How to Trim a Dog's Nails That Are Too Long

Medium
10 - 20 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Hey, it happens! No matter how good your intentions might be, trying to remember to trim your dog's nails every week or two seems to be a lot harder than you might think. In time, your pup is going to put a paw on your leg with nails that look more like daggers than claws. By the time they reach this condition, walking can be very painful for your pup and trimming them back is not quite as easy as keeping them trimmed on a regular basis would have been. 

Dog's Perspective

There are typically only two reasons why your dog's nails have reached the stage where they look like Halloween monster claws. One, your dog hates having them trimmed to the point at which no one wants to get near him. Or, you simply have not found the time to trim them like you are supposed to be doing. In either case, it is up to you to get his nail trimmings back on track, something that could take a few weeks. 

Caution & Considerations

  • First and foremost, you should never allow your dog's nails to grow this long.
  • Don't be tempted to cut them all back at once, you could easily end up cutting into the quick, causing bleeding and pain.
  • Create a schedule to trim your pup's nails and then put it on the calendar so that you don't forget.
  • Make the process fun for your pup, keep a number of his favorite treats handy to reward him for good behavior.
  • Bear in mind your pup's nails will grow quickly so you need to pay close attention to them.
  • Most dogs don't want to have their nails trimmed, this will take lots of time and patience. 

Conclusion

While it is very easy to get busy and forget to keep your pup's nails trimmed, this is a very important part of keeping him well-groomed. If you let them get too long, he may have trouble walking, walking can be painful, and his nails could easily curl back into his pads, causing further pain. It only takes a few minutes each week or two to keep your pup's nails neat and trimmed, why not check them today?

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Question
Lulu
Maltese
5 Years
3 found helpful
Question
3 found helpful
Lulu
Maltese
5 Years

My dog has claw growing into her paw she gets very upset tries to bite us when we are trying to clip her nails. Financial issues are not allowing me ti take her a groomer however i have all the supplies to clip them. What can i do to calm her down in order for me to clip her nails ?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Hi there, Lulu may have pain in the area where the nail is growing into the paw and that is why she bites. I suggest calling your vet and explaining your financial situation. Often, a payment plan can be put in place. The vet and an assistant can probably do the job pretty quickly as well as for a low price (having the nails done at the vet is usually pretty economical). I think that this is the safest solution - don't wait because Lulu could get infection if the nail embeds in the skin. All the best to you and Lulu!

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Question
Mia
Mix
5 Years
2 found helpful
Question
2 found helpful
Mia
Mix
5 Years

Mia has really long nails and hates having them trimmed. Can a Vet sedate her and trim them to the correct length? Or will that cause her more problems?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question about pretty Mia. If she is that opposed to having her nails trimmed, definitely call the vet to discuss the sedation option. Vets, in general, are pretty efficient about getting the nails trimmed quickly. So, yes I would explore this option. Once the nails are trimmed to the proper length, try to maintain them yourself by trimming one or two nails a day only. Then, it is not a big deal for her but yet, it keeps the nail problem under control. Good luck!

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Question
Achilles
Pit bull
3 Years
3 found helpful
Question
3 found helpful
Achilles
Pit bull
3 Years

My dog is a rescue,I found him wandering in the street almost 3yrs ago. He hate to even have his paws touched. He will not even let me look at his paws or try and hold or touch them much less trim his nails. He goes into a total panic.The professional groomer could only manage to cut 2 when I took him and it was a mess. He was totally panicked. He is about 80lbs so it’s hard to hold him down and now he knows something’s up if I even come close. I don’t know what to do his nails in front are starting to get long any suggestions?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. I think the best thing to do is call the vet and discuss the fear that Achilles has with the nail clipping. The vet can sedate him and get the job done quickly. You don't want them to get too long and become painful. Sometimes, taking them for their walks every day on the pavement helps to wear them down but you have to be careful of the heat of the pavement- if it's too hot, it can burn the feet. Test the heat with your hand first. Good luck!

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Question
Tucker
Cairn Terrier
5 Years
2 found helpful
Question
2 found helpful
Tucker
Cairn Terrier
5 Years

I actually have two cairn terriers and my issue concerns both of them. My family has always had a hard time keeping up with the nails. And whenever we would get around to addressing the problem, it would be my dad who would cut them. He would always cut them too low making the whole process bloody, painful and traumatic. I have recently taken the dog care responsibility upon myself but am hitting a wall. Any time I get the trimmers close to their paws they start to panic. This includes trembling, crying, nipping, biting, growling, and baring teeth. Now I know that this is due to the traumatic experiences they have associated with getting trimmed, but I have no idea how to even approach healing their emotional set backs. Please help me out!!!

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. I am sorry to hear of the trouble you are having, but glad to hear that you are concerned about your dogs' well-being and emotional health. Yes, a few rough sessions of nail clipping does take an emotional toll and sometimes it can take a while for the fear to go away. When cuddling on the couch with your dogs, occasionally handle the feet. Gently manipulate the nails and touch them, just to get them used to being handled without the clipping. Then, try some of the tips found here: https://wagwalking.com/grooming/trim-a-dogs-nails-without-clippers You can also try a groomer who is known to be skilled at working with fearful dogs. Sessions may have to be short at first, to allow your dogs to get used to the atmosphere. You can call your vet and ask their opinion about what to do as well. Good luck!

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Question
Mia
Shepherd mix
2 Years
2 found helpful
Question
2 found helpful
Mia
Shepherd mix
2 Years

I need help to figure out how much I can cut off her nails? The tip on some of them seems almost hollow... i am trying to Dremel slowly but she has started limping and I want to know if there is anything else I can do. Please help..

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. Mia's nails are very long and need immediate attention. She is most likely in pain. I would take her to the vet - a technician and the vet can quickly get her nails to the proper length and then you can maintain them after that. I answered your second question as well - the nails are too long for Dremelling at this point. Good luck!

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