Cutting your dog’s nails is stressful—for both him and you! You know you have to do it, but you’re so afraid of hurting your baby that you may tend to put it off. We’re going to banish that fear once and for all by teaching you how to cut a dog’s nails.
Step #1: Play with His Feet
If your dog is full grown, this step may not work and may not be possible. However, if your dog is a puppy, we strongly suggest that you play with his paws. One of the hardest challenges with cutting his nails is that he hates his feet being touched—it freaks him out! But if you’ve played with his paws ever since he was a puppy, that action will become normal and hopefully nothing for him to be weirded out by.
While he’s laying down, instead of petting him, gently massage each of his paws. If he doesn’t like his paws being massaged, start of by simply holding his paws with a little pressure, then gradually build up to massasing him.
Here’s a great video guide on how to do this:
Step #2: Get Supplies Ready
Before you sit down to clip your dogs nails, ensure you have all the necessary supplies ready and out.
Nail Clippers- There’s a few different types of nail clippers you can purchase and many brands to choose from. If you’re purchasing them in a pet store, ask the sales associate the differences and what he or she would recommended for your dog’s breed. If you’re purchasing them online, be sure to check reviews. Remember: You’re going to want quality clippers for the easiest cut possible.
Clotting Powder– If you cut the nail too short (easy to do) then your dog’s nail will start bleeding. To stop it from bleeding, you’ll need to use some sort of clotting powder. You can purchase styptic powder or even cornstarch will work.
Treats or a Bone– If you choose to distract your dog with something yummy, make sure you have it on hand first.
Nail File- After cutting, his nails will likely have ridged edges.
Step #3: Catch Him When He’s Sleepy
If you can tell your dog is hyper, excited and wants to play, it’s not the right time to clip his nails. It will make it even harder. Instead, catch him when he’s tired. This could be after he eats, after a long walk or play session, or just around the time when he usually sleeps.
Step #4: Identify the Quick
When you choose the first nail to cut, you must identify where the quick is. The quick is basically a tube inside your dog’s nail that contains blood and a nerve. Since he will start bleeding if you cut the quick, you will want to cut the nail BEFORE the quick starts.
If your dog’s nail is white, you will probably see a pink part. That is the quick. If your dog’s nails are darker, it will be a bit more difficult. In this case, some experts suggest that you put the clippers onto the pad of your dog’s paw and angle it 30 to 45 degrees and clip. To see a demonstration of this, watch the video below.
Step #5: Cut the Nail
You may choose to have someone hold your dog if he’s too excited. If not, firmly grasp his paw and use the clippers to cut before the quick. If you’re afraid of cutting the quick, you may choose to only clip a little bit at a time.
Continue with each nail.
Step #6: Use Clotting Powder (if necessary)
If you accidently cut the quick, compress the wound with a towel of some sort. Next, pour some clotting powder into the palm of your hand and dip your dog’s nail into it. Some people also run the nail through a bar of soap to stop clotting. This should stop the bleeding. If bleeding does not stop, consult a vet.
Step #7: File Nail
Use a nail file to smooth down your dog’s nails. File until there are no ridged edges.
Step #8: Praise and Reward
Having her nails cut is stressful for her, too! Be sure to reward her after you’re finished. Tell her how good she was and give her a treat or special bone. This will make her more likely to calm down next time.
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