Cutting your dog's nails in a few easy steps
Just like us humans, it’s important for dogs to get their nails trimmed regularly. Beyond hygiene, it’s also important for their health. Overgrown nails on dogs can be painful, can limit their movement and lower their overall quality of life. To give your pup the absolute best, learn all you need to know about dog nail trimming below.
There are few signs to know it's time to cut the dog's nails. The first thing you can check without any professional help is that you should be able to slip at least a piece of paper between your dog’s nails and the floor. Another test you can do is when your furry friend is standing in front of you with his front legs under his shoulders. Then check the nails. Are they touching the ground? Do you hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor? If so, it’s time to take action!
Step 1: What to use?
Scissor style clippers for small breeds and large nail clippers for larger breeds. Optionally - Flashlight (for dark nails) and Paw balsam
When everything is ready, get your dog comfortable and you’re good to go. If your dog is a bit nervous, calm them with biscuits or extra cuddles. This will give them a sense of security while you begin cutting.
Step 2: Where to trim?
Be extra careful when deciding where to cut, as dog nails are supplied with blood. It’s easier to find the right range for dogs with clear or light colored nails, while it can be a bit trickier with dark nails. A flashlight can also help you to see the blood supply area better. If you're not sure, you can trim a piece of the nail every few days, the blood supply then gets shorter and shorter and you will comfortably get your dog's nails into the best length.
Step 3: Dog nail trimming
Defined the cutting range? Good! Your dog is (ideally) in a relaxed position. You have your equipment ready. It’s time to start trimming your dogs nails!
Trim by taking small steps at a time, and use rewards to keep your dog comfortable if needed. If there’s no blood at the end of the whole process and your dog behaves like nothing has happened, you’ve done everything right!
Moreover, once you’re done cutting, you can soften the skin around the nails with some paw balsam. It’s optional, but can be comforting for your pup. Trim the hair between the paws for perfect results.
Step 4: Reward your good girl/boy
Finally, don’t forget to reward your dog afterward! That way, your dog will associate the “unpleasant” experience of dog nail trimming with something positive, and this can reduce their fear. After all, who says no to something if they know there’s a yummy reward at the end of it?
Remember these three hints and you’ll be fine:
* The perfect cutting range ends right before the blood supply.
* Front paws are more likely to get overgrown nails.
* You should always cut parallel to the bottom.
What if I did cut too deep?
Even if you’re very cautious, it’s possible that something goes wrong. So the golden rule is: don’t panic if you see a little bit of blood on your dog’s nail. Instead, try to stop the blood flow and prevent any dirt from getting in contact with the wound. This will help avoid it from getting infected. If the blood flow doesn’t stop after 30 minutes, contact your vet.
And if you can’t contact your vet and need to act fast, use a styptic powder or pencil (on sale at most pharmacies) on the wound. If you don’t have any styptic powder or pencil, and you can’t go to the pharmacy, you can try applying some ice cubes to stop a dog’s nail from bleeding.
How often to trim dog nails?
It depends; dogs who are used to walking on soft ground (like parks or forests) can have a harder time controlling the length of their nails, compared to dogs who walk on hard ground (concrete or asphalt). Moreover, that’s not the only factor at play. Dog nail cutting requirements are also affected by genetic factors, dog breed, feeding habits and also how active your dog is.
However, we’d recommend cutting your dog’s nails every 2 weeks to maintain ideal nail length. Furthermore, the more you trim their overgrown nails, the more the blood vessel will retreat back into the claw. Therefore, frequent dog nail trimming is highly essential.
If you're still not sure about this, but you'd like to try it, ask you vet next time you're there to show it to you. You'll get more and more confident and before you know it you'll be doing on regular basis without any help!