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

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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. 

The Bend the Nail Away Method

Effective
0 Votes
Nail Clipper
Dremel
Nail File
Step
1
Secure your pup
Start by securing your pup by having him stay or sit in place. Use a leash or a grooming harness if you need to.
Step
2
Lift and bend
Lift one paw and gently bend one of his nails away from the pad and the fur. This gives you room to bring in the trimmer and to see where you are cutting. If the nail has curved around the pad, try and push the pad away from the nail.
Step
3
Let the light shine in
If your dog has light-colored nails, hold the nail up to the light. This will help you to see where the quick ends. You need to avoid cutting into this area as it can be very painful for your pup and it will bleed.
Step
4
Parallel cuts
Place the cutter or trimmers on the nail so that they are situated parallel to the tip of the nail. Start by cutting small sections of the nail (especially if your dog has dark colored nails). Work your way slowly back to just in front of the quick. Do one paw at a time, until all of his nails sit just off the floor.
Step
5
File and finish
Using a file or an electric grinder, smooth out the tips of his nails. Remember not to cut into the quick. This last step will cut down on how badly you get scratched when he suddenly wants to play.
Step
6
Stay on track
Finally, get yourself on a regular trimming schedule so that you avoid this problem in the future.
Recommend grooming method?

The Over Time Method

Effective
0 Votes
Nail Clipper
Dremel
Nail File
Step
1
A relaxed start
Take a moment to get your dog into a calm, relaxed state and have him sit, stand, or lay down for you. Take all the time you need for this step as it will only make things worse if you let your dog become upset and agitated.
Step
2
Examination complete
Take a few moments to look at each toe and nail. Look for split nails, fungus, any signs of infection, or other paw damage.
Step
3
Start out small
Start out by cutting a small slice from each nail, don't forget the dew claw. Keep the cuts small each time to avoid cutting into the quick.
Step
4
Daily, daily
Each day, repeat the process by cutting a small slice from his nails. Do this until his nails are cut back to where they should be. Doing this allows the quick to recede so that you can cut his nails nice and short like they should be.
Step
5
Finish them off
There are two ways you can go about smoothing his nails so that they don't wreak havoc on your carpets, your skin, and anything else they touch. You can take him for a nice long walk down a cement sidewalk or you can file them down with a nail file or an electric grinder.
Recommend grooming method?

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