When it comes to canine care, most dog owners understand the importance of…
- Feeding their pup a quality dog food for optimal health.
- Choosing safe toys to provide their dog with stimulation and fun.
- Providing their canine companion with daily exercise.
- Taking their dog for routine wellness visits to the vet.
- Creating a safe environment at home for their dog to enjoy.
However, there’s one aspect of canine care that often gets overlooked…nail care!
There are so many reasons dog’s nails don’t get properly taken care of. For example, some people simply don’t think about their dog needing a puppy pedicure every few months. Or perhaps the idea of cutting your dog’s nails is worrisome and you fear you might accidentally hurt your dog.
Fortunately, taking care of your dogs nails doesn’t have to be complicated or scary. Keep reading to discover my advice on how to properly care for and cut your dog’s nails, plus some suggestions on my favorite nail cutting tools and products!
Why Your Dog’s Nails Need to be Maintained
Just like human nails, dog nails are constantly growing.
You might be thinking… “Then why do wild dogs not have problems with overgrown nails?”
The reality is that wild dogs are constantly roaming and walking across surfaces like hard ground and rock that naturally file their nails as they move around. On the other hand, domesticated dogs often spend a lot of their time napping on the couch.
Knowing this, it makes sense that dog owners will have to spend a little more time managing their pup’s constantly growing nails.
How to Safely Trim Your Dog’s Nails
Now that you know it’s 100% necessary to trim your dog’s nail, the million dollar question is, how do you do it?
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide…
Step 1: Pick up a paw and hold it firmly. Gently press down on the paw paw to extend the nails and get a good look at how long your pup’s nails are.
Step 2: Analyze the length of the nail. You need to be careful of how much you plan to clip as dogs have a pocket of blood vessels (called “the quick”) right behind the curve of their nail. If your dog had white nails, you can easily see where the nail starts to turn pink. Do NOT cut past the curve. If your dog has black nails, it’s impossible to tell where the quick is, so it’s even more important to make sure you don’t cut too far down your pup’s nail. Nail grinders are often a good solution if you’re worried about cutting. We’ll talk more about my favorite products down below, so keep reading!
Step 3: Continue trimming the rest of your dog’s nails (including dew claws if your dog has them) until all the nails have been taken care of. It might seem scary the first time or two,but with a little practice you’ll get the hang of it quickly!
Training Tips for Easily Nail Cutting
Now you know how to cut nails…but what if your dog isn’t a willing participant?
The following training tips might help…
For starters it’s important to desensitize your dog to having his/her paws touched. You can easily work on this when your dog is calm and relaxed.
For example, if your dog is lounging on the couch with you, gently pick up a paw and touch his/her paw pads. Reward your pup with a pat or a small treat when they let you handle their paw without any fuss. Also, having someone to help you is a bonus.
If you have a puppy, this is the optimal time to work on checking your pups ears, teeth, and paws. The more you handle them at an early age, the less invasive it will feel when your dog gets older.
Second, having a solid training foundation in place for your dog is imperative. It’s important because if your dog trusts you and listens to you, they will be willing to let you handle them (cut nails, look at teeth, etc.) when it’s necessary.
If you don’t have a training program in place, I recommend you check out my program, The Dog Calming Code.
Finally, food motivation can be very powerful. If your dog is really struggling with getting his/her nails clipped, put them in the bathtub and smear some peanut butter on the bathtub wall.
Chances are your dog will be so distracted with enjoying the peanut butter that he/she will sit quietly and not even notice that you’re cutting their nails.
My Favorite Nail Care Products for Dogs
Finally, before we wrap up, I wanted to share a few dog nail care products that I find to be kind, gentle, and effective. Here are two types of nail clippers I highly recommend…
Safari Professional Nail Trimmer
If you’re looking for a classic, handheld nail trimmer I recommend the Safari Professional Nail Trimmer.
These trimmers are made with sharp, durable stainless steel blades that cut through nails quickly so you can get the job done fast! The best part is that these clippers are equipped with a quick stop, which helps prevent causing painful damage to the quick if you’re new to nail trimming.
You can find this affordable product on Amazon:
Dremel Cordless Nail Grinding Tool
As I mentioned earlier, a nail grinder might be a more preferred option to classic nail trimmers…especially for those who don’t have experience clipping nails.
The Dremel Nail Grinder works like a nail file or a sander and gently grinds away the tips of your pup’s nails. Your dog will hardly notice it!
I particularly like this model of nail grinder because it has a quiet motor, is cordless, and comes with replacement grinder heads, and is also a very affordable nail care option for your dog.
Please note, if you purchase through the links above, I may make a small commission, but it won’t cost you any more. If you do buy, thanks so much – it all helps to keep our free content coming your way 🙂
~Doggy Dan 🙂