A dog gets a much-needed nail trimming from his loving owner. She chooses to use guillotine clippers because they are the most comfortable for her pup.

Nail Clipping Tips

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Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed is a vital part of the dog grooming process. This is particularly important because getting too long can cause health problems, such as torn nails and even broken toes.
For many people, though, the process can be intimidating, especially if their dog doesn’t like having its paws touched or held. There’s also the risk of injury by cutting too far down. But it doesn’t have to be a daunting process.

Tips on How to Clip Your Dog's Nails

Many dog owners are hesitant to clip their dog’s nails at home, but it is a relatively easy task with some practice. The most important thing is to make nail trimming a positive experience for your dog. Start slowly, letting them get used to the idea of you handling their feet. Once they are comfortable, follow these tips:

Touch Paws Often

As stated above, your first step should be getting your dog used to touching his feet. Without trimmers anywhere in sight, get your pup used to the sensation of having his legs and each toe touched. Associate the experience with affection or treats.

Start Young

If you trim your puppy’s nails starting at a young age, the dog will be better off in the future. The earlier you start this habit, the more your puppy will become accustomed to it.

Start Slow

Introduce the clippers in a relaxed way. Then just trim one toe, and it’s okay if it takes several days to finish them all at first.

Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement when clipping your dog’s nails, such as treats or petting them after their nails are trimmed.

Inspect Your Dog's Feet

Look for dirt and debris on the paw and between toes, and clean with a damp cloth to remove.

Keep the Fur on the Feet Trimmed

Grooming the paw fur can help prevent or reduce irritants, such as dirt, tar, rocks, and salt, which stick to your dog’s feet.

Cut the Tip at a Slight Angle

You want to look for the point where the nail begins to curve.

Avoid the Quick

This is the most nerve-wracking part of nail clipping for most dog owners. The quick is a vein in the nail, so if you cut it, your dog will bleed. For dogs with lighter-colored nails, you can see this pink area through the nail. But if your dog has darker nails, it can be harder to distinguish.

Keep Styptic Powder on Hand

Even professionals accidentally hit the quick on occasions, so keep your calm if it happens. Apply styptic powder to stop the bleeding.

Trim Often

Clip your dog’s nails regularly, ideally every two weeks, to keep them at a safe length.

Use an Emery Board After Clipping

Smooth those rough edges, and you’re done!

Use a Grooming Service

If you are too nervous about cutting your furry friend’s nails, consider using a professional dog groomer to accomplish the much-needed task.
In this picture, the owner of a small dog chooses to use a grinder tool to trim her furry friend’s nails. The grinder will gently file the nail down to a shorter length.

Nail Clipping Tools

There are various options of dog nail clipping tools available on the market. You should choose a set that works for you and your dog. Many people have different preferences, so it is essential to try out many types of trimming tools before deciding on the perfect one. The most critical factor is usually comfort, followed by price and durability. You should also consider the size of your dog’s nails when choosing a set- some are better suited for larger nails, while others are good for smaller ones. Ultimately, the best set is the one you and your dog are both comfortable with.

Grinder Trimmers: grinds the nails down instead of cutting them.

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Scissor Clippers: similar to human nail scissors, they work with the force of your hands to quickly trim the nail.

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Guillotine Clippers: has a hole that the nail is inserted into and then cut with a blade.

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What Happens if You Do Not Cut Your Dog's Nails

Nail care is more than just looking good. Unhealthy nails can cause pain and, in rare instances, trigger irreversible damage to your dog’s foot!
A dog’s nail is made up primarily of living pink tissue and hard outer material called the “shell.” The quick supplies blood to these nails, which can cause discomfort when they’re cut too short or injured. If you want your dog to have healthy nails and feet, they must be trimmed regularly. Overgrown quicks can cause pain in the animal’s limb, while short ones make maintenance easier for owners and pets!
Long nails are unsightly and reduce traction and pressure on the tendons, leading to deformed feet or even injured muscles! Some dogs will only need their nails cut once or twice per month because they wear them down naturally, but others may have more frequent trimming sessions.

Questions Commonly Asked About Dog Nail Trimming

Your dog’s nails should not touch the ground when standing on level ground, and you shouldn’t hear any scraping or tapping.
There are plenty of tools available. The safest ones are either a grinder or a Dremel; these trimming tools file the nail down effectively and safely.
Yes! If you notice your dog’s nails are getting too long, it can be uncomfortable to walk them, and they may even get hurt. Longer than usual nail beds affect how well a pup walks by distributing their weight correctly, which could lead to an injury.
Your favorite pet supply store should carry a selection of tools for you to choose from. You can also purchase them on Amazon; just be sure to check out the reviews before you purchase and review the return policy.

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