Dog needs their nails clipped just like you and I do. Without maintaining your dog's nails, they can grow long enough that dew claws grow in a curve and can end up digging into the skin on your dog’s legs. Nails on toes can split or become so long that they get snagged on carpets or vegetation. In addition, long toenails can interfere with your dog’s tractions on slippery floors.
The problem is, when clipped with clippers, it is possible to cut the nails too short, cutting the quick of the nail, which is very painful. Some owners and dogs are extremely anxious about the nail clipping process. If a dog has had his nail cut too short in the past, the dog can be anxious and uncooperative having his nails cut, which can make the job difficult and increase the owner's discomfort clipping nails. There are alternatives to using clippers to cut your dog nails which include nail files and Dremel type tools. Dogs that are active outside and are frequently on hard terrain or able to dig often do not need their nails shortened as often as dogs that do not have outdoor access. Working dogs and farm dogs may rarely need to have their nails addressed, as they are shortened naturally from activity.
Friction from filing can result in heat--be careful tools do not overheat.
Even while filing nails, it is possible to shorten nails so that the quick of the nail is compromised. Be aware of where your dog’s nail quick is located. It is easier to see on light colored nails then dark or black nails.
Get your dog used to the sensation of filing. Start slowly, file one nail at a time and only for short periods of time to prevent creating a negative association.
Get your dog used to the sound of motorized tools before using them so as not to frighten or startle your dog.
Read all instructions for motorized tools prior to use to ensure safe operation.
Restrain or have an assistant hold your dog if he is liable to move during the process, to prevent injury.
If you or your dog is uncomfortable with the use of nail cutters, the good news is there are alternatives. Many pet owners prefer the use of a motorized nail file or Dremel tool that is often less stressful for dogs, as it eliminates the pinching sensation associated with clippers. Manual filing is time-consuming, but for an extremely anxious dog, it may be a viable alternative to clippers or motorized instruments. Remember that your dog needs maintenance of his nails just like you do, and that torn and split nails can result in pain and injury or infection.