Trimming Dog Nails

Just like people, dogs need their nails trimmed regularly to avoid ingrown and long, misshapen nails. In some dogs, neglecting nail trimming can result in joint problems, infections and a lot of pain.

Many owners neglect or put off dog nail trimming because of the reluctance of the dog: many dogs whine, squirm and generally protest during the nail trimming process.

However, dog nail clipping doesnt have to be a horrible experience. With the right tools and a few simple tips, you and your dog can get through nail trimming painlessly.

Preparing Your Dog for Nail Clipping

One way to get your dog ready for nail trimming is to regularly handle his feet, during play or when you are petting your dog. This will get him used to his feet being touched, helping to make him more comfortable with the idea.

If possible, begin this practice when your dog is a puppy. Offer treats and praise during feet touching and nail trimming.

Dog Nail Clipping Tools

Nail clippers for dogs come in many types, the most popular of which are:

  • the guillotine nail clipper: The guillotine nail clippers look more like a hole punch and contains a hole into which owners are supposed to insert the dogs nail when cutting it. The guillotine type is sometimes easier to use on dogs with thick or tough nails, as they offer a bit more leverage.
  • the scissors nail clipper: This type of doggie nail clipper looks like a pair of scissors, with two blades that come together. In general, the scissors type is easier to use on dogs, though owners should use whichever type of clippers makes them most comfortable.

Additionally, its a good idea to get a heavy-duty nail file to use on your dog after trims. This will prevent jagged edges that can get caught on things or hurt your dog when he scratches.

The Dog Nail Clipping Process

Some dogs will tolerate nail clipping extremely well. Dogs that get used to the process as puppies may even sit still or sit in your lap during the process. However, some dogs may need to be held down by you or another person. If your dog is more likely to squirm, make sure you have a firm grip on your dogs arm to avoid any slippage while youre trimming.

In dogs with light-colored nails, its easy to see how far back to clip the nail. While the ends of the nails will be white, farther up, a pink color appears. This area, called the quick, is where blood vessels begin. If you cut the quick, bleeding will occur and your dog will be in pain. Cut the nail up to this area, leaving a little bit of the nail (about 2 mm is sufficient) left at the end of the quick.

In dogs with dark-colored nails, the quick is more difficult to see. Although a color change may be visible, if its not, cautiously clip little by little. When you see a color change starting to occur, stop clipping. After awhile, owners will become familiar with how far up the quick starts, making the nail clipping process easier.

In case of bleeding, keep some stypic powder ready. This substance will stop the bleeding fairly quickly.

How Often to Clip Dog Nails

While there is no set period of time to wait between dog nail trimmings, there are a few rules of thumb:

  • When you can hear your dogs nails clicking on the ground or the floor, its time for a trim.
  • When your dogs nails start to curve, its time to clip them.

Every two to three weeks is a generally good rule for dog nail trimming. This will prevent nails from getting too long, which makes the clipping process more difficult.

If youre confused about dog nail clipping or need some help, see your veterinarian. She will have some tips on getting your dog to cooperate and will also be able to demonstrate proper clipping methods.