Your dog may not like to have his paws touched, but trimming his nails need not become an ordeal. Ease into the job by handling your puppy’s paws on a regular basis so that she gets accustomed to the attention. If your puppy is used to having her paws touched, your once-a-month trimming battle is half-won.
You will need to purchase a couple of supplies to successfully trim your dog’s nails:
- A nail trimmer that is specifically designed for your dog’s size. They come in both scissor and guillotine styles. Either is fine; simply decide which type you and your dog will be most comfortable with.
- A small bottle of blood-clotting powder. It is much better to have it on hand and never need it than otherwise.
The 5-step trimming technique
There are two ways you can position your dog for nail-trimming: have her sit beside you or put her in a laying down position. If you have a very small dog, you can even sit her on your lap while you trim. Once your dog is situated, begin clipping:
- Take the first paw in your hand and gently remove any dirt from around the nail.
- Locate the “quick” within the nail – you want to avoid this vein. If you cannot see the quick, stop cutting at the point where the nail begins to curve downward.
- Gradually shorten the nail, working one at a time.
- If you do accidentally cut into the quick, don’t panic! It will bleed profusely, but it looks worse than it is. Using a cotton swab, apply some clotting powder to the end of the nail and press against it firmly for about two minutes.
- Repeat the nail-cutting process and don’t forget the dewclaws located on the inside of the front and/or rear legs. (Some dogs don’t have dewclaws, so if you don’t see any, don’t worry—it just means you have less nails to trim!)
This process may seem a bit daunting, particularly at first. But it is actually simple and painless. Once you and your dog are relaxed and comfortable, nail trimming will easily become part of your routine.