Do you hear that clicking sound when your dog walks on a hard surface? That means he’s overdue for a nail clipping.

Keeping your dogs nails trimmed is a vital part of the dog-grooming process. This is particularly important because if they get too long, it can cause health problems, such as torn nails and even broken toes.

For a lot of 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. Here are some tips on how to clip your dog’s nails.

  • Get your dog used to having his feet touched
    Without trimmers anywhere in sight, get your pup used to the sensation of having his legs and each individual toe touched. Associate the experience with affection or treats.
  • Inspect your dog’s feet
    Look for dirt and debris on the paw and between toes.
  • Keep the fur on the feet trimmed
    This can help prevent or reduce irritants, such as dirt, tar, rocks, and salt, which stick to your dog’s feet.
  • Start slow
    Introduce the clippers in a relaxed way. Then just trim one toe. It’s okay if it takes several days to get them all done at first.
  • Cut the tip at a slight angle
    You want to look for the point where the nail begins to curve.
  • Avoid the quick
    For most dog owners, this is the most nerve-wracking part of nail clipping. 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.
  • Use an emery board after clipping
    Smooth those rough edges, and you’re done!

Is your dog too fearful to get her nails clipped? These tips should help.

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