How to clip your dog's nails

If Rover’s nails are clickety-clacking on the floorboards or getting snagged in the carpet then they’re in need of trimming

21 Mar 2016 By Sarah Billington Comments

Tools needed:

  • Nail clippers
  • Dog treats
  • Flour/baby powder/corn starch/styptic powder (just in case, to quickly stop bleeding)

Clipping your dog’s nails is a part of dog ownership that many people – and their dogs – dread, but not clipping their nails can be more painful for your dog in the long run.

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If you and Rover haven’t had practice with nail clipping together from his puppyhood, then chances are he might become stressed out at the very idea of it. If when petting your dog’s feet they kick out at you, or move their feet from your reach, that’s a good sign that they are one of the many dogs who don’t like their humans touching their feet at all, let alone when gripping them tightly in order to cut their nails!

The stress and fear of nail clipping time can make a dog wriggle around, which in turn makes it more likely that you’ll have an accident and justify all their fears of letting you near their precious toes.

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But nail clipping doesn’t need to be so stressful.

Here are some tips on how to calm your dog down and help you both get through the experience – and maybe even enjoy it!

Preparing your dog

You will need a couple of days of practice to work you and Rover up to the actual act of nail clipping.

First, give Rover a cuddle or pats to keep him calm and content. This will help him associate pleasant feelings with the clipping of his nails.

Show Rover the nail clippers and hold them his paw – but don’t clip anything yet! Instead, give Rover a treat for being such a good dog. Repeat this process for a couple of minutes (hold the clippers to his paw, give him a treat).

If this is the first time you are attempting to clip Rover’s nails, that’s it! You’re done for today. It may take a few days of practicing these steps before Rover is comfortable enough with you touching his feet and the sight and feel of the nail clippers for you to actually trim them.

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Clipping Rover’s nails

When Rover seems content to give it a go, make your buddy comfortable, and settle down in a quiet area with Rover lying on his side with all four paws accessible to you.

You only want to trim the end portion of his nails that protrude past his toe and the quick.

Hold up Rover’s paw and place the clippers underneath his toes, the handle facing his foot. Angle the clippers up and cut the nail at a 45 degree angle. Make a couple of small cuts rather than one big cut. It is much safer this way and you are less likely to hurt Rover or make him bleed by cutting into his quick. Give Rover treats throughout the process. He’s being a very brave boy!

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Trim Rover’s nails as quickly as you can, as sometimes it can simply be the length of time he is having to sit still and let you play with his feet that will make him restless and stressed.

 

If Rover consistently shows signs of fear or stress such as whining, squirming, panting or trying to hide, then it would be best for you and Rover to hand the process over to a professional, either a dog groomer or vet.

21 Mar 2016 By Sarah Billington Comments

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