How To Trim Your Dog’s Nails

by Connie on February 21, 2012

Caution:  Nail trimming can be dangerous if you are inexperienced with handling animals.  If in doubt, it is recommended that you seek help from a veterinary professional or a groomer.

The perfect time to trim you pet’s nails is after a dog bath.  This is the order in which most groomers prefer to complete their dog grooming procedures.  Keeping your dog’s nails at an appropriate length will prevent them from getting snatched and injured.  It will also enable your pet to walk better, as dog’s with overgrown nails experience quite a lot of pain.  Nails that grow too long can eventually curl up into the skin and cause an infection.  If you’d like to give nail trimming a try yourself follow these 3 easy steps.

1.  Preparation

You will need the following items to successfully clip your dog’s nails;

  • Appropriate sized dog nail clippers.
  • Quick Stop – In case your dog’s nails bleed.
  • A matt to place on the ground (if you have a big dog) or on a table (for smaller dogs).

It will also be helpful to have someone to help you restrain your pet so that you can complete the process a lot more efficiently and quickly.

2.  Restraining Techniques

First it is necessary to have your dog lie down on his side.  Next the helper will need to place his left elbow on the dog’s neck and grab the leg that is closest to the ground with that same arm.  The right elbow needs to be placed on the flank and the bottom leg needs to be held.  Holding the two bottom legs helps prevent the dog from getting up; in the situation that the dog does become uncooperative it is necessary to apply some pressure with your elbows and forearm.

3.  Trimming the Nails

White Nails

Clipping white nails is usually easier to do than trimming black nails; this is mainly because the “quick” is highly visible.  The “quick” is the internal part of the nail that closely represents a vein.  When clipping white nails it is important to start at the tip and work your way up; cut just before where the “quick” is visible.  Follow the same procedure for each nail.

Black Nails

Trimming black nails is a little trickier, but not impossible to do.  One tip that can be very useful for clipping black nails is to only cut small amounts at a time.  At first you will be able to see a small white circle in the center of the nail; this is the “quick” starting to show.  When the dot becomes black that means that you are very close to the “quick” and the clipping should be stopped at that point.

** Tips for Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

  • Hold your dog’s paw with one hand and clip with the other; this will prevent you from accidentally injuring your dog in case he moves all of a sudden.
  • Take the opportunity to thoroughly scan you dog’s leg and make sure that he has clean paws.  Debris and other small objects often get lodged into dog’s skin and cause infection.  Most of the time these injuries are not noticed because we rarely take the time to check our dog’s feet.

When nail trimming is too stressful on you or your dog it is best to have it done by an experienced professional.  For those that do not have trouble clipping their dog’s nails, it can be part of a regular dog grooming routine.  Clipping your own dog’s nails can save you money, and best of all give you an opportunity to bond with your companion.

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