You may find yourself wondering how to trim dog nails when you hear your furry friend’s nails clacking as they walk. The process can seem daunting and nerve-wracking to all involved, but if done properly, you and your dog will have nothing to worry about.
When to Trim Dog Nails
The right time to trim dog nails is going to vary for each dog, but will generally be every 3-4 weeks. Your dog’s nails shouldn’t touch the ground when standing, so if you notice this, it’s time for a trim. You may have to trim your dog’s nails more or less often, as they may or may not naturally wear down their nails.
How Short to Trim Dog Nails
Your dog’s nails shouldn’t touch the ground when you’re done clipping them, but you need to be careful not to trim their wick, which is the nailbed. A safe distance is to stay in front of the natural curve of your dog’s nails.
What to Use to Trim Dog Nails
When it comes to trimming dog nails, there are a few different tools you can use to get the job done, dog nail clippers are going to give you the most visibility of the nail while trimming it.
Regular Nail Clippers
If you’ve got a puppy or small dog and only have human nail clippers on hand, you can safely get the job done. Small dog nails are thin enough for this to work, though you may not feel as comfortable using them.
Guillotine-Style Dog Nail Clippers
Guillotine-style nail clippers are great for small and medium-sized dogs, as it’s similar to a scissor and uses your own strength to cut the nail. It can be tricky to use on a large dog’s thicker nails.
Spring-Loaded Dog Nail Clippers
Spring-loaded nail clippers are favored by vets and professional groomers for their increased strength when it comes to clipping larger dogs’ nails. You can use this clipper with any size dog.
How to Trim Dog Nails
As the time comes for you to trim your dog’s nails, your dog is probably as nervous as you are, but this doesn’t mean the two of you are going to have a bad experience. However, if you feel too nervous or uncomfortable trimming their nails, you can always take them to your vet or a groomer.
Get Your Dog Accustomed to the Clippers
You can ease some of your dog’s tension by getting them used to the clippers before you trim their nails. Bring the clippers out regularly and click them together so your dog gets used to the sight and sound of them. Make sure to let your dog smell them whenever they want, as that’s how dogs explore and learn.
Find a Comfortable Area
Make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible and you’re distraction-free. Your dog will feel better being comfortable and it’s always safer not to have distractions when trimming nails.
Hold Your Dog’s Paw Correctly
Take your dog’s paw in one hand and gently, but firmly, use your thumb and forefinger to press on their paw pad and extend their nails. If you notice fur in the way, you can cut the fur before you trim the nail.
Trim the Nail
While your dog is sitting still, trim straight across the tip of their nail before the curve of your dog’s nail. If your dog has light-colored nails, you will be able to see a whiter area on the nail: this is the quick, or their nail bed. You shouldn’t trim their nail to this point, as you could injure them. If your dog has darker or black nails, you may not be able to see this area at all, making it trickier to trim their nails. It’s always safer to trim less than to risk trimming their quick.
Reward Your Dog with Treats
Once you’ve clipped their nails, make sure to give your dog some treats so they have positive associations with the experience and know they get rewarded.
How to trim dog nails can be a tricky and stressful process for all involved, but if done safely, it can be a regular part of your dog’s life. If you’re uncomfortable, you can take your dog to a groomer or a vet instead.