Can You Use Dog Nail Clippers on Cats?

labrador cut nails owner grass
(Last Updated On: February 16, 2021)

According to APPA, more people are likely to own dogs as compared to cats. In the United States alone, about 37 %- 47% of households in have a dog, while 30% – 37%  have a cat. Obviously besides the usual tasks of feeding and bathing, there’s other more tricky tasks when it comes to looking after our pets.

There’s grooming, de-worming, tick removal but none is as tricky as nail clipping! While essential for the health and even safety of our pets, our pets don’t always agree or enjoy the process. In this article, we discuss more about clipping your pet’s nails.

Read our post here that details the best nail clippers for cats and dogs.

Read on to learn about:

  • Why you need to clip your pet’s nails?
  • What will happen if you do not?
  • Hiring professional help
  • Which types of clippers can you use? Hint: There are 3 types, by the way!

Why do you need to clip your pet nails?

Overgrown_nailsThere are a number of reasons that you need to clip your dog or cat’s nails. The most important of them are:

  • Nails, if left unclipped, can grow pretty long. They can break causing a painful condition for your dog or cat. It can also result in infection and may even lead to loss of limb for an animal in extreme cases.
  • Longer nails can lead to skeletal damage due to their irregular shape and gait.
  • Dogs and cats are playful animals and love to associate with physical touch of their owners. The nails are naturally sharp and can inflict painful scratches to an owner, even in playful circumstances. Moreover, in the case of an animal getting aggressive for some reason, the nails can be even more dangerous to people around him. Having your dog or cat nails clipped can save the owner from such infectious infections.

What Happens If Their Nails Are not Clipped?

  • The first and most important factor is the amount of discomfort your dog or cat will feel. If you have ever owned a cat, you would know that cats love to claw hard on tree trunks or solid objects. (cat declawing cost) This is how a cat tries to get rid of her long nails when she starts feeling uncomfortable. For a household cat, such acts will have your household items deeply scratched If you don’t opt to have it clipped.
  • Longer nails mean the blood supply lines (called quik) inside the nail also extend. This extension will result in bleeding when you decide to get such long nails clipped. This will be painful for your dog or cat and the animal would associate the act with pain, making it aggressive when you attempt the clipping next time.

Can Longer Nails Cause Infection?

Yes for sure they do. Nails have a natural tendency to curl when they grow longer. This inward curling can puncture the paw pad of your animal and cause pain or infection.

How Quick Do Nails Grow?

The growth rate of cat and dog nail is variable depending upon their age. Generally they grow quicker when the pet is in the first year of their life.

The rate slows down with age. Purely from the clipping point of view, a cat should be ideally clipped every two weeks and clipping time for dog nails is generally a month.

How To Use Pet Nail Clippers?

Always follow these tips when you clip your cat or dog’s nails:

  • Remember and understand that clipping can be unpleasant for your dog or a cat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t strike them as the most natural thing! It’s most important to make your pet feel as comfortable as possible during the process. If you try rushing it, your pet may get frightened and aggressive.
  • When planning to clip its nails for the first time, never attempt the clipping of all the toes in one go. Trim a couple and reward the animal with some favorite treat or activity. This will make your pet associate clipping with some nice treat or game. You will find that your dog or cat would be eager for nail clipping next time.
  • If it is the first time you are trimming a dog or cat nails, spend a few days handling its feet to make it feel comfortable.
  • Just hold your cat or dog’s paws and gently caress his toes and nails for some time. This puts him at ease of you handling his paws/nails.
  • Offer him his favorite treat as soon as you release his limb.
  • This procedure needs to be repeated a couple of times every day till you find your pet not resisting at all.
  • As soon as you find your dog comfortable with paw handling you can move onto actual clipper contact. DON’T attempt cutting the nail in the very first attempt.
  • Just use the clipper and touch your pet with it. Let your pet have the feel of it and know that it’s not a threatening object.
  • With time and a few more clippings, you will find your dog or cat more comfortable with nail clipping. So be patient!

Hiring A Professional

Some pet owners wonder if they should go for professional groomers or have a DIY at home. It’s simply a matter of choice, ease and convenience. Typically, a professional clipper will cost you roughly around $10 and a visit to the outlet. If you opt for doing it at your own then you need to own the right clipper for that, a lot of patience and lots of practice!

Which types of clipper that you need to use? 

This totally depends upon the level of comfort of the animal and owner. Generally there are 3 types of clippers known as guillotine style, scissors style and pliers’ style. Styptic powder and metal hand file are additional tools to help you in the process. Obviously these tools are specifically designed for the purpose and make the process less straining for the animal and handler.

Also read my dog nail grinder article


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