I am not a fan of clipping my dogs’ nails, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Or, at least that’s what I’ve heard.
Right now while we’re all on lockdown, I’m finding it necessary to do some essential grooming at home. That means coloring my own hair and clipping my dogs’ nails.
If your dog is anything like both of mine and doesn’t like the act of having her nails clipped, take heart! I’m about to share 5 tips for clipping your dog’s nails, and it will make life easier for both of you!
This article contains affiliate links which means that if you use these links to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!
5 Tips For Clipping Your Dog’s Nails
1. Start with the proper equipment.
Using the right equipment is half the battle when it comes to clipping your dog’s nails. Make sure you’re using a really good nail clipper, like this one from Millers Forge. We’ve had a great experience with this one, and I highly recommend it.
Also, have some styptic powder on hand in the event of a little cutting accident. This will help quickly stop any bleeding that might happen during a nail trim, and just so you know, I’ve never had to actually use this stuff but it’s a good idea to have it handy… just in case.
The above diagram shows you how to locate the kwik when clipping your dog’s nails. Following these guidelines should allow you to properly cut the nail without causing bleeding.
2. Make sure you have good lighting.
I like to take my dogs outdoors on the deck to trim their nails. The natural light makes it easy to see exactly where I’m cutting, and I think that looking around helps keep the dogs a little distracted from what I’m doing.
3. Create a routine for nail clipping.
Not only will clipping your dog’s nails on a regular basis keep them at the proper length and looking good, but the act of doing it on a regular basis will allow even a nervous dog to get used to it.
You will also find clipping your dog’s nails to be easiest when your dog is relaxed or tired. Try doing it right after you return from a nice, long walk or a rousing session of tug.
4. Develop a technique that works.
You know your dog, so you’ll be able to develop a nail clipping technique that works for both of you.
For instance, one friend puts a muzzle on her dog when trimming his nails because he’s been known to become aggressive when frightened. If it’s necessary for you to do this, don’t feel bad about it. Do whatever works to keep your dog calm and you safe.
Another friend has to bend her dog’s front feet back, as shown in the image below, in order to divert the dog’s attention away from what’s going on. This makes clipping his front nails so much easier.
One of my own techniques is to offer Georgie a treat after I clip each nail. Yes, she gets a lot of treats during a nail trimming session, but this works well to get her to cooperate.
5. Be patient.
It’s easy to get frustrated if an uncooperative dog is making a nerve-wracking task even more complicated. But losing your cool won’t make the situation any better, I promise.
When clipping your dog’s nails, always remain calm, cool, and collected. Speak softly to your pet, reassuring her that everything is just fine. Reward her for being a good girl when it’s all over, and remember that your behavior will set the tone for the way she sees nail trimming. If you’re relaxed about it, she’s more likely to be as well.
What tips can you offer?
If you’re a whiz at clipping your dog’s nails, I’d love to hear about your experience! Share your tips here in a comment, or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there!
P.S. Now is a great time to whip up a batch of this super easy to make DIY dog toothpaste! It’ll make brushing your dog’s teeth so much easier, I promise!