I’ve worked as a dog groomer for almost a year, so I know a few tricks on how to cut a dog’s nails no matter what. Whether it is keeping a dog busy with treats or a favorite chew toy, the promise to go for a walk immediately afterwards, calm the calm down with fighting dogs, or cut a nail a day for three weeks and then start over, it is possible to cut any dog’s nails.
It is best to do name trimming only as needed. At home, conduct regular physical exams of your dog’s health so that he becomes familiar with handling. This will help your dog relax while you trim their nails.
When to cut
One way to tell if your dog needs a pedicure is to manually straighten their toes and determine the length of the nails in relation to the bottom of the foot. To do this, place your thumb on your dog’s foot and your other fingers on the large pad on the underside of the foot. Gently squeeze your fingers together, which will expand your toes. With your toes in this position, check that the tips of the toenails are level with the underside of the foot or go beyond it. The former can be left alone while the latter needs to be trimmed. To make sure whether or not your dog’s nails are too long, check with your veterinarian, veterinarian, or dog groomer. Learn more about trimming nails.
You don’t need a lot of tools to clip your dog’s nails at home. Before you start, collect:
- High quality pair of dog nail cutters
Dremel nail grinder
- Some stylistic powder, like Kwik-Stop, to stop bleeding if you’re quick to steal
How to safely cut dog nails
How exactly do you give your dog a nail cut after you have the supplies? Unfortunately, most dogs don’t like having their nails trimmed at first, which is why it is important to practice. Training is key to cutting dog nails at home, and if you have a young dog, start early. Some dogs may enjoy sitting on your lap, but even when exercising, other dogs may require some restraint.
When cutting your dog’s nails, you may want to sit on the floor with your dog on your lap, hold your dog on a table, or have someone help keep your dog on a table. You want to position your body opposite the nail you are cutting.
Tap and massage your dog gently to help him relax. Make trim time fun, not a struggle – quality treats will help, as will a happy, calm presence.
Hold your dog’s paw firmly and press down on the pads to elongate the nail. Find where the blood vessels that supply the claw, called the quick nail, end. On clear or light dog nails, the pink color is easy to spot, which indicates where the quicks are. However, with black or dark nails, you will need to cut in several small increments to reduce the chances of you cutting quickly.
If you don’t see it easily or are not sure about it, don’t hesitate to seek the services of an experienced dog grooming veteran.
A scissor nail cutter is best for cutting dog nails that are long enough to curl in a circle. Cut the nail at a 45 degree angle under the Quick, with the cutting end of the nail clipper facing the end of the nail. Make several small nips with the clipper instead of one large one.
If you cut the nail deeper, you will see a homogeneous gray to pink oval (3) that appears on top of the cut surface of the nail. At this point, stop cutting the nail, as additional cutting will cut into the quick cut.
Walk slowly and take paw breaks, especially if your dog is new to nail clipping at home. Reward your dog with high quality treats with every clip. Over time, you can build up to multiple cuts or paws between treatments. Give your dog (and yourself) time to relax and build confidence by taking breaks as needed.
Your goal is to cut the claw to about 2 millimeters from the quick. Ultimately, the nails should be trimmed so that the nails don’t touch the ground when the dog steps back.
If you accidentally cut the snap cut, the claw will bleed and the dog will be in pain. Wipe off the blood and apply Kwik-Stop or styptic powder to stop the bleeding. It’s not serious and will heal in a short time. Even without treatment, the nail should stop bleeding in 5 minutes or less.
Tips for cutting nails:
In some cases, when the nails are brittle, the cut can tend to split the nail. In these cases, file the nail in a sweeping motion from the back of the nail to the tip.
Regularly cut off a small amount instead of trying to remove large portions.
Invest in a good pair of nail clippers, the size right for your dog. They can last a lifetime.