Proper nail care isn’t simply a matter of aesthetics – your
dog’s nails can contribute to their overall health. If left unclipped, they can
become overgrown which not only makes walking uncomfortable but can also lead
to long-term health issues.
If you don’t know how to clip dog nails at home, don’t worry!
We’ve put together a list of tried and true tips that will show you how easy it
is to tackle clipping your dog’s nails.
Get them comfortable
having their paws handled
Having their nails trimmed can be a stressful experience for
dogs, in part because they may not be used to having their paws handled.
Especially if you have a new puppy, take the time to regularly handle their
paws and nails. While you do this, you can also show them the clippers so that
they can investigate and become familiar with the sight and smell of them.
While puppies will likely become comfortable with this process more quickly,
with patience older dogs can get used to it as well!
Take it slow
While puppies may be comfortable having their nails trimmed
after a quick investigation of the clippers, older dogs may require things to
go a bit more slowly. To ensure that they don’t develop a fear of having their
nails clipped, it can be helpful to ease them into the process over the span of
- Day 1: Let your pup investigate the clippers, offering lots of their favorite Freshpet treats to create a positive association.
- Days 2-3: Lightly touch
the clippers to their nails to get them used to the feeling, but don’t attempt
to do any clipping.
- Days 4-5: Start to apply
light pressure to their nails using the clippers, without actually trimming, so
they can start to get used to the sensation.
- Day 6: Trim one or
two nails, giving plenty of Freshpet treats throughout the process.
- Day 7+: If trimming
the first few nails goes well, you can keep trimming a few nails each day until
your pup builds up the tolerance to have them all done in one go.
If you feel like they need a bit more time, repeat the process
for days 1 to 6 until they’re fully comfortable.
Use the right tools
When it comes to choosing tools to trim your pup’s nails, which
tool is “right” really depends on your dog and their preference. There are
three main types of clippers, each of which has their own benefits:
- Guillotine-style dog nail clippers: These clippers
are designed with a small hole which you guide your pup’s nail through then
squeeze the handle to trim the excess nail. This style of dog nail clipper is
best for small or medium-sized dogs, as it usually it’s not strong enough to
trim very large nails.
- Scissor-style dog nail clippers: These clippers
look like a pair of scissors but with a small indent in the blade so you know
where to place the nail. These are ideal for large breeds as they easily apply
enough force to trim very thick nails.
- Dog nail grinders: Nail grinders are
similar to electric sanders in that they use a small rotating section of
abrasive material to grind down your pup’s nail. These can be used on nails of
any size and often come with a nail guard that stops the paw from getting too
close to the spinning part of the tool.
Some pet parents choose to use just one of these options, while
others like to combine multiple types for different steps in the nail trimming
process – it all depends on how you want to clip your dog’s nails!
Know how much to trim
When it comes to clipping your dog’s nails, shorter isn’t always
better. In the center of your dog’s nail is a fleshy area called the “quick”,
which has nerves and a blood vessel running through it. If cut, it can be very
painful and cause quite a bit of bleeding. The ideal point to cut is between 3
and 4 millimeters away from the quick – if you’re not sure where that is your
veterinarian or groomer will be able to show you.
In the event that you do cut the quick, stay calm and grab your
pet first aid kit. Using a non-adhesive bandage, apply pressure to the nail to
stop the bleeding. If bleeding persists, call your veterinarian as you may need
to take them into the clinic for assistance.
Once you have the right tools and know-how to cut your dog’s nails, it’s time to put them to use! While some dogs will patiently sit on your lap or table while they have their nails trimmed, others need a bit of distraction. To make the nail cutting process a bit more smooth – and fun – for everyone, try making use of a silicone wall mat. You can apply a layer of your pup’s favorite Freshpet roll and let them lick it off while you get to clipping.
By following these tips, you can say goodbye to the noisy
overgrown nails on your hard flooring and hello to happy, healthy paws!