Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is essential for their health and comfort. Overgrown nails can splay Fido’s toes, placing painful pressure on their foot and leg structure. Over time, overgrown nails can dig into a dog’s pads, injure their tendons, and even deform their feet. While no dog enjoys having their nails trimmed, there are ways you can perform this task yourself with as little drama as possible.
If you have a puppy, get them accustomed to you gently handling their feet and nails at a young age. If you adopted an older dog or just did not start this process earlier in Rover’s life, it’s not too late! Start gently handling their feet and nails in a non-grooming situation today. You can make this even more pleasant for both of you by allowing your pooch to lick a little peanut butter from a spoon while you handle their feet and nails.
Some dogs will sit in your lap or lie down while you trim their nails, while others require some type of restraint because of violent resistance to the process. Depending on your experience and comfort level (as well as your dog’s breed), you may not be able to trim your pooch’s nails on your own. You may need the help of a veterinarian or a groomer.
- Dog-specific nail trimmers (these come in several types such as grinders, guillotine-styles, and scissors)
- Styptic or other clotting powder (in case you accidentally cut too much and Fido bleeds)
The Basic Process
- Pick up one paw.
- Gently and firmly put your thumb on one of the toe pads and your index finger on the top where the skin sits above the nail. There shouldn’t be any dog fur in your path.
- Extend the nail by gently pushing your thumb up and backward on your pooch’s toe pad while you gently push your index finger forward.
- Clip just the nail tip in a straight across manner.
- Do not clip past the nail’s curve, because this is where the “quick” is located. The quick has blood vessels. Hence, your canine companion will suffer pain and bleed if you hit the quick. The quick is the pink area of the nail for dogs with lighter nails, while the quick of dogs with darker nails looks more like a white ring.