I worked for almost a year as a dog groomer, so I know a few tricks about getting nails trimmed no matter what. Whether it’s keeping a dog occupied with treats or a favorite chew toy, the promise of a walk immediately afterwards, calming holds to use with struggling dogs, or trimming one nail a day for three weeks and then starting over, it is possible to cut any dog’s nails.
Before your start, gather up a high quality pair of dog nail trimmers and some styptic powder, such as Kwik-Stop or other product, to stop bleeding if you nick the quick.
How to Trim Dog Nails Safely
When you cut your dog's nails you may want to sit on the floor with your dog in your lap, or have someone hold your dog on a table. Hold your dog’s paw firmly and push on the pads to extend the nail. Locate where the nail quick ends. With clear or light dog nails, it is easy to see the pink color where the quick ends. But with black nails you can look for a black dot on the underneath of the nail; that’s where the quick ends, if you don't easily see it, don’t hesitate to enlist the services of a seasoned dog grooming veteran.
Trim the nail below the quick on a 45- degree angle, with the cutting end of the nail clipper toward the end of the nail. Make several small nips with the clippers instead of one large one.
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In some cases, if the nails are brittle, the cut may tend to splinter the nail. In these cases, file the nail in a sweeping motion starting from the back of the nail and following the curve to the tip.
Go slowly, take breaks between each paw, and don’t forget the dewclaws. If you accidentally cut the quick, wipe off the blood and apply Kwik-Stop or styptic powder to stop the bleeding. It is not serious and will heal in a very short time.
Some important tips:
- Trim a small amount on a regular basis rather than to try to remove large portions. Trim nails so that when the dog steps down, nails do not touch the floor.
- Invest in a good pair of nail trimmers in an appropriate size for your dog. They can last a lifetime.
- Make trimming time fun and not a struggle —“high-value” treats help, as too does a cheerful, calm presence.
- Get more information about Trimming Nails.