A Stress-Free Guide to Trimming Your Dog’s Toenails

cutting dog nail

Dogs are lovable creatures but when it comes to trimming their nails, some of them might put up quite a fight. Most dog owners are scared of the episode almost as much as the dogs and do not want to risk hurting their beloved pet. Trimming your dog’s toenails is important for their overall health and well-being.

Importance of Nail Trimming

Not trimming your pet’s nails can result in severe long-term consequences, such as arthritis. When a pooch’s toenails are long and start to make contact with hard surfaces, such as pavements and wooden floors, the hard surface creates a force and pushes the overgrown nail back into the nail bed, causing pain and problems with mobility. The excess pressure affects the toe joints and may even cause the toes to twist to the side, resulting in arthritis. Additionally, long nails can become ingrown or begin to snag as your dog walks.

Creating a Relaxing Environment

Create a comfortable and relaxing environment for your pet prior to the grooming session. Start by giving your pet a nice warm bath. Bathing softens the dog’s toenails and makes it easier for you to clip them off.  If your dog seems agitated or nervous, gradually get them used to having their feet handled. Spend a few minutes with your dog, gently rubbing and massaging their feet. Once your pet is comfortable with you touching their feet, move on to the clippers.

Assemble the Right Supplies

There are different types of nail clippers available in the market. Choose one according to your dog’s size and breed. While guillotine style clippers work best for smaller breeds, pilers are well suited for larger dogs. Apart from nail clippers, you need some styptic powder in case of accidents. Accidents occur no matter how much we try to avoid them, hence it is best to be prepared with the proper emergency supplies. Having the proper supplies within reach will allow you to quickly stop the bleeding and relieve the pain. This reduces the risk of a nail infection.

However, styptic powder will initially cause stinging, hence be prepared to hold onto your dog firmly yet gently before applying it. And lastly, offer your dog treats for cooperating. This will help them remain calm in the future sessions.

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Trimming the Nails

Lay your dog down on a comfortable spot or on a cushion. Hold onto their toe firmly, yet gently. Start by identifying which nail needs to be cut first. The quick is a pink area within each nail that consists of various blood vessels and nerves. Cutting the quick can be painful, hence never cut the nails too short. Work the nail clipper and gently clip off the tip of the nail. Be wary of where the actual blade is before cutting the nail.

Some nail clippers slightly hide the blade. This causes the dog owner to trim more than wanted. While cutting the nail, keep the nail clipper at a perpendicular angel, avoiding extreme positions. If your dog has declaws, clip them off too. These nails are located higher up on the inside of the legs. Unlike regular nails, declaws have to be trimmed frequently because they do not make contact with the floor when the dog walks. In the end, use a filer to make the nails smooth.

Dealing with Accidents

Accidents can happen, hence remain calm. If you clip the ‘quick’, stop right away but not before applying styptic powder to the injured toenail. Gently apply pressure on the toenail as you press the powder. The styptic powder may sting a little, hence ask someone to hold your dog down and help him stay calm. Talk to your dog throughout the process. This might help them remain calm. If the bleeding does not stop within a couple of minutes, take your dog to the vet immediately to prevent nail infection.

So, you see, trimming your dog’s nails does not have to be aggravating process. With the right supplies and techniques, you will soon find clipping your dog’s nails as easy as clipping your own.

Note: Watch out for signs of distress, such as whining, shivering, panting and growling. If your dog is showing any of these signs and is not able to get over the fear of having their nails trimmed, do not force them to submit and take them to a professional groomer instead.

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