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How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

Petmate Academy

May 11, 2022

If you're a dog owner, then you know that your pet's nails need to be trimmed on a regular basis. But do you know how to do it correctly? In this blog post, we will teach you the basics of trimming your dog's nails, as well as offer some tips for making the process easier and less stressful for both you and your dog. So, read on for all you need to know about trimming your dog's nails!

The Importance of Cutting Your Dog's Nails

Before we get into the tips and tricks – why is nail trimming important?

Trimming your dog's nails is an important part of taking care of them, and it's something that you should do on a regular basis. Long nails are more than just an aesthetic concern. If your dog's nails are too long, they can start to curl under your dog's feet, making it uncomfortable for them to walk. Long nails can also lead to health problems, as they can put pressure on the nerves in your dog's feet.

Paw Handling

Before you start cutting, it's important to get your dog used to the sensation of having their paw held and touched. Otherwise, they may become anxious or resistant. Start by gently holding their paw for a few seconds at a time. You can also try massaging the paw or lightly rubbing the nails. If your dog seems comfortable, you can gradually increase the amount of time you spend handling their paw.

Once your dog is comfortable with paw-handling, you can being to introduce them to the nail-trimming process.

Use the Right Dog Nail Clipper

Dog nail clippers aren't one size fits all. Depending on the size or age of your dog, you'll need to have the proper style on hand.

For puppies and small dogs, scissor-style clippers are the best. These clippers have smaller blades that make it easy to get a close trim without the risk of cutting the quick (the blood vessel in the nail).

For medium and large dogs, large guillotine-style clippers are a better option. These clippers have a larger cutting surface that can easily handle thicker nails.

Introduce Your Dog to the Nail Clipper

You'd most likely freak out if someone came at you with an unfamiliar instrument, so it's important to give your pup a chance to get familiar with the nail clipper. Let them sniff it before lightly touching each paw with the clipper. Don't forget to give positive reinforcement!

Many pet parents don't realize that their dog might not like the sound of nail clippers. To get them used to it, try cutting off some fur from a safe distance. With time and repeated exposure, the nail clippers should become less intimidating. 

Once your dog is comfortable enough with the nail clippers, it's time to start trimming!

Make Sure Your Dog is Comfortable

When it's time for a trim, you want to make sure your dog is as comfortable and relaxed as possible. It's best to take them to a quiet place so they can relax without too many distractions. It's also a good idea to have all of your supplies gathered beforehand, such as the nail clippers, a file, and some treats for encouragement.

Time to Start Trimming!

Gently take your dog's paw into your hand. Decide which toe you're going to start with and isolate the nail. Start by cutting only the tip of the nail, being careful not to cut too deep into the quick – the blood vessel in the center.

If your dog has white or clear nails, you can see the quick from the outside. Many dog breeds have black nails, however, making it impossible to see the quick from the outside. When dealing with black nails, it's best to trim them little by little. If you do cut into the quick, quickly apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Styptic powder, cornstarch, or flour can also be used to stop the bleeding.

Be sure to cut evenly and straight across. If your dog's nails are very long, you can use a nail file to shorten them and round out any sharp edges after clipping the tips.

Don't Forget the Encouragement!

Positive reinforcement plays a critical role in making your dog more comfortable throughout the nail clipping process. Be sure to reward them with treats, snuggles, or playtime after a nail trim.

Nail trimming is an important part of your dog's grooming routine, and with a little patience and practice, it can be a quick and easy process. By using the tips we've outlined in this post, you can make the experience as stress-free as possible for both you and your dog.

Don't forget to stock up on quality dog grooming products like nail clippers, trimmers, and more from Petmate to keep your furry friend looking (and feeling) their best.

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