Dog nails are similar to ours in the way they are constantly growing. On average a dog will need their nails cut once a week. If your dog frequently walks on sidewalks or other rough surfaces that file down their nails, they may not need nail trimmings as frequently. Nevertheless, all dogs require nail trims!
While many dogs tolerate having their human companions handle their paws for a nail trim, a lot of dogs can find the nail trimming process to be a stress inducing experience. To help dogs not dread the sight of nail clippers, make nail trims a positive experience for your dog! This can be done by rewarding with treats and positive encouragement. If you have a puppy, start handling their paws/ nails regularly while they are young. By doing so, your puppy will get used to having their paws touched and may find nail trims to be a less stressful experience.
There are many different options when it comes to types of nail trimmers, including grinder tools specifically designed for dogs, scissors, and guillotine types. Whatever type you and your dog are most comfortable with is fine to use! Before starting the nail cut, you may need a few things.
What you'll need
- Nail Trimmers
- Styptic Powder or Clotting Powder (incase a nail is cut too short)
- Dog Treats
- For Larger Dogs- Someone to hold and comfort your dog while you trim their nails
Pick up one paw and gently place your thumb on the pad of a toe and your forefinger on top of the toe on the skin above the nail. Push your thumb slightly up and backwards on the pad while pushing your forefinger forward. This will extend the nail- just remember to not apply too much pressure to the paw.
Using your other hand, clip the tip of the nail straight across. Avoid cutting past the curve of the nail to ensure you do not cut the nail too short and hit the quick (the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels) which causes bleeding. If your dog has clear/ white nails, the quick may be visible and relatively easy to avoid. It can be hard to see the quick on darker nails, so only cut the hook-like part of the nail that turns downward.
While you are holding your dog's paws, it is a good time to give the paw a quick check up. Examine the paw for foreign objects, soreness, or injuries.