Grooming your dog can be seen as one of the most daunting tasks an owner can undertake. And this is particularly true when it comes to cutting your dog’s nails. As a general rule of thumb, these things are best left to professional groomers or veterinarians.
Nonetheless, if your goal is to learn in order to be able to do it yourself, then this article will serve as a guide on the necessary steps you need to take in order to make this process pain free, literally! Read more about the best dog nail clippers!
When to Start
For dogs which don’t go on hard surfaces which help maintain the nail quite short, you will need to perform the trimming “ritual” possibly every week or every two weeks. Since most dogs consider their feet to be a sensitive spot, trimming will never be their favorite past-time activity.
Thus, start when they are young, easing your dog into this process which will continue for years and years to come.
Always remember to have some treats around, encouraging and rewarding your pup as you progress from one nail to another.
What to Avoid
Any veterinarian and groomer will tell that you should avoid cutting quick at all costs because this is a sensitive part containing blood vessels and nerves. However, before you start running for the hills, note that even professionals have done this before, accidentally. In light colored toenails, it’s easier spot the quick. However, in black or brown toenails it’s difficult to see through the nail and tell where the quick ends.
More important than dwelling on a mistake is being prepared to act fast. This means putting pressure on the bleeding, using a blood coagulator such as styptic powder (baking soda works just as well), and cleaning any residual blood. If you don’t have these two in your cupboards, try using cornstarch or flour. It’s impressive how easily you can purchase the items, and how inexpensive they are.
And by doing that, you will have the peace of mind that you are well-prepared in case of an error. However, always contact a veterinarian if you are unsure on how to proceed to book an emergency appointment.
What Smooth Trimming Should Look Like
1. Find the right dog clippers
Having the right accessories is vital for this process. Traditional dog nail clippers are easy to use and fast, however you have the unfortunately named guillotine style clippers as an alternative. Otherwise, you can make use of the Dremel dog nail grinder, which is an electric device that files the nails instead of trimming it. It’s considered much safer than the standard clipper, and so they are increasingly popular.
Nonetheless, I would suggest that as a newbie you should use small size clippers which can guarantee better control. Additionally, it is vital that you keep your tools sharp; otherwise, you may just end up breaking the nail instead of actually trimming it.
2. Ease your dog into it
As mentioned earlier, start when your pup is young, maybe after you’ve just adopted him. It will make it a lot easier for both of you to feel comfortable with this necessary chore, and it won’t require as much patience as trying to teach an adult dog.
A good technique is to hold your dog’s paw and to separate his little toes. Once you feel that they are comfortable in this position, touch the toenails, rubbing and squeezing so that the feeling becomes slightly familiar. Before using any clipper, show it to your dog and allow them to sniff it. Then, do the deed, and voilà, you’ve survived this first step!
3. How to be Safe and Quick
The first thing to remember is to not be nervous, and that’s because dogs sense fear and other emotions. Remember that even if you mistakenly cut the quick, your dog will ultimately forgive you, as long as you forgive yourself. This error should not define your relationship with your dog or your confidence.
And by regularly cutting your dog’s nails you will only need to trim a very small part, every 7 days or so. Additionally, you can always ask for help. It’s easier to have some around when you don’t trust yourself with such a delicate task. You could always ask for half an hour of your groomer’s time in order to get to grips with the process.
4. Bring Out the Big Guns
If you want to make the whole process alot easier and more enjoyable, bring along some treats. Also, don’t feel the need to trim all the nails at once. If you are dealing with an adult dog, it may not be realistic to complete the process in one go, and there is no need to force yourself or your pup.
Start small, one nail at a time, and come back to it later if your dog is stressed out by the whole experience. One technique which is helpful is holding the handle of the nail trimmers flat against the toe pad and cutting straight across the nail. This will make it highly unlikely that you will cut the quick or make the nail too short.
Alternatively, if you are more experience than a beginner is, aim to cut at a 45° angle, after carefully inspecting to see where the quick is. If you’re still unsure about what the quick is, look for the pink area within the nail where the nerves and blood vessels are. To help you understand better, think and look for the pink part beneath our nails.
If you have embarked on the journey of cutting your dog’s nails by yourself, the most important thing to remember is to educate yourself. And that’s because you will need to have a grooming regimen that you and your dog can both uphold. Without proper care and attention, your pet could be in pain and discomfort, and this can ultimately lead to unnecessary complications. Become more confident and comfortable by following the few steps which have been outlined above!