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Dog owners often struggle with keeping their pets’ claws trimmed. If you’ve tried cutting them yourself, you’ll know it’s not easy. And even if you get it done professionally, you still risk injury.
There are several ways to trim dog nails. The safest way is to cut them off using dog nail cutters or scissors. This method is recommended for dogs who don’t chew their nails. Another option is to file them down. However, this requires a steady hand and some practice before you can master it.
With this guide, you’ll learn how to use dog nail cutters safely and effectively at home.
Why is it Important to Cut Your Dog’s Nails?
Dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors running on various hard surfaces, such as concrete and blacktop, progressively wear down their nails, which reduces the need for regular nail-grooming sessions. However, today’s suburban and urban dogs are increasingly kept indoors when their owners are at work and spend much of their outdoor time running on soft surfaces like lawns, so this beneficial friction is frequently lacking from their everyday lives.
Long, untrimmed nails are not only unsightly, but they can also harm your dog over time (not to mention your floors). It hurts the dog (just like wearing a shoe that is too tight) and puts pressure on the toe joint when the nails are so long that they are continuously in contact with the ground. Long-term, this may actually realign the foreleg’s joints, flattening and splaying the foot.
Furthermore, compromising your dog’s weight distribution and natural alignment can make her more prone to injuries, make walking and running unpleasant, and make her more susceptible to accidents. The posture of senior dogs can be significantly improved by trimming back neglected nails, thus this is very crucial.
In extreme circumstances, growing nails may curl into the foot’s arch. Long nails can tear or split even if they are not that out of control, which is extremely painful and may require veterinary care depending on the severity.
In the end, unattended nails result in a vicious cycle: the dog avoids having his paws touched because the extra-long nails make any contact painful, which causes unpleasant nail-cutting sessions, which makes both the dog and the human avoid them, which results in longer gaps between trims, which results in more pain.
How to Choose the Right Type of Dog Nail Cutter?
You must choose a dog nail cutter size that both precisely suits your hand and your dog’s size when you go shopping for them. This step is crucial to avoid mishaps and spare the dog’s distress in addition to making your job simpler and less time-consuming.
When using a large pair of clippers on a little breed, you risk removing more of the nail than you intended to. The contrary is also true: if you have a huge dog and use little clippers, they won’t cut through the nail completely.
Any dog clippers you purchase should come with size instructions on the packaging. According to these sizing recommendations, small, medium, or giant breeds should use them. To check if your dog’s nail is too big for that particular set of trimmers, some clippers even offer a little hole on the packaging where you can enter its nail.
Types of Dog Nail Cutters
The most crucial factor to take into account when clipping your dog’s nails is how comfortable you are holding and using the trimmer, according to Fadl. Depending on how your dog reacts to it, the type of dog nail cutter you use can make a significant impact. Because some dogs may be terrified or uneasy around particular types of clippers, it’s vital to expose them to them gradually and give them a chance to test out several varieties. Below, our specialists have broken down the several trimmer types to take into account.
According to Allie Akhmarova, owner of the home call grooming company Posh Groomer, scissor clippers are the most frequently utilised because they are typically more straightforward and pleasant.
The fact that you must use your own force to cut through the nail with these clippers can compromise precision, according to experts. Keep your dog’s paw as steady as you can to prevent cutting the quick of the nail (more on that below).
This kind of nail trimmer has a hole for inserting your dog’s nail and a blade that cuts the nail using physical force, which, in the opinion of our experts, can assist create a good, straight cut with little effort.
Despite their effectiveness, guillotine clippers have several drawbacks, according to Akhmarova. As a groomer with ten years of expertise who has cut hundreds of nails, she noted, “[This is] the one sort to avoid.” She found them to be difficult to use. Injuries may occur if you don’t accurately estimate how much nail you’re removing.
When it comes to larger dogs with thick nails, plier clippers are superior to scissor clippers because they are stronger due to a spring.
According to Fadl, nail grinders include revolving heads that grind the nail down; this is a less daunting alternative to clipping because only a tiny portion of the nail is removed at a time.
Although a nail grinder can be wonderful for beginners, the primary con is that some people may discover their dogs “become intimidated by the noise,” according to Fadl.
How Often Should You Cut Your Dog’s Nails?
The amount of time between nail trimmings depends on how quickly your dog’s nails grow and deteriorate.
Normal dogs should have their nails clipped every three to four weeks, though it should be done more frequently if necessary to keep the nail from contacting the ground when your dog is standing.
Although lap dogs, whose feet rarely touch the ground, may need more frequent nail clipping, dogs who run on pavement or other hard surfaces may not need to have their nails trimmed as frequently or at all.
How to Safely Cut Your Dog’s Nails?
- Locate a peaceful spot where your dog will feel at ease and unbothered.
- Place your tiny dog on a stable surface or hold it in your lap if you have one. Having someone else hold your dog while you trim their nails is useful if you have a large dog.
- Place your thumb and forefinger on either side of one of your dog’s paws.
- Slightly press down on the paw pad to move the nail forward. Verify that no hair is in the way of your ability to see the entire nail.
- While your dog sits still, clip the nail tip straight across. Never clip a nail behind its natural bend.
- To make getting your nails trimmed feel like a major reward, give out lots of high-value goodies before, during, and after.
How Far Down Do You Cut Your Dog’s Nails?
Because the “quick” starts below the nail’s natural curve, it’s important to avoid trimming here.
The blood vessels and nerves are situated in the centre of the nail, in an area known as the quick. In the event that you accidentally cut this area of the nail, your dog will bleed and feel discomfort.
In the event that you are concerned that you could be cutting too close to the quick, it is best to leave the nail a bit longer.
If you ever feel uneasy doing the treatment or believe you may be inflicting harm on your dog, please halt and get further guidance from your neighbourhood vet.
Do Dogs Feel Pain When You Cut Their nails?
One of the two primary parts of a dog’s nail is the live pink quick, which runs down the middle and provides it with blood. The rough surface of the nail makes up the second part, which is referred to as the shell. A dog’s damaged nail will make them uncomfortable, much as how a damaged or painful nail would make a person feel.
When the dog’s nails are not taken care of, trimming them may cause injury. This is because the living pink quick progressively moves away from the tip of our dogs’ nails when their nails are regularly cut. If not, the nail will eventually need to be groomed, which will cause bleeding and discomfort because it will go all the way to the end.
When their nails are cut too short or are allowed to grow out too long, dogs may endure pain. For example, a dog with long nails may lose control of their paw, which could make them more likely to fall and hurt themselves more from the fall than from the nail alone. Overall, it is clear that our dogs may have pain in their nails, so it is our obligation to provide for them properly to prevent the pain.
How to Stop Bleeding if You Cut Wrongly?
Dog nail bleeding can be stopped quickly and successfully with styptic powder or a styptic pencil, which are readily available at the majority of big pet stores and pharmacies.
However, styptic powder will first sting, so be ready to securely grip the dog as you administer. Depending on the severity of the bleeding, several home remedies can also be successful.
In addition to applying a fresh bar of fragrance-free soap or a wet tea bag to the nail at the site of decreased bleeding, cornstarch by itself or in conjunction with baking soda frequently works well. Styptic powder, however, will work more swiftly than any home remedy. Maintain ice, paper towels, and a fresh cloth nearby as well.
If by accident you cut into the quick, cover the wound with a fresh piece of clothing or paper towel and press on it for at least two minutes. If the bleeding is minor, try applying a bar of clean, unscented soap to the area.
If the bleeding is steady, wrapping ice in a compressed cloth or paper towel will aid in reducing the blood flow. Next, cup your hand and sprinkle some cornstarch or styptic powder, with or without baking soda, into the palm.
Continue the procedure by gently dipping the dog’s bleeding nail into the powder if the bleeding doesn’t cease straight away. Leave the blood on before dipping; it will aid in the clotting process. Continue applying pressure with a towel or other material to the region after the bleeding stops, taking careful not to squeeze the paw. Try to keep the dog off his feet for at least 30 minutes.
After the dog nail has stopped bleeding, give it a hot bath and bandage it to stop infection and licking. If bleeding cannot be stopped after 20 to 30 minutes due to poor coagulation, a veterinarian should be contacted straight once. You should also visit a veterinarian if the dog’s toe later turns red, swells, or doesn’t appear to be improving after a few days.
Expert Tips: Keeping Your Dog Comfortable During a Nail Trim!
From the very first day, it helps if you softly and enthusiastically grip and touch your puppy’s paws frequently so that they don’t develop a sensitivity to the contact.
- Day 1: Let your dog sniff the grinder or nail clipper. Give a gift and compliments.
- Day 2: Gently rub each paw with a nail clipper or grinder. Give a gift and compliments.
- Day 3: Hold a nail clipper against each paw and compress it so the puppy can hear the sound.
- Alternatively, turn on the grinder so the puppy can feel the vibration. Just pretend to cut your nails. Give a gift and compliments.
- Day 4: Reapply the grinder or nail clipper to your puppy’s feet. Give a gift and compliments.
- Day 5: Try removing just the slightest portion of one front paw nail’s tip. Do just one nail. If your puppy will let you, lavish it with lots of enthusiastic praise and a treat. Just do one, even if he permits you to. Repeat daily until he appears to not mind you doing this.
- Day 6: Consider cutting just the tips of two nails.
- Day 7: Continue working your way up, clipping more nails every day, until you’ve done so without upsetting your puppy. Even if you don’t need to cut nails, practice anyway. Your dog will become accustomed to the procedure even if you just act like you are clipping.