Out of all the grooming tasks, nail clipping is the most feared by owners and many dogs. Yes, you can cut the nail to short and cause bleeding. However, that potential mishap shouldn’t scare you off. Clipping dog’s nails needs to be done. The best way to do it is to educate yourself on supplies, technique, and calming strategies if your dog is fearful.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about clipping your dog’s nails.
Why Do You Need To Clip Dog Nails?
In the ancestral days there was no one out there trimming nails, so why now? Unless your dog spends their entire day running and hunting like their wild ancestors, then their nails aren’t getting worn down enough to skip the trim.
As a dog’s nails grow longer, it can start to impede their ability to walk or run. You will start to notice their nails tipping to the side, and yes, it is as uncomfortable as it looks.
On a long-term scale, this can lead to joint pain or arthritis, and in the most extreme cases, the nails may even start to curl around and dig into the paw pads.
Must Have Nail Clipping Supplies
Aside from a piece of tissue paper close at hand in case you do cut your dog’s nail too close, the only thing you need to trim a dog’s nails is the clipper.
However, it is important that you have the right clipper. There are basically three different kinds: scissor clippers, guillotine clippers, and grinders.
Scissor nail clippers – work as the name suggests, and are best for larger breeds with thicker nails that need the extra force to clip.
Guillotine nail clippers – also work as the name suggests. Simply stick the end of your dog’s nail in the hole and squeeze. A blade is lowered, gently slicing off the end of the nail.
Grinder tools – these work by grinding down the nail instead of clipping. If you’re nervous about clipping nails to short, this may seem like that ”Aha!” choice. There is a learning curve and it can take a little longer than just normal clickers to cut nails.
No matter the device you choose, the clipper needs to be kept sharp. A dull clipper not only slows down the process, but it becomes more likely that the nail will split when clipped.
Nail Clipping Techniques
When it comes to clipping dog’s nails, the honest truth is that it is easier the more that you do it. Setting a schedule for clipping is helpful – for both you and your dog. Every 2 weeks is a good habit to be in.
To best clip your dog’s nails:
- Play with your dog’s paws often, without the clipper. Get them used to the feeling of you handling them.
- When ready, hold your dog’s paw firmly. Cut below the quick,the sensitive pink bit of flesh that provides blood flow to the nails, at a 45 degree angle. Take off just small amounts at a time.
- You can stop clipping when you see a white ring around the nail and a black dot on the inside. That means you have given a good trim, but have not hit the quick.
How to Calm a Dog Scared of the Nail Clipper?
To diminish the fear of nail trimming, make it a positive experience. Treats are a good start. Reward them for every successful nail trimmed if you have to.
Laying with your dog, handling their paws often, and taking it slow with just one nail at a time will help ease your dog into the routine of having their nails trimmed.