Cutting Dogs Nails.

Often we come across a dog who  object’s to having its nails cut. There are numerous devices on the market to try and alleviate this problem. There are however things you can do which may prevent the problem from occurring or alleviating it.

Why Cut Your Dogs Nails.

Left unchecked and uncut, your dogs nails will grow to an extent it  causes discomfort. They  get so long that they  grow back into the pad. This  causes pain and infection requiring veterinary treatment. 

Make it a habit

A lot of our owners are comfortable cutting their own dogs nails. If your dog isn’t happy, the first thing I would recommend is getting them to have their paws held.  The idea behind this is too build up the amount of time you can hold them for. 

How to go about it

I  suggest the following is done whilst in a safe place, where you and your dog are comfortable. I tell all my owners investing in a dog grooming table is sound for them and their dogs. Dogs love routine. Set it as you mean to go on. It will be less stressful for both of you.

As you hold them, let them know holding it is a good thing, give praise or a titbit. Leave it longer holding it before giving them the treat. Give the treat whilst you hold the paw when its still. If you have a dog that pulls the paw away, keep a light grip on it. Don’t get into a tug of war pulling it back as you risk injuring the dog. Stay quiet, don’t shout or encourage stay calm until the dog is still again. then give the praise. 



Now the dog has gotten used to this, do it with all four paws. Leave the nail clippers on the table every time you do it. When you are moving the paws, make sure you only move them in the natural direction of the dogs joint movement. Sometimes you may find it easier to turn the paw upwards, as shown in the picture, to gain access to the nails.

This procedure may take quite a time to achieve, but it should prove less stressful for you and your dog. Don’t  do it all in one go, unless your dog is happy with it. Make sure you are both safe and comfortable, and your dog is secure on the surface on which he is standing.

Cutting The Nail

Nail Types

We mainly see two types of nails, those with a clear pink quick, and those that are dark where the quick isn’t  readily visible.

Clipper types

There are several types of nail clippers on the market. The last few years has also seen an increase in the use of dremel type electric grinders. For this entry though, we will just look at the most common type available. Most of these are fitted with a moveable guard. The idea behind this is stop too much been cut from the nail. Be careful, this set distance may also be too big a cut, and can block your view



The diagrams below show where to cut on the nail. If you cut through the quick, it will bleed. It is always worth having a product like Trimmex on hand. If you haven’t, a tip passed to me by a vet, is pressing the nail in a bar of soap. 

Carefully trim the nail back. Again a small amount at a time is better if you are not confident. As you trim the nails on  a regular basis, this keeps the quick short. This is easier to achieve on light nails where you can see the pink. It is harder on dark nails.




On Dark nails, again small trimmings will help the quick recede. If you look at the underside, it will have the appearance of a horseshoe with a raised edge. Only trim this raised edge, until the nail looks like the second in this picture

The Benefits of Exercise

Regular walking on harder surfaces will help keep your dogs nails in check. Some dogs nails seem to grow at a faster rate than others. Exercising mainly on soft ground,  will require  checking the nails more often.

If in Doubt

When you are not comfortable or nervous, I am a firm believer your dog will sense this. They will then react to your nervousness. This then becomes a cycle, leaving both of you stressed. If you are in any doubt, seek professional help.If you are not happy cutting the nails, by getting your dog used to having their feet handled, will help them and the professionals. Extra time spent with your dog is a bonus, even more so when its a benefit to you both

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