Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed makes him more comfortable as well as reduces those scratches in your wood floor. Because you’ll need both hands to clip the nails, a second person to hold onto the dog is most helpful. Not all dogs are fans of having their nails trimmed. If your dog is one of them, it might be best to seek a professional to handle the chore.
There are many different types of nail trimmers out there. Spend some time at your local pet supply store checking the different varieties to see which is the most comfortable in your hand and is the best size for your dog’s nails. You’ll also want to have cornstarch or styptic powder on hand to stop the quick from bleeding in case you cut too short. The only other thing you’ll need is lots of treats!
If your dog hasn’t had his nails trimmed before, you can start just by lifting his feet to see how comfortable he is. Once he is comfortable with your handling his feet, you are ready to get started. You’ll need to get down on the floor to avoid twisting his foot too much.
If your dog has light-colored nails and you can see the quick, you’ll want to cut short enough to avoid hitting that quick (think about how it feels when you cut your nails too short ouch!). If your dog has black nails, just trim off the edge of the nail, since you won’t be able to see the quick. If you look at the dark nail head-on, you will see a small dark circle. Once you see that, you should stop.
If you cut a nail too short and it begins to bleed, apply pressure to the tip of the nail to stop the bleeding, or dip the nail in the cornstarch or styptic powder. If the nail has bled, don’t let the dog run through your house afterward keep him calm and quiet so that the nail isn’t further damaged or injured.
The Best Dog Nail Clippers
The best place to start is to ensure that you are using the right set of dog nail clippers. For example, the most common type of nail clippers are the “scissor” style nail trimmers.
Here are some things to keep in mind before purchasing or using dog nail trimmers:
- “Scissor” dog nail clippers are the best and easiest to use.
- Small dog nail clippers are best for maintaining control over how long or short you cut your dog’s nails.
- Large dog nail clippers should be reserved only for giant breeds.
- Use a nail file after nail clipping to avoid leaving hang nails or jagged edges.
- Keep your tools sharp and charged (if you use an electric or battery-operated nail grinder).
- Replace nail grinder bits and tips and sharpen nail clippers regularly.
- Consider using a Dremel as a dog nail grinder.
Now that you know the best dog nail clippers to use, here is a step-by-step guide on how to trim dog nails:
How to Trim Dog Nails: Step-By-Step Instructions
1. Be Prepared
The first step is preparation. This step involves introducing the dog nail clippers to your dog. Show the nail trimmers to your dog. Allow him or her to sniff them and get used to them before trimming nails.
It’s also important for the user to get comfortable using the clippers prior to trimming dog nails. Simply place the tool in your hand and control the movement to see how the clippers work. Take note of where and how the blade slides and moves. This will allow you to see how the tool works so that you get the proper placement and cut.
2. Use Treats
Be sure to have your dog’s favorite treats nearby. Of course, you want to get the nail cutting process over as quickly—and safely—as possible. However, be sure to remember to give your dog a break. Reward him or her with a treat after trimming a few overgrown nails or finishing one paw. Use the treats to reward your dog for behaving!
3. Get a Grip (Literally)
Pick up one of your dog’s paws carefully. Be sure to have a firm grip on his or her paw. Avoid pressing too tightly as this is often painful for your dog. The more overgrown your dog’s nails are, the more painful they can be.
If your dog has long fur, then you may need to use your thumb to gently push on the pad. By getting the nail to extend, you will be able to see the nail clearly and trim it accurately.
Once your dog is calm, and you have a firm grip on his or her paws, it’s time to grab the nail clippers.
4. Cut This Way, Not That Way
Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to trim dog nails. Trimming dog nails isn’t like filing human nails. Humans trim nails from the top, down. However, trimming dog nails is the opposite. Dog nails should be cut from underneath and at a 45-degree angle. Never put the dog’s entire nail in a clipper or cut the entire nail!
Carefully place the opening of the nail clippers over the end of the white nail. It’s important to ONLY cut in the white nail area. The pink area of the nail—also known as the “quick”—is where blood vessels are live. Cutting the pink nail can be incredibly painful and can cause bleeding.
5. Make a Clean Cut
When ready, make a decisive, smooth, and clean cut by gently squeezing on the nail trimmer handle. Remember to hold the nail clipper steady when making a cut.
If after cutting the nail you notice the jagged end of the nail still attached, avoid trying to rip it or pull it off. You can use a nail file, but it will likely fall off on its own. This is especially true if your dog is active.
Get into the habit of trimming your dog’s nails every three to six weeks. However, the level of frequency should depend on his or her activity level.
How to Dremel Dog Nails
The Dremel 7300-PT is one of the best dog nail grinder tools available. It is designed for easy handling and maneuvering around a nervous dog’s nails. It is also cordless, quiet, and ensures a gentle yet effective touch that is tolerable for most dogs. The Dremel comes with two different speeds and some grinding bits. Once the grinding bits wear out, they will need to be replaced.
If you are convinced that the Dremel tool for trimming dog nails is the best option for you, then here are some tips on how to Dremel dog nails correctly.
- Play With Speeds. The Dremel tool comes with two speeds: low and high. The low speed is quiet yet still powerful enough to trim dog nails. Simply flip the switch to control the speeds or even bounce between speeds while in use. To change speeds, all you have to do is flip the switch in opposite direction. It is designed this way to prevent the user from accidentally switching speeds and potentially scaring or hurting the dog.
- Grinding Bits and Tips. Upon purchase, the Dremel tool comes with multiple grinding bits. However, these grinding bits are standard bits to get you started with using the Dremel. Therefore, they aren’t the best bits for long term use. The Dremel offers replaceable grinding bits that are stronger and designed to last longer.
- Recharge After Use. After using the Dremel tool to trim dog nails, don’t forget to recharge the batteries. Ensuring that your Dremel always has a full charge will prevent the tool from losing energy while in use. Keeping a full charge will provide the Dremel with sufficient power to cut through nails. Most dog owners are often surprised at how well the Dremel tool works, even at low speeds.
Dog Nail Trimming Precautions
As mentioned above, the quick is the “living” part of the toe nail. This means that living blood vessels run to and from the toe nail. So, if this part is accidentally clipped, not only can be incredibly painful for the dog, but it can also cause bleeding or even an infection.
Depending on the color of your dog’s skin or fur, it can be difficult to make out the different parts of your dog’s nails. For example, if your dog has dark nails, then it can be difficult to determine where the quick is when compared with white nails. All in all, avoiding the quick is the most important thing to keep in mind when trimming dog nails.
The “dead” area of the nail is the part of the nail that needs to be trimmed. Upon close inspection, the “dead” area of the nail has a slight white color. Start by trimming the white part of the nails. Stop when you get close to the dark portion AKA the quick. If your dog has white nails, the cut surface will start to appear pink right before you reach the quick. If your dog has dark nails, the cut surface will turn black right before your reach the quick.
Another way to ensure that you are trimming dog’s nails correctly is by paying close attention to the shape of the nails. The underside of the dog’s nail should form a triangle area. It is safe to assume that there is no quick at the very tip of the nail, which means it is safe to cut.
If after the attempting these methods you are still unsure of where to trim your dog’s nails, you can carefully apply firm pressure to where you think you need to trim the nail. If your dog jumps or reacts to the pressure, then this is likely where the live quick is present. So, move the nail clippers down closer to the tip and repeat until you find the “sweet spot” to trim dog nails.
What to Do If You Cut Dog Nails Too Short
If you accidentally trim the dog’s nails too short or cut the quick, don’t fret—but be ready to take immediate action. Here are some steps to take to treat your dog if you have cut his or her nails too short and they’re bleeding:
1. Use Styptic Powder
Styptic powder is the most common type of powder used by many professional groomers and vets to help stop bleeding from cutting nails, minor cuts, scratches, and nicks. The reason why styptic powder is such a common treatment method is because not only is it a quick way to stop bleeding, but it also works as an antiseptic, making it safe to use. It also contains Benzocaine, a minor anesthetic, to reduce pain. Apply Styptic powder to your dog’s paw and toenails with a little bit of pressure to help stop bleeding.
2. Styptic Pencil
In addition to using styptic powder, you can also use a styptic pencil to apply the right amount of styptic powder to a bleeding nail, cut, or scratch. Styptic pencils can be purchased online and in most pet stores and are relatively inexpensive.
Although styptic pencils work just as well as styptic powder, be forewarned. Styptic pencils also contain silver nitrate which can cause a painful, stinging sensation. This might not be the best solution if your dog is already nervous about having his or her paws touched.
3. Corn Starch
Corn starch powder is a natural home remedy that can help stop bleeding from cutting nails. Sprinkle some corn starch powder on a tissue and hold it against the end of the nail for a few minutes to allow the blood to clot. You can also add some water to the corn starch to make a paste, which may be easier to apply to your dog’s paw. Shaking some corn starch powder in the palm of your hand and placing your dog’s paw into the powder works as well.
4. Bar of Soap
If you don’t have any corn starch or styptic powder in your home, use a bar of soap! Gently but firmly apply the bar of soap to the dog’s toe nail or paw and hold it there for a few minutes to allow the blood to clot. If possible, try to use a fragrance free soap.
4. Use a Band Aid
It might seem silly, but if none of the other options work or you do not have any of the above supplies on hand, then simply use a band aid or a bandage to try to stop the bleeding. Ensure that the injured nail is properly covered so your dog doesn’t try to lick or bite it off when you aren’t looking. This could cause the wound to tear and cause more bleeding.
Try to tape the band aid or bandage in place around the toe nail. Make sure that it isn’t too tight to avoid cutting off the dog’s circulation. Although this method is a bit of a challenge, remember that it is only a temporary solution until you can get your dog to the vet. Regardless of whether or not you successfully get the bleeding to stop, call your vet as soon as possible for next steps. Your vet may want to exam the dog’s paw to determine the damage—if any.
Trimming Dog Nails is a Good Idea
In summary, trimming dog nails is an incredibly important part of regular dog grooming as well as his or her overall health and safety. So, getting into the habit of trimming your dog’s nails on a regular basis—typically every three to six weeks, depending on your dog’s activity levels—is a good idea. Nail cutting can be easy with the right steps, the right tools, and just a little patience.
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Cutting –vs– Grinding
We’ve all sat through the “as seen on tv” infomercial for the painless and effective way of keeping your pet’s nails at proper length by using a special tool that smooths the nails down to the perfect length. And the canine actor is such a happy doggie to boot.
Now, forgoing everything we know about how what we can believe what we see on the television is, a grinder can actually be helpful in doggie pedicures – but there’s a proper time and place for it.
- Cutting – this is how you actually remove length. If you’ve gone too long between trimming and your pup’s nails are more like talons, you’ve got to cut them.
- Grinding – this uses an abrasive surface to remove thin layers. It’s best when used as a weekly length maintenance, or for post-cutting smoothing and rounding of the nail.
If you’ve decided to try grinding, keep in mind that not only is it the noise your dog needs to get used to, it’s the vibration too.
It really is painless – but just keep in the mind that grinding your pet’s nails isn’t all that dissimilar to having a tooth drilled; it doesn’t hurt but who likes the sound and vibration?
Start off by introducing the grinder, and graduate to turning it on and letting them sniff it and become used to it.
Then do one nail at a time, and very quickly.
You may find that you spread this out over several days, but once your pup gets used to the Dremel, you will find it a quick and easy method for maintaining nails.
Again, be liberal with the treats.
To Cut Or Not To Cut – That Is The Question
Unlike our feline friends, your dog has no way to perform his own nail maintenance. And let’s be honest – do we really want Fluffy sharpening her nails before jumping up on your mother-in-law’s lap?
Wait – don’t answer that.
When it comes right down to it, it’s all about the perfect nail length.
- You don’t want to cut the nails too short – the highly vascular quick will tell you in no uncertain terms when you’ve gone too short, and that’s really not something you want to experience. A rule of thumb is that your dog’s nails should just barely sound on the floors when they are trimmed to proper length.
- You don’t want the nails too long; this will cause deformities in the phalanges (toe bones) and difficulty walking, and over time will result in lameness. Besides – it’s painful for the dog.
- Taking your dog for walks on asphalt will help to keep nails shortened but should not be used in place of a proper pedicure.
- If you’ve taken your pooch for a grooming and his nails are cut perfectly, try to maintain them with a grinder weekly to eliminate the process of cutting, and keep the nail smooth and healthy.
- Cutting should be done at least monthly to maintain a healthy length.
Getting Your Dog Comfortable
In as little as a week, you can have one of those “rare” dogs who doesn’t mind nail trimming one bit.
A tip: It helps if you frequently touch and hold your puppy’s paws (cheerfully) right from the first day you get him so he understands that it is OK for you to do this to him.
- Day one: Let your puppy sniff the nail clipper. Give a treat and praise.
- Day two: Touch the nail clipper to each paw. Just touch. Give a treat and praise.
- Day three: Touch the nail clipper to each paw and squeeze it so the puppy hears the sound. Don’t actually cut a nail. Give a treat and praise.
- Day four: Touch the nail clipper to your puppy’s nail. Give a treat and praise.
- Day five: Try trimming off just the very tiniest tip from one front paw nail. Only do one. Offer lots of happy praise and a treat if your puppy lets you. Even if he lets you, just do one. Repeat every day until he lets you do this and doesn’t seem to mind.
- Day six: Try trimming just the tip off two nails.
- Day seven: Keep working your way up, trimming additional nails each day, until you’ve got them all and your puppy doesn’t mind. Keep practicing, even when you don’t need to clip a nail. Even pretending you are clipping, going through the motions, will have an impact.
Clipping Your Dogs Nails:
There are several types of dog nail trimmers, including scissors, grinder tools and guillotine types.
Follow the steps below to trim your dogs nails:
- Pick up a paw and firmly but gently place your thumb on the pad of a toe and your forefinger on the top of the toe on the skin above the nail.
- Push you thumb slightly up and backward on the pad while pushing your forefinger forward. This extends the nail.
- Clip only the tip of the nail, straight across.
- Avoid clipping past the curve of the nail or you risk hitting what is called the quick. A nick there is painful and will bleed.
What’s Inside Your Dog’s Nails?
Before we talk about how to clip your dog’s nails, you must know what’s inside of them. Underneath is something called a quick, which provides blood supply to the nail. Do not cut the quick. If you do, blood will gush out of the nail and your dog will experience pain. I cannot stress enough how sensitive this part is.
The following photo is a close-up of my Chihuahua’s nails (as I mentioned above, they need to be cut)! The pink part in the middle of each nail is the quick. If your dog has white nails, like mine, then it’s pretty easy to spot the quick from the nail’s side (as you can see in the photo). If your dog has black nails, though, you will not be able to see the quick. This makes the nail a bit harder to trim. Below, I have included two different sections for clipping white nails and clipping black nails.
To trim your dog’s nails you will need:
Good quality dog nail clippers or a Dremel
A high-quality set of nail clippers can make a world of difference. A cheap pair that isn’t made well can cut your dog’s nails crookedly, potentially leave hang nails, and runs the risk of breaking. Or if you prefer using a Dremel, find out how to use the grinder tool in the video under the “Cutting Black Nails” section.
*Enjoy 10% off the following pair of clippers when you use my code “PROUDDOG” at checkout!
Styptic powder/ Cornstarch
This will help clot the quick and stop the bleeding if you accidentally cut too far.
Once you give your dog a nail trim their nails may be left with a few sharp edges. To eliminate those sharp edges, it’s a good idea to get in the swing of filing. *I love these clippers from OmegaPet because they’re great quality, feature a safeguard designed to prevent over-trimming, and have a built-in nail file. Enjoy 10% off when you use my code “PROUDDOG” at checkout!
Cutting White Nails
- Hold your dog’s paw firmly, but gently.
- Place clippers around the tip of your dog’s nail – below the quick at a 45º angle.
- Double check that the clippers aren’t on top of the quick.
- If you’re in the clear, snip off the tip of the nail.
- If your dog’s nail starts bleeding that means you hit the quick. If this happens, immediately press some styptic powder on the tip. The styptic powder will help the quick clot.
- Don’t forget to cut the dewclaws (if your dog has them).
- Lightly file your pup’s nails to eliminate any sharp edges.
- Reward your pooch with treats and affection!
Cutting Black Nails
While cutting a dog’s white nails is typically done with one cut per nail, that’s not necessarily the case for black nails. Since it’s easier to see a visual aid, I have included a great video that highlights cutting black nails. *Note: I am not in this video, nor did I create this video. I just think it has some great tips:
DuAnn Chambers/ Via YouTube
Remember: Always finish up your nail cutting session with plenty of treats and praise!
Does Your Dog Hate Getting His Nails Clipped?
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, a lot of dogs kick and scream when they get their nails trimmed. Unless they’re used to it, they usually flat out hate the process! Since it has to be done, it’s important to learn how to calm your pooch down and get through the clipping session with ease. If you have an aggressive dog who fights you to clip his nails, check out this video. *Note: Again, I am not in this video, nor did I create this video. I just think it has some great tips:
Sophia Yin/ Via YouTube
Happy nail clipping!
What Happens if my Dog’s Nails Grow Too Long?
A major aspect of grooming your dogs is keeping their nails at an appropriate length.
There are a number of things that can go wrong if you let your dog’s nails grow too long.
First, your dog won’t be able to walk or run properly.
Imagine trying to walk around with your toes curled under your feet.
When the dogs can’t walk properly, it puts a lot of unnecessary strain on their muscles and their spine. If the nails grow too long, they can become ingrown, and those ingrown nails are prone to infection and cause your dog a lot of pain.
When Should I be Trimming Black Dog Nails?
Dogs’ nails should be trimmed whenever they get too long, no matter how old they are.
This includes puppies. But for most dog parents they only start thinking about nail clipping after the nails are already long.
To tell if your dog’s nails are too long, you can see if you hear their claws click against a hard floor or path when they walk.
If their claws are clicking against tile, timber or concrete floors, they need to be trimmed.
You can also tell by holding up their paw and looking to see if the nail comes down over the pad of the paw.
High Quality Pet Nail Clippers – Epica Professional Nail Clipper
These Epica Pet Nail Clippers are ideal for small and medium dogs such as Spaniels, Terriers, Dachshunds, Poodles, Bulldogs, Collies and Labrador Retrievers.
These dog nail clippers are very popular. At the time of writing these clippers rated an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars from more than 3,700 reviews on Amazon (that’s a very high rating!)
These clippers let you see precisely where you’re cutting. No guesswork. You get sharp stainless steel blades that cut the nail cleanly so there are no ragged bits that need filing. When you make the cut on the nail, you only need to use a gentle squeeze on the clippers to do it.
These nail clippers do not merely squeeze the nail off at the end like some poor quality clippers. The Epica clippers have a very sharp cutting blade to slice the end of the nail off easily. These blades are made from high-grade stainless steel and they will not warp, bend, rust or scratch.
You get a ***safety stop feature*** on these dog nail clippers. This stops you from cutting too far along your dog’s nail. This is a great feature if you’re not used to clipping dog nails yet.
The rubber grip handles let you keep a firm hold of the clippers while clipping your dog’s nails.
They include a safety lock to keep the blades together when not being used. This keeps your kids safe if they come near them and it also protects the blades from damage if you store the clippers in a drawer with other items. The safety lock will not jiggle open if you shake the clippers around, like what happens on lower quality dog nail clippers.
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PICTURES on Trimming Black Dog Nails and Finding the Pulp (to avoid the quick on black dog nails)
2. After another clip…this photo starts to show some of the darker color in the center.
3. After yet another clip…now you can see the black pulp clearly in the center of the nail. This is when to stop. The pulp is just before the quick. Stop once you see the black pulp like this (below), otherwise the nail will bleed if you do another clip.
Why is it Important to Cut Up to the Pulp on Black Nails?
As mentioned, the pulp is just before the quick. If you only take a minimal amount off the nail the quick will continue to grow longer. After trimming black dog nails (or lighter color nails) you actually want the quick to recede. Otherwise it will become difficult to cut the dog’s nails short enough the next time.
By cutting a dog’s black nails up to the pulp, this encourages the quick to recede. This is what you want. It helps your dog to stay in good health and helps avoid painful problems from long or overgrown nails in the future.
My Dog is Anxious About Getting His Nails Clipped – What Should I Do?
If this is the first time you’re trimming black dog nails, it can be difficult for both you and your dog. If your dog is anxious about it, you’ll know.
He might try to hide under the bed, run to another room and cower, tremble, drool, and his tail will be tucked under. Other indications are a change in behavior, excessive barking or urinating and defecating in the house. No one wants to see anxiety in their dog. It upsets all of us.
But you still need to clip your dog’s nails. So, what do you do?
One of the best things to try is a natural supplement to calm your dog. Some dogs suffer from extreme anxiety and they are prescribed meds by the veterinarian. This is usually for ongoing anxiety, not for one-off situations like nail cutting.
These Zesty Paws Calming Bites contain an all-natural formula for anxiety. Dog owners use this supplement for their dogs in lots of different anxiety-inducing situations.
For example, they are good for thunderstorms, fireworks, car trips, separation anxiety or visiting crowded places. You can also give this supplement to your dog before nail clipping.
Here are some tips for using Calming Bites before trimming black dog nails:
- they may work better for your dog if taken on an empty stomach, rather than giving with food
- most dogs seem to get good results straight away but one dog owner mentioned in a review that it took her dog 3 weeks for the supplements to take effect after giving them daily and then they worked really well (I’m guessing this may only be relevant if your dog suffers from daily anxiety)
- make sure you dose according to the weight directions on the container
- check with your veterinarian before giving your dog a new supplement (I noted that one person mentioned in a review that her vet said he would recommend all the ingredients in Calming Bites to help her dog’s anxiety which is good, but you’ll need to check for your own dog)
The good news is that you can use these Calming Bites for other situations when you’re dog is anxious or uncomfortable.
I’ve never known a dog to be happy about thunderstorms so if you want to make nail cutting easier as well as calming your dog during storms, get the Calming Bites and try them.
This is especially important if you’re dog is not yet used to nail trimming. At the beginning, they really do make a difference.
Why is it essential to shorten the nails of your dog?
It goes without saying that dogs who are used to walking on soft ground (a park or a forest) can have a harder time controlling the length of their nails, compared to dogs who walk on hard grounds (concrete or asphalt). However, not only the ground upon which your dog walks is a crucial factor. Pay also attention to these:
- Genetic predisposition
- Type of dog breed
- Feeding habits
- How active your dog is
When dog nails are too long, it not only leads to pain. Postural defects can be another result, caused by your dog shifting weight. The worst case scenarios are lamenesses or serious injuries. If that’s the case, the nails continue to grow and can even grow to a length where they touch the ground. This significantly affects the quality of your dog’s daily life. As soon as the nails touch the ground and grow past the pad of your dog’s paw, it’s a sign they are definitely too long and that you should take action!
When are the nails too long?
If your dog stands in front of you and his front legs are under his shoulders, then his nails must not touch the ground. Otherwise, they are too long. If you hear his nails clicking or his nails turn sidewards, it is high time to trim his nails. A piece of paper should fit between the dog’s nails and the floor. Excessively long nails hinder your dog’s ability to move. But how do you shorten those nails?
Reasons To Clip Dog Nails
Whether your little buddy knows it or not, he will be much better off if his nails are trimmed regularly and not allowed to become overgrown. The results are not pretty and can contribute to health concerns:
- Dog nails that grow too long may curl around the paw and puncture the footpad, causing pain and infection.
- They can also interfere with his normal gait, resulting in deformed feet that are splayed, nail breakage, bleeding and general discomfort in the feet, legs and hips because he cannot walk properly.
- Overgrown nails will cause him to rock back on his paws, causing a strain on his joints and ligaments.
Cutting Your Dog’s Nails
You can cut your dog’s nails anywhere, but for smaller dogs, it’s easier to do the job with your dog on a grooming table rather than in your lap or on the floor. If you don’t have a grooming table, any table will do, but you will want to enlist the help of a friend or family member to help hold the dog. They can also help relax and calm the dog for the pedicure process.
- With the pet on the grooming table, begin with the rear paws. Face away from the dog and hold the paw. Use your body weight to gently keep him in place.
- Lift the paw only as far as needed, being careful not to twist the leg and cause injury.
- “Tip” each nail, removing only the curved portion to avoid cutting the quick.
- Trim off any additional length, still being careful to avoid the quick.
- Moving to the front paws, stand by the dog’s front end and lift each one so that you are looking down on the upturned foot, similar to shoeing a horse.
- “Tip” each nail and trim any excess.
- To keep those sharp newly-cut nails from scratching your legs, file them with a large emery board or nail file to smooth them down.
- Praise your dog lavishly once the job is done and reward him with a tasty treat!
Long Nail Problems
Long nails bring pain to your dog! Whenever your dog is going to walk on hard surfaces, he is going to feel pain from the contact, as the nails will be pushing up and into the nail beds. Another consequence is that the push back puts a lot of pressure on your dog’s joints and will also gradually force their toes to slightly twist to the side! After some time, your dog may even get arthritis from sore joints and toenails!
Now having all these problems, your dog will react badly whenever you touch their paws, especially when you make an attempt at nail clipping!
Another quite serious problem arising from unclipped toenails is that your dog may start losing touch with his natural ability to retrieve information from the nerves on the feet as well as to process gravity accurately! In this way, your dog will start overusing muscles and joints to stay in a curled up position when in fact it is not really necessary! But with long toenails, they will touch ground so much they will think they are somehow up and climbing on a hill – as they have been programmed evolutionarily to think so when they used to be outside into the wild!
Dogs in the wild are more prone to trimming their nails naturally! But, the dogs we keep inside are less available to do the same, therefore they need to get their nails regularly clipped from their owners. So, strive to make the experience as calm and fun as possible!
When to clip your dog’s nails?
To maintain your dog’s nails properly, you need to clip them every two weeks – same as we do to maintain our own nails. To better understand the best time to indulge in the procedure, pay attention whether your hear your dog’s nails clicking while they walk around in the house floors. If they do click, they are too long and it means the perfect time to clip them!
How to clip long nails?
Cut around, never across as in this way you will hurt their toes! You will also risk your dog getting irritated and avoiding the nail clipping procedure.
Never put the whole nail on the clipper and always clip in a room that has enough light! Start with the hind feet as these tend to be less sensitive than the front nails.
Your dog may show bad reaction, but try your best to start with a positive outlook and continue gently, always accompanied by lots of praise and treats! Attempt at making this experience quality time you spend with your dog!
- Keep the blade parallel to the nail and do not cut across the finger!
- Do not squeeze your dog’s toes as that will also hurt!
- Use your fingers to separate their toes and hold your dog’s paw gently!
- If your dog’s hair makes it impossible for you to see, cut them as short as necessary in order to see the whole nail! Do not cut the hair with the clipper!
- If you accidently cut more nail than you should, reward your dog immediately!
- Make it fun, and associate the procedure with treats and praise!
- The separation between the living tissue and the insensitive nail will become even clearer when your dog’s nails get very long and dry, but you should not wait so long in order to commit to clipping!
- Avoid clipping at the quick!
- Clip only the insensitive part of nail, which is at the top, no further!
*Note: The quick is a vein in the nail, and if you happen to cut it, your dog will start bleeding. Dogs that have nails of light color, the quick area is easily noticeable as it is pinkish! In dogs with darker nails, it is harder to spot it! Even professionals do hit the quick sometimes by accident, so maintain your cool!
- Nail clippers
- Always use nail clippers that are kind of scissor-y and of smaller size so that you can control better and not cut the whole nail. Otherwise, a lot of bleeding will be involved.
- Only for giant dogs, should you feel free to use larger clippers!
- It is important that the clippers be sharp – you can sharpen them on your own from time to time, but keep it on the regular!
- You can use a rotating emery board at the end of clipping in order to smooth your dog’s nails evenly!
If by accident you cut further than the top part of the nail also known as the quick, you may cause bleeding and pain in your dog. If you do – use styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding if the cutting is deep!
Caring about Dogs, Clip Dog Nails
3 Reasons Why Trimming Dog Nails is so Important!
There are a few reasons why trimming dog nails are important. These include:
1. Urban vs Rural
Most domestic dogs that live in urban environments need their nails trimmed regularly. Working dogs, and those dogs that do get a lot of exercise outdoors, usually naturally wear down their nails and keep them trim.
However, with your average pet, they tend to spend more time indoors or on soft surfaces that do not provide a natural filing effect.
Dogs walk and balance on their toes. Those spongy little paw pads under a dog’s toes help them with navigating various surfaces, absorbing shocks, picking up speed, and protecting them from harm.
If their nails are too long and extend over their pads, then your dog is putting the pressure of their weight on their nails and toe joints.
In other words, they are standing on their nails instead of absorbing their weight through the pads on their feet. Long nails can also split, tear or turn and curve back into their pads. Whether for small dogs or big dogs, this is incredibly painful for them!
When dog nails are untrimmed, dogs may adjust their posture to a crouch position and/or start spreading or twisting their toes apart to minimize discomfort. Long-term crouching and posture adjustments will affect your dog’s muscles, joints, and tendons.
It can lead to arthritis and other health-related conditions. Long nails also make it hard for a dog to get the exercise they need to keep healthy and well.
How Long Should Dog Nails Be For Trims?
The correct length of your dog’s nails will depend on their breed, but if you can hear their nails tapping or clicking on a hard surface or they catch on the carpet, they are most likely too long. When in doubt, ask your vet.
The pinkish area in their nail with the nerves and blood vessels is called the “quick”. The quick is easy to see on dogs with light nails or claws, but harder to see on dark colored or black claws.
You want to keep your dog’s nails trimmed close to the quick as possible, but not into it.
Dog nails are trimmed to a minimum of two millimeters away from the quick. Like ours, the nail at the end below the quick is dead. Using dog nail clippers can best do this, but cutting into the quick is painful for your dog, and will result in bleeding.
Clipping Dog Nails: How Often Should You Do It?
How often you need to clip your dog’s claws will depend on how active they are, and what type of surfaces they exercise on.
Other factors are whether they have dewclaws (see below for where to find this additional claw) and that the nails on their front feet may need more regular trimming than those on the rear.
Most dogs’ nails need a maintenance trim of their nails around once a month. Try making a nail check part of your weekly regular routine, even if you are not cutting them at the time. This will help to get them used to having their paws handled.
6 Dog Nail Trimming Tips to Make Life Easier
- Give them lots of love. Positive reinforcement will go a long way toward relieving any anxiety caused by the sight of the dog nail clippers. It should always end with a big hug and/or a treat in order for them to associate their nail trim with good things.
- Familiarize yourself with how to use your dog nail clippers and trimmers before you start to make the job as quick and easy as possible for you both. If you don’t own any grooming equipment, you might want to consider the Ceenwes Dog Nail Clippers set. It has everything you’ll need, including clippers that are quiet, cordless and rechargeable!
- Make sure you have lots of light! Do your dog’s nail clipping outside in daylight or in a brightly lit room. If you need reading glasses or are worried about getting too close to the quick, wear magnification glasses so you can see how close you are cutting.
- Go gently and separate your dog’s toes with the fingers on your other hands. This will give you more space to use the cutters.
- If you have a hairy fur baby, trim back the hair around their toes with a pair of scissors. That way, you will have uninterrupted visibility and access to their claws.
- For small dog breeds, you may be able to trim their nails while they are sitting on your lap. With medium-sized dogs or larger dogs, you may find it easier and more comfortable to have them on a table.
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A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Clip Dog Nails!
- Make sure you know how to use your dog nail clippers or trimmers and that the blades are sharp. Have any other bits and pieces you may need at hand, including something to stem any blood in case you do accidentally nip the quick.
- Cut from underneath your dog’s nail holding your nail trimmer and your dog’s paw so you can see the nail clearly.
- Particularly for dogs with dark claws where you cannot see the quick, it is better to make a series of small cuts gradually, checking the edge of the nail as you go.
How To Trim Nails That Are Overgrown
If your dog’s nails are overgrown you will most likely need to trim them back regularly a little at a time on a weekly basis.
As nails get longer, the quick lengthens down the length of the claw at the same time so you cannot cut them all the way back on your first attempt. As you regularly trim back the nails on a weekly basis the quick will recede until you reach a comfortable claw length for your dog.
Dealing With Anxious Dogs!
If you have an anxious or nervous dog, desensitize them to the nail trimming process as much as you can before you attempt to make a cut. Even better, start desensitizing your dog to having their paws handled from a young age while they are puppies.
Some ways you can do this include:
- Regularly massaging and touching their feet and paws. If you get your dog used to you touching their toes, it will be easier to trim their nails.
- Positive reinforcement will always go along with anything. Introduce your dog to the equipment. Lavish your dog with praise and a treat after you are finished.
- If you use an electric grinder or other equipment, turn it on beside you while you are grooming other areas so your dog gets used to the noise. If your dog is particularly noise sensitive, it might be worth investing in “quiet” equipment. Emitter has you covered with their Ultra Quiet Pet Nail Grinder for Dogs!
- Watch an expert. Take your dog to your vet or to professional groomers and see how they handle the process with your dog. Observe the techniques they use for holding the equipment and your pet.
- Some things are easier and friendlier with two, as said by Winnie the Pooh. Try making the nail cutting routine one that involves you and another family member or a friend. One person can be holding your dog and one cutting their nails. Two people may be able to make the task quicker, friendlier, and more efficient than just one – especially if you have a large dog.
Rated 4.50/5.00 by CertapetUltra Quiet Pet Nail Grinder for Dogs Electric Rechargeable USB Charging Dog Nail Grinder Trimmer Clipper for Small Medium Large Dogs Cats and Other Animal Paws$39.99The dog nail grinder is designed to grind the animal paws after trimming the nail by the nail clippers. It takes longer time to grind the long nail of large dogs. If you are not satisfied with the speed of our dog clippers, please contact our customer support via for refund or replacement before leaving any negative review. We can guarantee that our dog nail grinder is high quality made, but it is hard to meet every customer’s expectation. Please just contact us directly for any after-sale service.Reason to Choose Our Electric Pet Nail Grinder:✔Diamond bit head last lifetime use, buy only one our dog nail grinder, no need to pay extra dollars in the future. Most economic choice here.✔100% money back guarantee. LIFETIME. Yes, it’s Lifetime policy. Once you purchase one pet nail grinder, you are covered 100% money back policy FOREVER. Have a try of our products, take no risk.✔Three size ports for all breeds animals. One for all, so easy!✔Quiet running, pets will hardly notice its sound. Perfect for pets use.✔Universal USB port charging design make charge so convenient.✔3 hours power supply with 2 hours quick charge Tips for Using the pet nail grinder first time●show the grinder to your pets or let him sniff it to familiarize the grinder to your pets●Turn the pet nail grinder on and let him get used to the sound with praise and treat.●Gently hold the pet paws and make him comfortable●Touch the pet paws by grinder head gently progressivelyWhat’s in the package1x pet nail grinder1x USB cord
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