Clipping a dog's toe-nails can be a stressful experience for some doggy-parents (and the dogs themselves.) But it doesn't have to be that way! Today I'd like to share some tips with you that will ensure a calm and safe experience during your next nail-clipping session.
1. If you can hear your dog's nails clicking on the floor when he/she walks, it's time for a trim. The nails should not touch the floor. Dogs that spend a lot of time walking on concrete and other hard surfaces typically do not need their nails trimmed as often, since the hard surfaces help to keep them filed down.
2. Something that a lot of people do not know is that the quick actually grows longer as the nail grows longer and recedes once the nail has been clipped. Therefore, if you do not clip your dog's nails very often, the quick will grow/extend further out, making it difficult to clip them to a proper length. However, you can clip them a little at a time and the quick will gradually recede- allowing you to finally reach the desired length. Just clip what you can, without "quicking" your dog, and check every couple days to see if the quick has receded enough to clip a bit more off. Once they have reached the desired length (just shy of touching the floor while the dog is standing) you can start clipping them more often to keep them where they need to be.
3. If your dog is terrified of clippers, you can bring them out during play and gradually get your dog used to the clippers being around their feet, making the clipping noise, etc before you actually CLIP the nails. Even if it takes a few days to get your dog used to the clippers, it will be much less stressful than forcing a terrified dog who is literally freaking out with every single snip.
4. Gather all supplies beforehand. This includes dog clippers, treats (if needed), muzzle (if needed), and an anti-coagulant (Helichrysum essential oil, styptic powder, or cornstarch) in case you accidentally "quick" your dog. By the way, try not to feel horrible if this does happen- it happens to everyone at some point, even the professionals. Promptly dip the toe-nail in an anti-coagulant, your pooch will be ok! ;)
5. Hold the paw gently but firmly. Separate the toes with your fingers.
6. If there is long hair in the way of cutting the toe-nails, carefully trim the hair first with scissors so you do not pull it with the clippers (not only do you risk pulling the hair and startling your pooch, but the hair will also dull your clippers.)
7. Position yourself BELOW the dog so you are clipping from below, not above. This will help keep the cut straight and decrease the likelihood of cutting the nails too short, into the quick.
8. Be sure to cut the nails straight, not at an angle. To help with this, you can allow the handles of your clippers to gently touch the toe-pads of your dog's paw.
9. For white toe-nails, trim a little at a time until you are just shy of reaching the quick (the pink part that you can see through the nail.) If you have trouble seeing it, you can shine a flashlight at the toe-nail to help illuminate the quick/blood-line. Gently file the nail afterwards, if needed.
10. For black toe-nails, trim a little at a time until you can see a small gray spot in the center of the toe-nail when looking at the tip head-on. That small gray spot signifies the beginning of the quick. (See photo below.) Gently file the nail afterwards, if needed.
11. If you or your dog are extremely uncomfortable with at-home nail clipping, please take him/her to a groomer or veterinarian for a nail trim. It doesn't cost that much. Ask them to walk you through the process while they are doing it, in case you want to attempt it again the next time your dog needs a trim.
I hope these tips are helpful for you and if you have any questions, feel free to comment below. If you found this information useful or you know someone who may, please share it with them. Sharing is caring! <3
Until next time,