do all the claws in one session.  Good luck and it gets easier over time!


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