Image courtesy of Nature_Blossom @ Pixabay
While some dogs are able to naturally keep their nails quite short, others need to have their nails clipped on a regular basis.
Because when a dog walks with long nails that touch the ground, this causes the nail to be pushed back upwards into the nail bed, placing unnecessary pressure on the dog’s toe joints. This can lead to quite a bit of pain, along with arthritis in the toes.
Nails that are too long can also affect your dog’s posture and gait. This can then cause problems in the future when it comes to the muscles and joints in the legs.
Wondering how to safely cut your dog’s nails?
Here is everything you need to know…
Begin By Handling the Paws
Before you can even think about starting to cut your dog’s nails, you need to make sure that your pooch is happy having his paws handled.
This is a process that needs to begin long before the nail clipping. Ideally, it is something that you should start when your dog is young.
All you need to do is handle and touch your dog’s paws as often as possible. Praise him for good behavior, offering up treats too.
Once your dog is comfortable having his paws touched, you can then introduce the clippers. You don’t need to cut anything just yet – simply show your dog the clippers and regularly place these next to his nails. Don’t forget to keep praising and treating!
Make Sure That You Have the Right Tools
In order to cut your dog’s nails safely and efficiently, you will need the right tools.
Dog nail clippers come in a few different styles. The one you want to use is the scissor-style of clipper.
Because these give you better control. When compared to the guillotine-styled clippers, they don’t crush the toe either. This makes the process more comfortable for your dog.
Clippers are also available in different sizes. You need to use a size that is suitable for the size of your dog and his nails.
Make sure that your nail clippers are sharp too. If they aren’t, you will need to sharpen them or replace them.
One more thing to keep nearby when you start to cut your dog’s nails is…
Why would you need corn starch?
Because this is what you should apply to the nail if you cut the quick. The quick is the blood vessel that runs through the nail, and you should be able to see it if you look at the nail closely. You should always cut above the quick, because cutting the quick will cause it to bleed.
The corn starch will stop the bleeding, enabling you to get on with the rest of the nails.
Can’t see your dog’s quick?
If your dog has black nails, the quick will be harder to spot. You will need to take things slow, cutting in small amounts and keeping an eye out for a white color on the area that has just been cut. As soon as the white gives way to a darker circle in the center of the nail, stop cutting, as this is the quick.
Getting Started with Cutting Your Dog’s Nails
Ready to get started?
You will need to hold your dog’s paw in your hand. Make sure that you have a firm grip, but are being gentle too. Try not to squeeze the toes either, as this will only be painful for your pooch.
Then, hold the clippers at a 45 degree angle over the nail.
Rather than taking a large chunk off on your first go, start with small amounts.
As you cut, make sure that you keep inspecting the nail. As soon as you see the inside of the nail looking white, with a small black dot in the middle of it, it is time to stop, as you are reaching the quick.
You would probably be best off starting with the hind legs rather than the front. Those nails tend to be less sensitive, making them easier to cut.
Can’t get your dog to stay still?
Even when dogs are used to having their paws handled, they may still struggle when it comes to having their nails clipped.
You need to be gentle but confident while doing so. Your dog will pick up on any nerves you may have, and will only struggle even more.
Giving your dog a treat each time you clip a part of his nail can help to build up positive associations with the process.
If you really can’t manage on your own, don’t battle your way through. You want this to be a calm and quick process that doesn’t stress your dog out too much. Consider enlisting the help of a friend when it comes to restraining your dog, so that you can get the job done quickly.
You could also take things even slower, cutting just one nail a day. So long as you keep the experience positive, it won’t take too long for your dog to grow accustomed to the process, and he will soon allow you to clip his nails without any problems.
Need to Cut Your Dog’s Nails Even Shorter?
If your dog hasn’t regularly had his nails clipped, then the quick within them will be quite long.
However, if you need a shorter cut, don’t worry, as this will come with time.
Each time you cut your dog’s nails, the quick will recede a little more. This means that the next time you go to cut your dog’s nails, you will be able to cut them a little shorter.
Perfect Your Technique
If you have multiple dogs, or if you simply want to learn how to get better at cutting your dog’s nails, you can always ask a professional for some extra advice.
Your vet or your groomer will be able to talk you through the clipping process, arming you with plenty of additional techniques to ensure that the clipping goes smoothly.
Cutting your dog’s nails can seem frightening at first, especially if you have never done this before. However, so long as you take things slowly and calmly, the process is easy, and is something that you will be able to repeat every few weeks.