I like to look and feel my best. As a GoldenDoodle, my furry hair requires regular trimming, but that isn’t the only reason my parents bring me to the groomer. I need to get my nails clipped regularly. However, if some time passes between my appointments, I don’t worry. My parents know how to trim dog nails, so we can do it at home.
Knowing how to trim dog nails is great skill to have as a puppy parent. I can speak for my four-legged friends and let you know that overgrown nails can be painful to walk on. Oh, and if our nails are too long, they can break, which is even worse.
I’ve heard that humans have a lot of fear about cutting their dog’s nails, but if you’re calm, we’re more likely to be calm. Approach us when you’re feeling relaxed and confident. Obviously, if this is new to the both of us, we might be a little anxious, but if you take it slow, we’ll be okay. If you want my advice, consider coming prepared with treats. We are highly motivated by treats.
Step 1: Nail Clippers
The first thing you should do when learning how to trim dog nails is make sure you purchase the right set of clippers for you and your dog. There are two different types at most pet stores. The first is the guillotine clippers and the next is a scissors type.
Guillotine clippers have a hole that you would place your dog’s nail into. Once you’ve lined up the correct spot you’d like to trim, squeeze the handles, and a blade will cut the excess nail. The scissor trimmers work similarly to how you’d cut a piece of paper. Place the dog’s nail between the blades, and squeeze the handle once you’ve found the spot you’d like to make your cut. Both trimmers work well. You might want to try them out to see what you and your dog like best.
Step 2: Prepare Your Dog
Has your dog’s nails ever been trimmed before? If you don’t know how to trim dog nails, and this is your first time trying, you might want to start slow. Does your pup like her feet touched? Start off by calmly handling her feet and her nails. If she’s still nervous, wait a while before trying again or moving to the next step. Try giving her a treat after you’ve handled her feet. This will help her associate your touching her feet to her getting a reward.
Step 3: Finding the Quick
The next step when learning how to trim dog nails is making your first cut! Regardless of the trimmer you’re using, try to locate the quick in her nails. The quick contains live blood vessels, so if you cut too closely, she’ll bleed, and the bleeding might last a while. If possible, have on hand some Kwik Stop Styptic Powder, or another type of clotting powder in the case that you cut too high. The quick should be easy to locate in dogs with clear or light nails It will appear pink in clear-nailed dogs, and one cut should be made two millimeters below the quick. If your dog has black nails, my advice would be to start with very small cuts until you’ve gotten the nail short enough. The quick would be very difficult to locate in dogs with black nails.
Step 4: Make the Cut
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics on how to trim dog nails, it’s time to make the first cut. Don’t forget about the dew claws, which are your dogs side nails (like your thumbs), and found mostly on the front legs, but occasionally on the rear. If your dog is relaxed while you cut her nails, keep cutting until you’ve finished. If your dog is anxious or nervous, trim just a few at a time. Then remember to reward her with a treat, and continue with the other nails later that day or the next day.
Have you ever trimmed your dog’s nails at home? What type of clippers do you prefer? Let us know in the comments if you have any special tips for nail grooming at home!
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