For small dogs especially, nail-clipping is an essential part of the grooming process.
Like human fingernails, a dog's claws keep growing, and if left untrimmed, can be uncomfortable for dog and owner alike.
Your vet can give you a good idea of when it's time to trim your dog's nails and should also be able to demonstrate how to trim them, but this DIY guide may also be of assistance.
Before you begin
- Massage his feet and look at his nails, and offer praise when he keeps still. The experience will reduce his fears of the activity later on.
- There are several kinds of nail trimmers available. Have your vet, groomer or other pet professional recommend an appropriate clipper for your dog's nails.
- Buy some styptic powder from a pet store– it's used to stop bleeding should you cut a nail too short.
- Gently hold and squeeze your dog's paw to extend the nail. Find the quick (a vein in the nail that feeds the nail bed) by looking for the pink line coming from the base of the nail. You do not want to cut this.
- Wait until your dog is still before you make a cut.
- Start conservatively. It's better to cut a little twice than cut too much and hit the quick.
- If you cut a nail and it bleeds, immediately apply some styptic powder and a small amount of pressure to the end of the nail.
- On darker nails, it can be a bit more difficult to see where the quick begins so seek appropriate instruction before clipping.
- Always praise your dog for holding still
Keep nails shorter naturally
One benefit to regular exercise, particularly if you walk your dog predominantly on pavements, is that the action of walking keeps the nails trimmed as they brush against the concrete.
This doesn't mean you don't have to worry about nail trimming, but you will be able to go longer between trims. If you have a larger, heavier dog who is regularly walked on pavements, your vet may even give you the green light not to clip at all
Dog nail clipping is an essential part of any grooming routine.