Every dog mamma or papa has to go through this stressful grooming session — cutting the nail of your dog. Often times, your beloved pup suddenly becomes angry and ferocious just by having a glimpse at the trimmer!
And you know the rest — you’re running around the house chasing after your dog!
Dog nail cutting shouldn’t be that hard, should it?
Yes, it’s quite hard especially if your doggo is a bit grouchy. But you need to do it as nail cutting is an essential part of his/her hygiene and health. Poorly maintained nails can hamper the overall quality of life for your doggo.
So, let’s take a deeper dive at the issue at hand with a detailed step-by-step instruction on how to trim dog nails.
Dog Nail Cutting — Is It Even Necessary?
Yes! A big-time yes!
Dogs in the wild regularly scratch their nails to keep them sharp and trimmed. You can often find them scratching a log or tree.
But your dog doesn’t always have a tree or log at its disposal, right? Also, many domestic dogs don’t develop such behavior.
If gets unchecked, the nails get too long to the point of causing pain and discomfort. Also, the overgrown nails get under the paw. As a result, your dog sits or stands awkwardly. Such uneven posture can lead to spine-related health issues.
Plus, with overgrown nails, dogs have difficulty walking. And, it leaves the chance of your dog falling into some nasty accident.
Moreover, as the nails get long, they have a tendency to bend. As a result, dirt accumulates inside the nails, or worse, nails grow back to the pad. Such issues can lead to infections.
How to Trim Dog Nails? A Step-by-Step Guide
Now that we’re on the same page about dog nail cutting, you need to know how to cut dog nails properly.
You might be thinking — “What’s so hard about it? I’ll take a clipper and cut off the nails!”
Dog nails have a part called “quick” that contains nerve endings to transmit information back to the brain. If you accidentally cut the quick, it would bleed and cause immense pain to your dog.
You can identify the quick as a reddish hue from the exterior. Keep a safe distance (at least 2mm) from the quick while cutting.
If you follow these instructions, and you too can do professional-level grooming.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
Here’s the thing, cutting the nail of your dog is far from an easy task, especially if your dog is a bit jumpy. Even the calmest of the dogs tend to get agitated while nail cutting.
Have these tools by your side —
- Dog nail clippers or scissors
- A piece of soft cloth or towel
You can use either of the cutting tools — clippers or scissors. Rather than using any kind of clippers or scissors, it’s better to use specialized tools designed for dogs (or cats).
The flashlight will help you see through the translucent nails. Especially, the flashlight becomes really handy cutting the darker nails.
Finally, you’d want the wrap your hand (the one used for holding your dog). Most dogs hate when you try to mess with their nails!
Step 2: Figure Out the Cutting Range
Before you jump into the action, you should figure out the proper cutting range. This step is extremely crucial if you’re trying to cut your dog’s nail for the first time.
That flashlight will come in handy in this step.
Use the flashlight to see through the nails first. You should be able to see the ‘quick’ — the red blood supply area.
** Keep at least 2mm distance from the quick **
Also, you should make the cuts parallel to the base of the nail.
Avoid making angular cuts.
Step 3: Position Yourself and Your Doggo
You need to restrain the dog in a fixed position. Things might get really ugly your dog is wiggling around while the nail cutting process.
Here’s how you can do it.
Sit your dog on a tall table or even a dog grooming table and get yourself by the side of the table. Now, use one hand (left one if you’re right-handed) to apply gentle pressure on the neck of your dog and hold the paw in one place. This will prevent the dog from lifting the head and make him/her stay calm.
Do NOT use too much pressure!
Then, use your right hand (if you’re right-handed) for the cutting tool.
I know this step is a bit tricky and takes a couple of tries to perfect. Things become much easier if you have a helping hand. Also, you should pet your doggo up before the grooming session. Try anything that calms him/her.
Step 4: Cut It!
Once you have identified the cutting range and restrained your dog in a relaxed position, start cutting the nails.
Don’t rush but try to be quick.
Continue the same steps for every nail. As you finish off the cutting process, your dog will go from the grouchy mode to ‘happy doggo’ mode in no time!
Step 5: It’s Treat Time!
After every nail cutting session, you should reward your dog with his/her favorite treat. As you know, offering treat is a positive behavior promoter.
After a couple of sessions of ‘cutting and treating,’ your dog will understand that nail cutting is a positive act and will become calmer and calmer in every session.
“Oh No, I’ve Cut My Dog’s Nail and It’s Bleeding!”
Yes, it’s a nightmare — for you and your dog!
Don’t worry. Accidents can occur even after being very, very cautious.
The first thing you need to do is stop panicking. You need to stay calm and follow a few steps to tend the wound.
The bleeding should stop naturally so there’s nothing to worry about. However, you need to prevent dirt from getting into the wound. Dirt accumulation might cause an infection.
You can use silver nitrate as it has anti-infective properties. Most pet shops have silver nitrate applicators or styptic pencils. Use the black end of the styptic pencil on the tip of the bleeding nail.
But let me warn you — dogs hate the styptic pencils more than nail cutting.
The bleeding should stop within 5 to 10 minutes. If it continues to bleed after 10 minutes, immediately contact your vet.
Yes, dog nail cutting is one of the most hectic grooming issues. But you need to do it anyway for a better quality of life for your beloved pet. If things are too much for you to handle alone, you should ask a friend for help or take him/her to a professional groomer.
If you have further questions regarding the issue, let me know in the comment section. I’ll try my best to help you out.