Of course, when you go for a walk together, hard surfaces like the sidewalk wear down your dog’s nails, leaving you with very little to do. However, if your dog’s nails do not take care of themselves, their uncircumcised nails can break, bleed, or even grow into their feet, causing a lot of discomforts. If your furry friend is a senior, walking on overgrown dog nails can be painful if they have arthritic feet.
But what should you watch out for? Hearing a click-click-click sound while walking on hard floors is the most obvious sign that your dog’s nails need a clip. Cutting off dog nails is relatively easy, but you need to know how to properly clip your dog’s nails into place to avoid damage or pain that can easily be accidentally caused. To make it easier and less stressful for your dog and you, always check with your veterinarian before attempting to clamp your dog’s claws at home.
How to cut your dog’s nails
If your dog hasn’t cut nails before, or if you haven’t clipped your dog’s nails yourself, this can be a strange experience for both of you! However, if you prepare well, keep your dog calm and follow these simple steps that you can do in no time.
And if you’re still not sure, your vet will be happy to help.
Before you start
- If your dog is a little nervous, stressed, or upset about having its nails cut or, in the worst case, trying to suffocate you, don’t try to clip its nails yourself. Ask your vet to do this.
- Most veterinary practices have clinics where cutting your dog’s nails is easy and inexpensive. This takes the pressure off you and you know that your dog is being looked after by an expert.
- This is especially true if his nails are badly overgrown, have grown into the pad, or you have no one to help you. Trying to go it alone for the first time can be difficult for anyone!
Trim your dog’s nails
- Did you have a tutorial from your vet? You are ready to go First of all, make sure that you purchase the right type of dog nail clipper from your veterinary office or groomer.
- Only use nail clippers that are specifically designed for pets, and make sure they are sharp and well-groomed to make the job as easy as possible.
- Depending on your dog’s size, sit him on your lap or sit next to him on the floor – he’ll find the proximity comforting and practical.
- Ask a friend or family member for help by holding your dog’s head and making him feel safe. Even if he’s not a fan of nail clipping, he’ll likely enjoy the excitement!
- Hold your dog’s paws firmly and gently press the pads so the dog’s nail protrudes.
- Starting at the very end of his nail, attach it at a 45 degree angle with the cutting end of the nail clipper facing the nail.
Dark dog nails
- If your dog has dark nails, cut very thin cuttings from the end as it is easy to accidentally damage the “quick” or soft part of the nail. If you see a black dot in the center of his nail, you’ve done the fast and should stop trimming immediately.
- Again, your vet can help you figure out how many nails to remove.
White dog nails
- White dog nails have the quick in the pink area (which you can’t see on black nails) – try again not to steal it! The Quick contains nerves and blood vessels that bleed easily when pricked.
How Often Should You Cut Your Dog’s Nails?
- If necessary, dog nail clipping should be done preferably once a week but at least twice a month, depending on your dog’s needs and the frequency with which you walk.
- It is better to lose small amounts more often than to remove large portions every now and then.
When your dog’s nails are bleeding
- Have silver nitrate sticks available from your veterinarian and cotton balls nearby in case you accidentally nod off your dog’s nail quickly.
- If so, and it’s bleeding, don’t panic – it can happen to all of us. Calmly apply the silver nitrate to the end of the claw and press it down with a cotton ball for a moment.
- If the bleeding doesn’t stop, contact your veterinarian right away for more help with your dog’s nail cutting technique.
- Silver nitrate can sting. Ask your helper to hold your dog if necessary.
Tips and Tricks
- Remember to trim your dog’s dew-claw nail, which is located on the inside of the leg. If these nails are not cut, they will grow into the soft tissue, a bit like an ingrown toenail for us.
- If you’re still a little discouraged, don’t worry. The more times you trim them, the easier it gets.
- Teach your dog how to cut nails from a young age so he gets used to handling his paws – it’s a fun game for both of you, too. Play “pretend to trim” by touching your dog’s paw feet and then rewarding them with a favorite treat.
- Remember to always reward your dog after cutting nails for a positive experience.
- Do you need a different method for older or younger dogs? Use a regular nail file to file the soft toenails of puppies or older dogs with brittle nails, which are less likely to cause pain or bleeding.
- When checking your dog’s nails, also check their paw pads for cuts or foreign objects. (Grass seeds are a common pesky problem for some dogs in the summer as they can get stuck between their toes.)
- Also, check between his toes for any signs of pain and as always, if you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian.
Trimming your dog’s nails is not easy. So don’t feel guilty if you can’t. If in doubt or for further reassurance, contact your veterinarian or veterinarian nurse. They will be happy to help you.