Although clipping your dog’s nails can be left to the vet or a professional groomer, you can certainly get the job done at home. Follow these 4 steps to clip your dog’s nails safely and effectively:
#1: Know When to Trim
Hearing your dog’s nails clicking on the floor is a good sign that it’s time for a nail clipping. Your dog’s nails should be even with the paw pad, and anything beyond that should be trimmed. Nails that are too long can put unnecessary stress on your dog’s paw by forcing weight onto the back of the pad. Long nails can also scratch skin, furniture, and other objects.
#2: Get the Right Tools
Purchase a nail trimmer specifically designed for dogs. The right tool will help avoid accidentally cutting into the “quick” of the nail, which can be painful and bleed profusely.
#3: Study the Nail
Many owners are afraid to trim their dog’s nails because they don’t want to hurt him. To help ease your fears, familiarize yourself with the anatomy of the nail and exactly how to complete a clipping before getting started for the first time.
Inside the center of the nail is the “quick,” which is easily visible through clear, white nails. You definitely do not want to cut into the quick, as it can be painful for your dog. If you inadvertently cut into the quick, it will bleed profusely, so be sure to have a blood-clotting product on hand, such as silver nitrate.
#4: Trim Carefully
To trim the nails on the front feet, make sure your dog is sitting. Then, lift and hold one foot about 6 inches off the ground and start trimming. Cut the nail below the quick at a 45 degree angle. To trim the nails on the back feet, have your dog in the standing position. Lift the foot about 6 inches off the ground, and trim. Again, be careful to avoid the quick.
Once you get used to it, cutting your dog’s nails should be as easy as cutting your own. With time and practice, you should be able to trim his nails quickly and easily, with no fear of hurting your dog.