Well groomed nails are key to having a happy and healthy pup! In this article, let’s explore the benefits of well-groomed nails and explain how to trim dog nails safely and comfortably.
Domesticated pups like ours don’t wear down their nails naturally because of our urban environment. It’s therefore extra important to trim your dog’s nails regularly and prevent them from growing too long.
Long and untrimmed nails can catch on carpets, break or splinter when running or playing - causing further pain. Long nails also make moving and standing painful and awkward for your pups. If it grows too long, their nails could even twist or curl and be embedded in your pup’s paws.
To save your pup lots of pain and yourself the heartache, it’s recommended to trim your dog’s nails regularly - at least once a month!
How to Trim Dog Nails
Trimming a dog’s nails is almost the same as clipping human nails - the aim is to get the nail to a shorter and more manageable length without clipping too much of it off or hurting your dog.
When trimming your dog’s nails, be careful of cutting into the vein of their nail. Also known as the quick, cutting into it can cause bleeding and pain to your pup. As a safe rule of thumb, leave at least 2mm between the quick and where you trim.
If your pup has white or clear nails, it’ll be easier to see where not to cut - just avoid the red vein in the middle. But if your pup has black nails, the best method is to trim their nails little by little, to prevent cutting too much of their nails.
If you’re not sure if you’ve cut enough of their nails, place your pup’s paws flat on the table. If their nails touch the table or if you hear clicking when your dog is walking, their nails are still too long.
For small dogs, nail scissors are the easiest tools to use. A sturdy pair like DoggyMan’s Stainless Steel Nail Clipper for dog nails will work very well. Gently raise your pup’s paws and trim at a 45 degree angle. It’s also a good idea to give your dog some treats between every few cuts.
If your pup’s nails are black and it’s hard to see where not to cut, you can consider using a dog nail grinder like Artero’s Electric Nail Grinder instead. It gives your dog’s nails a smoother finish and will help you have more control over how much nail to trim off.
Ouch! My Dog’s Nails are Bleeding!
If you do end up accidentally cutting off too much of your dog’s nail, keep calm! Your dog will be fine, but you need to act quickly.
Grab some styptic powder and dip your dog’s nails into it. This helps coagulate their blood and stop it from bleeding out. Keep a lookout and hold on to your pup until the bleeding stops. If your dog’s nails do not stop bleeding, make sure to contact a veterinarian for further instruction!
Dog Nail Clipping Tips
With any grooming, it’s vital to start your pup young. Dogs aged around six weeks and above can already start having their nails clipped.
Even if there isn’t much to trim, it’s good to go through the process of trimming so they feel more comfortable. It’ll also help them be used to sitting still for an extended period of time.
To start getting your dog comfortable with nail trimming, touch and hold your puppy’s paws regularly. Make sure to do it gently and carefully. Teaching your pup a command to shake paws may help as well!
How to Get Your Dog Comfortable with Grooming
Getting your pup comfortable with nail clipping will of course take time, but here are some steps you can take to get started! Although these steps are grouped in days, take as much time as you need to help get your dog comfortable with nail clipping.
First, start by letting your dog smell your dog nail clipper. Give them plenty of treats and praise to encourage them to associate dog nail cutters with positive experiences. For the next few days, practice letting them smell the clipper, then gently touch their paws with the clipper.
Once they’re more comfortable with the feeling of the clipper on their paw, squeeze the clipper near their paw so your pup hears the sound. But avoid actually trimming their nails for now! Repeat this for a few more days.
If you think your dog is ready, attempt to trim off a small amount of your dog’s front paw nail. If they allow you to do so without any fuss, offer them a treat! However, even if he does allow you to clip his nails, avoid clipping his other nails. It’s better to take things slow and steady to avoid scaring your pup.
Keep repeating the previous steps, but trim more of their other paw nails until your pup understands and is comfortable with the routine. Even if your pup doesn’t need their nails trimmed, it’s better to keep repeating this routine until they're 100% comfortable.
Don’t forget to shower your dog with praise and treats throughout this process! Every time they allow you to touch their paws or clip their nails, you should offer them a treat or too. For fussy dogs, you can give them a peanut butter treat or something more long lasting so they’re distracted while you’re trying to clip their nails.
Puppy Paw Care
After cutting your dog’s nails, finish up by filing their nails down with a nail file for dogs like Artero’s Grooming Nail File.
Other than trimming your pup’s nails, you can also help keep their paws maintained by trimming down the fur on their paws - preventing slipping. Use Petkit’s 2-in-1 Electric Pet Trimmer for excellent control over fur trimming.
It’s a great idea to use a little bit of WashBar’s Paw Balm to help keep your dog’s paws moisturised and well nourished.
Let’s also take a look at how to clean dog nails. After going out on walks, clean your pup’s paws and nails to avoid them tracking a mess in your home. You can use a q-tip to clean out the dirt from under their nails. Dog wipes are also a good tool to have for this.
Nail trimming can seem like a daunting task, but it’s definitely worth it to clip your dog’s nails regularly. After all, long nails can have so many negative impacts, especially to the happiness and health of your dog!
Tammi is an avid writer, but especially loves learning and writing about animals! She spends her free time visiting cat cafes, playing video games and having plenty of cuddle time with her pup.