The No Fear Way To Trim Your Dog’s Nails
Unless your pet is a very active outdoor dog his nails will need to be trimmed on a regular basis – anywhere from once a week to once a month.
Nail trimming and grooming are activities that are often feared by both dogs and owners. The best way to calm your fears is to ask your Vet or a professional groomer to train you in the proper techniques for nail trimming. The best way to calm your dog’s fears is to train it from a very young age to be comfortable with the process.
If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails your vet or groomer will be happy to do this regularly. And often dogs do not need their nails trimmed if they go for frequent walks on footpaths or concrete. Just watch those dew claws (thumbs).
TYPES OF NAIL TRIMMERS
There are many different types of nail trimmers. Buy good quality trimmers that are sharp and designed for the correct size dog. They should be concave at the cutting edge, to avoid crushing the nail. Blunt or poor quality trimmers will split the nail. If the nails aren’t that long but are sharp you can simply file them or use a pumice stone to take off the tips. In the US it is common to use a dremel to slowly burr down the nails and this can be more gradual and safer than clipping.
HOW TO TRIM THE NAILS
The first step is to get some treats, make the whole experience positive and don’t feel like you need to be a hero and trim all the nails at once. Start with one, reward and come back later if you or your pet is nervous. One technique that helps is to hold the handle of the nail trimmers flat against the toe pad and cut straight across the nail, so that the nail will sit just above the ground. This technique makes it extremely unlikely you will cut the nails too short.
To get a shorter cut than the previous method, aim to cut at a 45° angle, after visualising the quick. The quick is the pink area within the nail where the nerves and blood vessels are, similar to the area underneath our nails.
Nail Trimming Diagram
A basic guide to trimming your dog’s nails
WORKING WITH BLACK NAILS
If your dog has black nails, look at the underside of the nail and you will notice that towards the tip the nail separates out into a triangular shape with two outer ‘walls’. At this point, there is no quick and it is safe to cut the tip off. Otherwise use the technique of simply cutting straight across from the pad, rather than attempting to cut up at a 45° angle. Another trick of the trade is to apply gentle pressure with the nail trimmers without actually cutting where you think you need to cut. If your dog reacts to the pressure, most likely you are too close to the quick and you will need to more the clippers further down the nail.