Many dog owners are afraid to groom their dog’s nails on their own, but we know that grooming salons can get quite expensive. So, to save some money, or simply because they don’t know better, many owners allow their dog’s nails to become overgrown.
It may not seem like a big deal, but overgrown nails can inhibit your dog’s ability to walk properly. It can also cause them pain. Therefore, it’s time to get over your fear and learn how to groom your dog’s nails. To help you out, we put together the best tips to have an easy and pain-free trimming session at home.
1: Make sure you have the right tools
Before trying to clip your dog’s nails, it’s important to make sure you are using the correct clippers. Using anything but dog clippers could result in broken clippers and an injured dog. Don’t use rusty, damaged, or old clippers either, as they could create uneven and jagged cuts.
Also, you should know that there are different clipper styles. For example, scissor clippers are generally recommended for trimming a larger dog’s nails, like a German Shepard while Guillotine clippers, on the other hand, are recommended for trimming small or medium dog’s nails, like a Beagle.
There are also some additional tools you can use to shape your dog’s nails. For example, a Dremel grooming tool will grind and smooth the nails. However, you have to be careful when using it because it can make nails hot.
And finally, if you want to give your dog the 5-star grooming treatment then check out this list of the best dog grooming clippers.
2: Train Your Dog
Many dog owners find nail clipping scary because they don’t think their dog will stay still or they’re afraid of doing something wrong. However, the chances of incorrectly clipping your dog’s nails decrease if you have prepared your dog for the experience. Training your dog to sit still for a clipping could take several months, but it’s worth the effort.
A key step to prepare your dog for nail clipping is to get him or her used to having their paws touched. This could take a while. Your dog may have to get used to you touching their leg before they trust you to touch their paw.
Next, practice holding your dog as if you are clipping their nails. This way he or she will get used to the position and will be less likely to squirm when you cut their nails. Remember to reward your dogs with treats when they cooperate.
Finally, get your dog used to nail clippers. Creating a positive link between your dog and clippers will make trimming their nails much easier. First put objects like erasers next to the nail, so your dog gets used to the nail being touched. Once your dog is comfortable with that, gently tap the nails with the clippers.
Next let your dog get used to the clipping sound. Stand away from your dog at first. As they get used to the sound you can move closer, until you are able to make the sound right above their nail. Once your dog allows this, you can start to groom their nails. You may only be able to clip on nail per day at first, but eventually your dog should allow you to clip their nails all in one sitting.
3: Tire Your Dog Out
Training your dog to associate nail clippers with rewards is not the only trick to getting him/her to stay still. If your dog still resists nail grooming, one tip is to tire him or her out. For this, take Fido for a walk before you trim their nails. If possible, take them for a longer walk than normal. If your dog is highly rambunctious, take him or her to a dog park. The goal is to completely tire them out. This way they won’t have the energy to fight you, which should make it easier to clip their nails in one sitting.
4: Learn To Identify the Quick
For those who don’t know, the quick is where the blood supply is in a dog’s nail, and clipping it will not only hurt, but it will cause your dog to bleed.No matter how much effort you put into training your dog, he or she won’t allow you to cut their nails if you cut the quick every time.
Locating the quick is easy if your dog has white nails sine it will look pink or red. All you have to do is avoid clipping too close to it. However, if your dog has black nails it will be more difficult to see the quick. Don’t let that scare you away though.
Unfortunately, you can’t locate the quick in black nails before cutting them. Therefore, training your dog to be comfortable with nail trimming is extremely important if he or she has black nails. This is because you will need to complete a series of smaller clips. As you clip the nails look for a gray dot, known as the pulp, in the middle of the nail. Once that appears you have reached the quick’s tip and you need to stop trimming.
However, always keep styptic powder on hand to stop the bleeding if you do accidentally clip the quick.
5: Trim Often
Even though grooming your dog’s nails may make you nervous, trimming them often will make it easier to maintain them. Some people recommend trimming them once a week but, if you walk your dog on concrete or other rough footpaths their nails won’t need trimming as often.
The main reason for trimming a dog’s nail often is to limit the quick’s growth. When a nail becomes long and overgrown, the quick will become longer as well. This makes it difficult to avoid clipping it. However, if you trim your dog’s nails often, the quick will recede. Only then will it be possible to trim the nails without causing bleeding.
And that’s about it! Keep these grooming tips in mind to keep Fido’s nails clean and healthy at all times.