How to Trim a Dog's Claws

Medium
15 - 20 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

One of the worst things about your pup having long toenails is the amount of pain they can cause. This is because as his nails hit the floor with each step he takes, the pressure on his nails pushes them back into the tips of his toes. Can you imagine having to walk around like this all day long? 

Not only is this painful, but it can also cause excessive pressure on his joints, leading to deformed toes. Long toenails can also cause his paws to be closer together than they should be, leading to serious hip and shoulder problems in later life. 

Dog's Perspective

Chances are good your pup isn't going to be very happy about having his nails trimmed, it is a completely unnatural act. But if you start doing so at a young age, he will get used to the process. At the same time, you can bet your pup does not want to walk around on feet that hurt with every step he takes, every move he makes. You may even notice that when you let your pup's nails get too long, he spends far more time lying around than up on his feet. 

The Spa Day Method

Effective
0 Votes
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Step
1
Treat your pup to a spa day
Start out by treating your pup to a spa day. Bathe his feet carefully and thoroughly. Be sure to use a pet-approved shampoo or soap to do so. Products made for use on humans contains chemicals that may be harmful to your dog.
Step
2
Time for a massage
This is a good time to give your pup a foot massage and dry his feet using a nice soft towel. You can use this time to look for any signs of injury to his pads, toes, and nails. You can also use this time to use a pair of scissors to trim away any extra hair between his pads and toes.
Step
3
Use a moisturizer
Using a moisturizer designed for dogs, massage it into his feet gently, this will help his skin and pads remain healthy. You can also use olive oil for this. Be sure to moisturize his nails as well. Always be sure to use products made specifically for dogs.
Step
4
Break out the clippers
Choose the right type of nail clippers. Use scissor-style for larger breeds and guillotine style for smaller pups. Start with one of his front paws and clip all of his nails back to just before the quick. Be sure to get the dew claw at the same time.
Step
5
If you go too far...
If you go too far and cut into the quick you can use styptic powder or corn starch to stop the bleeding. If this doesn't stop the bleeding, you need to take your pup to the vet to have the nail cauterized. Try cutting his nails in smaller increments, this will help reduce your chances of cutting into the quick.
Recommend grooming method?

The Lying on His Side Method

Effective
0 Votes
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Dremel
Nail File
Step
1
Sit first
Call your dog over to you and have him sit in front of you. Give him a treat and give him time to relax before moving on to the next step.
Step
2
Time for a foot bath
Fill a bowl with a solution of warm soapy water and gently bathe your pup's feet. Make sure you remove all signs of dirt and debris. Inspect his pads and nails for cracks, injuries, and any other form of damage. If you notice anything serious, take your pup to the vet for proper treatment.
Step
3
Trim the toe hair
This is a good time to grab a pair of small but sharp scissors. Use safety scissors for this instead of sharp pointed ones to reduce the risk of injury. Trim any long hair around his toes and pads to help expose the nails, making them easier to see and cut. Keeping these hairs trimmed short can help keep him from slipping and sliding on the floor.
Step
4
Trim the toenails
Take a close look at each toenail before you start trimming it to locate the quick. With clear nails this is relatively easy, but it can be a bit harder with dark nails. Be sure to have some styptic powder or cornstarch on hand in case you cut into the quick. Using a set of nail clippers, clip each nail in small increments until it is just short of the quick.
Step
5
Filing to the finish
Use a file to remove any sharp edges and finish up the job. You can use a hand file or an electric grinder like the "Pedi-Paw" to do this. But if you plan to use the grinder, take care not to let the grinder overheat the nails as this can be very painful.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Be sure to give your dog time to get used to the toenail clippers before you start. This will help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Be calm and relaxed, if you are nervous or stressed, your dog will pick up on and behave in the same way.
  • Try taking a nice walk with your pup to tire him out before you start.
  • Take your time at first, giving your pup time to get used to having his nails trimmed.
  • Never use nail polish made for humans on your dog's nails and never paint nails that are broken or split. 

Conclusion

The more time you spend at first giving your dog time to get used to the entire process, this will make future trimmings much easier. Be sure to keep a close eye on the length of your pup's nails, when you can hear them clicking on the floor, it might be time to trim them. Keep your pup's favorite treats on hand as rewards and try to make the process as much fun as possible for both of you. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions