Does trimming your pet’s nails feel like a wrestling match? Do you feel like you need to outsource the job to your vet or groomer in order to avoid the trauma? We’ve got good news — nail trims don’t have to be a struggle. With a pet-friendly approach, you can turn this important process into a day at the spa.
A Tip on Nail Length
Many pet parents worry about trimming nails because they think they have to cut until the nails are stubby little nubs. A more realistic goal (and one that can help to prevent cutting the “quick,” or the nail’s blood supply) is to trim them until they’re just above the floor. This is because pets actually do use their nails for traction and you don’t want them slipping and sliding all over the place.
Cutting nails with a precision tool will help keep your pet’s nails the proper length. An easy-to-use blade, allows for the accuracy necessary to make a quick and clean cut.
The following suggestions provide an overview on how to cut dog nails and will enable you to work through the process with your dog as a team.
If Possible, Start Young
Begin paw-handling exercises when your pet is young. Gently familiarizing your dog or cat with all aspects of nail trims, from the equipment to the way you’ll be manipulating his feet, can help your pet understand that it’s not scary or painful.
Pairing basic exercises with delicious treats can also make the process less threatening. For example, show your pet a nail trimmer and immediately follow up with a high-value treat so that your pet starts to make a positive association to the tool.
Consider Your Tools
If your dog has had a negative experience with a particular trimming tool, switch to something else. it’s easier to build a new positive association to a tool instead of trying to undo a negative one.
For example, a dog who has had a bad experience with nail clippers might be more comfortable relearning the process with a different tool, like a Pet Nail Grinder. Rather than cutting the nail off, which could lead to an accidental deep cut, a dog nail grinder acts like a nail file and slowly grinds the nail to the desired length.
One of the scariest parts of cutting dogs’ nails is the possibility of cutting the blood vessel inside the dog’s nail. Not only is it painful for the dog, but nicking the quick usually means a fair amount of bleeding.
Having a plan to stop bleeding if you accidentally clip the quick of the nail is important. You can use stypic powder and pressure, or if you are in a bind, baking flour works also. These nails can bleed excessively, so you should hold pressure for a full two minutes before relieving pressure and then applying the stypic powder.
Don’t be tempted to just start trimming. Be conservative. If your dog has dark nails, shine a penlight on them so you can see the quick and not guess. Make your motto, ‘Slow is the new fast.’” If you commit to keeping your dog comfortable, cutting your dog’s nails can actually become a bonding experience for you and your dog.