We all know it. Dogs just don’t like having their nails trimmed. Oh sure, there’s that one dog who is a martyr and suffers through, but it’s not something they look forward to as much as their owners look forward to pedicures. Keeping your pooch’s paws trimmed keeps him from scratching you or the furniture, keeps him from click-clicking across the hardwood floor when they’re long, and keeps him from breaking his nails. Whenever the nails start to curl downward hanging over the paw pad, it should be clipped. The rear claws are often shorter and don’t require as much trimming. Don’t forget to trim the dew claws that are located on the inner surface of the paw (if applicable). Some breeds of dogs have 2 sets of dew claws on their hind feet.
It’s recommended that you get your dog used to a routine of your cutting his toenails when he’s young. If it becomes a task you start early and do regularly, he won’t grow to be afraid of it. You might have to start with cutting the claws on one paw at a time until he learns that you’re not going to hurt him.
If you’ve never trimmed a pet’s nails before, there are a couple of things you might want to do to prepare beforehand. There are videos that you can buy or that you can access via internet that will demonstrate the proper way to trim a dog’s toenails. Books may offer some good photos and information as well. You might want to ask your veterinarian to show you how to clip your dog’s nails next time you’re in the office so that you’ll know what to do at home. Understanding the anatomy of a dog’s paw is also important so that you’ll know how far back to trim. The quick of the dog’s nail is in the center of the toenail and contains the blood and nerve supply for the nail. While it’s usually easy to see as a pinkish area underneath white toenails, some dogs have black toenails and it’s harder to see the quick. You don’t want to cut into the quick! When cutting darker colored claws, you’ll want to make a series of small cuts rather than one big cut so that you’re careful about how far you are cutting into the nail.
Place your dog lying down on a table or the countertop while trimming his nails. This keeps him from wiggling around or trying to run away and gives you good access and visibility to trim. If your dog is too wiggly, enlist the aid of a friend and him or her hold the dog in their arms while you make quick short clips of their nails.
Because nail trimming is something that dog owner’s fear, they have invented a number of different tools to use for this task. The latest is a rotary nail grinder that lets you grind your dog’s nails down to the length you want them to be. When using a pet nail trimmer, use a 45-degree angle when cutting the nail. Do not use human toenail clippers to trim doggie toenails.
Face it, at some point you’re going to accidentally hit the nail’s quick and it’ll startle you because it can bleed rather profusely. It’s okay; don’t panic. You can either keep silver nitrate on hand for just such an occasion or you can dip the dog’s paw in flour and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. The flour acts as a coagulant. Be sure to keep your voice calm and reassure your pet that everything’s going to be okay.