How to Trim Dog’s Nails – Groom Your Pet Without Drama

Whenever you notice that your toenails are getting a little long, it’s not a big deal – you can just go grab your toenail clippers, take a seat, and trim them in about five minutes! But dogs don’t have the same habit. Even though their toenails grow at about the same pace as us humans, you won’t see a dog taking a break from their routine to trim those toenails. Surprising, right? That’s why it falls on us pet owners to help them out! You have to trim your pet dog’s nails yourself or you have to take it to a professional.

You might be wondering, “Why bother trimming a dog’s nails?” Well, it’s not just for aesthetics – long nails can interfere with walking and cause pain! Experts recommend that we cut or clip our pet dog’s nails once every three or four weeks. With that said, what about how to trim your pet dog’s nails? Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as complicated as it may sound!

This dog loves grooming. How to trim dog's nails with enjoyment :)
Dog enjoys grooming. Source: facebook.com/animalslook

Step 0: Getting Them Ready for Grooming

First of all, the actual process of trimming nails is pretty simple – it’s your furry friend’s anxiety that can make it more difficult! Fortunately, if you can get your pup used to the procedure early, then they’ll be more amenable to it throughout the rest of their lives. This also means you won’t have to pay a dog groomer every time to do it for you!

To help get your dog comfortable with nail trimming, start by just touching their paws gently and with positivity, using treats and praise to reinforce the habit. Over time, your dog will come to see you holding their paws as harmless, which will make trimming the nails a lot easier!

Ready for trimming. Dog holding nail clipper in mouth.
Dog holding nail clipper in mouth. Source: shutterstock.com/image-photo/dog-holding-nail-clipper-mouth-needs-629177486

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

A typical nail trimming session requires you to have a few things on hand. One item is the dog nail clipper itself – you can buy special scissors, guillotine clippers, or grinders that are made just for canines. You may also want to have some blood clotting powder on hand in case there’s a little bleeding.

Some people also swear by having a dog ramp (like this one: https://chasingtails.store/products/dog-ramp-for-bed) – it can help get your pet into position while you’re elevating their paws. Last but not least, if your dog is still acting a bit squeamish, it may help to have their favorite treats or some peanut butter nearby and ready to give them!

Step 2: Hold the Dog’s Paw while

Pick up your dog’s paw. You want your thumb on the toe pad of their first toe, and your forefinger on the skin above that toe’s nail. While holding the paw firmly underneath the nail, push the top of your pointer finger forward to expose the entire nail. Now, you’re ready to clip it.

Step 3: Clip the Nail

With your trimmer in hand, carefully clip across the very tip of the nail. it’s important not to press too far up toward the toe – just as people can bleed if they trim the nails too far, dogs have an area in their nails known as “the quick” that houses blood vessels. If you nick or cut this inner part of the nail, the dog’s toe will bleed, and it will be painful. Is the dog squirming and fussing when you hold their paw? Don’t forget to offer praise and distract them with peanut butter or a treat. You can also try doing just one nail in a session to help the dog get more accustomed to this strange new ritual.

Step 4: Repeat With the Other Toes

Congratulations, you’ve successfully clipped the dog’s first nail! Now, go around the foot and clip the rest of the nails – and don’t forget the dewclaws (these are the ones found on the inner part of a paw). Then, repeat this same process on the other three paws. Before long, the job is all done – and your pet is looking dapper!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get my dog to let me trim his nails?

Positive reinforcement is your best bet. Hold their paws and praise them when they let you do it without fussing. Then, praise them for letting you trim their nails, and consider giving them a treat for a job well done!

What angle do you cut a dog’s nails?

Try to cut straight across, and not too close to the toe.

What can I give my dog so I can trim his nails?

You can offer your dog their favorite treat or maybe some peanut butter, but it’s not safe for you to administer a sedative or drug. If your dog absolutely refuses to cooperate, you should hire a professional groomer.

Final Note: How to Trim Your Pet Dog’s Nails

It may take a few sessions for you to get used to how to trim your pet dog’s nails, but the real challenge is making sure the dog gets used to it! At first, it’s okay to go at a pace that your pup is comfortable with – just keep trying so they get the idea that this is a non-negotiable. It’ll be better for their health and yours!

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