How to Groom a Large Dog's Nails

Medium
15 - 20 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

When your pup's nails get too long, there is more to the problem than them being unsightly. Nails that have been allowed to grow too long can make walking very painful, as at each step the nails are putting excessive pressure on his toes, often twisting them badly. Imagine what it would be like if you had to walk around like that every day. The extra pressure on his joints can put too much pressure on his joints as well, leading to injury and permanent damage. This is especially important with larger dogs whose feet have so much more weight to support. 

Dog's Perspective

The last thing your pup wants is to have no choice but to walk around on his nails instead of the pads under his feet. Your pup is not going to like having his nails trimmed at first, but with time, he will get used to it and may even look forward to it. It's easy to tell when your dog's nails start to get too long. He will spend more time laying around, and you can usually hear them clicking on the floor. 

The Day at the Nail Salon Method

Effective
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Shampoo
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Towel
Step
1
Into the foot bathing tub
Run a small plastic tub about half full of tepid water. Bath each of your pup's feet thoroughly using a vet-approved soap or shampoo. Never use products made for use on humans as they can harm your pup.
Step
2
Up next, a massage
While you are using a nice soft towel to dry your pup's feet off is a good time to give them a nice massage. This is also a good time to take a pair of thinning shears and trim back any long hair between your pup's toes and pads.
Step
3
Moisturize next
There are a number of moisturizers for dog's feet available at your local pet store. Massage the moisturizer into your dog' pads, toes, and feet. This is a great time to inspect his feet for any signs of injury. Make sure you get his nails too, this will help to keep them healthier.
Step
4
Clipper time
Since you are working on a large dog's nails, you should be using scissor-style nail clippers. The guillotine ones are for small dogs and may shatter the nails on a larger dog. Start up front and then move to the back paws. Cut the nails back just in front of the quick, making sure to trim his dew claws as well.
Step
5
What if I hit the quick?
If you end up cutting too far back and hit the quick, don't panic. Use cornstarch or styptic powder to seal the nail and stop the bleeding. If, for any reason, you cannot get the bleeding to stop, take your pup to the vet immediately to have the nail cauterized. Cut his nails back in smaller increments to reduce your risk of this happening.
Recommend grooming method?

The Lie Down Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Dremel
Nail File
Towel
Step
1
Sit and wait
Call your pup over and have him sit in front of you.
Step
2
Bath time
Using a bowl of lukewarm water, gently wash your dog's feet using a vet-approved soap. Remove any dirt, debris, and burrs from his paws. Give them a thorough examination, looking for any signs of injury or damage. If you see anything serious, consider taking your dog in to see his vet.
Step
3
Toe hair first
Use a towel to dry his feet and then have him lay down on one side. Using a pair of sharp shears, trim the hair between his pads and toes. Cut back any hair on the tops of his feet and toes. This should be done anyway, but it also makes it much easier for you to see his nails.
Step
4
Time to trim the nails
Look carefully at each nail before you trim it. Check for splits, damage, and the location of the quick. This is easy in dogs with clear nails, you may be able to use a bright light on darker nails or simply keep trimming back until you start to see the quick appearing. If you go too far, you can use styptic powder or corn starch to stop the bleeding. After a few trimmings, you should be able to judge where to stop cutting.
Step
5
Finish with a file
The job isn't quite done yet, you need to take the sharp edges off his toenails. You can do this with a hand file or a battery-powered pet nail grinder. If you opt for the grinder, be gentle and don't let your pup's nails get hot or they could burn his toes.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Always introduce your pup to the nail trimmers before using them on your pup, this will make the whole process much easier.
  • Always remain calm and relaxed, this will go a long way towards helping your pup to remain the same way.
  • Go for a nice long walk first, this will help tire your dog out and make it easier for you to take care of his nails.
  • Go slow at first. Not only will this make it easier for your pup to get used to having his nails trimmed, but it will give you the time you need to perfect your nail trimming skills.
  • While there are nail polishes made for dogs, you should never use those made for humans as they contain chemicals that are known to be toxic to dogs. 

Conclusion

The best thing you can do while you are getting your pup used to having his nails trimmed is to take your time and let your pup get used to what is going on. It is important for you to keep his nails trimmed on a regular basis. Long nails can cause permanent damage to your pup's feet, legs, and hips, they can also cause an amazing amount of damage to your flooring and carpets. Use plenty of treats as rewards and make the whole process fun for both of you.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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