How to Safely Trim Your Dog’s Nails

Have you ever tried to trim your dog’s nails? Is it nearly impossible to trim them without you or your dog getting hurt in the process? Are you nervous about finding the right method for safely trimming your dog’s nails in the future?

If any of this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place. In the article below, we’ll explore some of the best methods you can try for trimming your dog’s nails safely and carefully. You can use this information to prepare for your next nail trimming experience with your pet.

dog nail trim

Practice Touching Your Dog’s Feet

If you’ve never trimmed your dog’s nails before, you’ll need to start by touching your dog’s feet. Get them used to the idea of having their feet and nails handled by gently touching and massaging their paw pads, then giving treats when they are patient and lets you do so.

From there, you can work up to gently squeezing the toes and examining the nails. Again, reward your dog with lots of treats for patience so they understand what they are supposed to do. When your dog lets you handle their feet without trouble, you can move on to the next step.

Use the Right Tools for the Job

Make sure you’re using tools for dog nail trims on your pet, rather than tools for humans. Dogs’ nails are much tougher than humans’ and must be trimmed with appropriate items. Pet stores, groomers, and vet offices all tend to sell dog nail trimmers.

You should also stock up on some styptic powder or a styptic pencil. These items can be used to quickly stop blood flow if you happen to accidentally cut your dog’s nail to the quick. Keep an ice-cold washcloth on hand during the actual trimming process in case this occurs as well.

Work Slowly and Carefully

It is important to work very slowly and carefully when trimming your dog’s nails. Start with just one foot and begin with the front feet so your dog can watch what you’re doing more easily. After the first foot, give your dog a break before you start on the second.

Some dogs may respond better to full nail trims in one day. On the other hand, if your dog gets very worked up about the process, you may want to do half one day and half the next. You can adjust your nail trimming schedule based on your dog’s needs.

Consider a Nail Buffer

A nail buffer is a small tool that runs on a battery or a charge and is used to gently sand or buff down the tips of a dog’s toenails. This type of tool can be noisy, which may be frightening to your dog, but it is also much less likely to cut your dog’s nail to the quick. Therefore, if your pet can tolerate the sound, this kind of tool may be safer to use.

Ask your veterinarian or a groomer for recommendations about the right type and size of nail buffer for your pet. They can also recommend individual brands and products in many instances.

Lots of Treats and Praise

After you’ve finished trimming each foot, make sure to give your dog lots of their favorite treats and plenty of praise for being so patient. The more often you do this, the easier it will be for your dog to associate treats and praise with nail trims, and they will become less anxious about the process too.

You may need to use high value treats that your dog doesn’t normally get, especially if they are nervous. Small pieces of cheese or a spoonful of peanut butter can be good solutions for motivating your dog.

Vet or Groomer Assistance

If you’re still having trouble with trimming your dog’s nails safely, or if you’ve tried and have accidentally cut the quick in the past, you may prefer to ask a vet or groomer for help instead.

Although there is a small fee involved, you can take your dog to the groomer or to the vet every few months to have their nails trimmed. This may be the safest option for very anxious dogs (or owners).

Your Veterinarian and Groomer Can Help with Dog Nail Trims Too

By following this guide, you should be well on your way to a safer nail trimming experience. However, if you’re still having trouble, there is no harm in taking your dog to the vet or groomer to have their nails trimmed instead.

It is important to ensure your dog always has their nails well cared for and trimmed appropriately. This way, they will be less likely to injure the nail by snagging it on something, and will have less foot pain when walking, too. Nail care is a crucial part of canine health and wellness. Need help from your Heart + Paw team with your dog’s nail trim? Book an appointment with your vet or groomer at any of our locations today!

Recent Posts

How Dog Skin Infections Can Cause Your Pet to Be Itchy

We all know that look of discomfort on our furry friend’s face when they can’t stop scratching….

Read More

10 Signs That Your Dog Has Food Allergies

You know your fur baby better than anyone else. You notice when they’re wagging their tail more…

Read More

Is it Normal for My Dog to Have a Dry Nose?

So, you’ve noticed that your dog’s nose is a bit on the dry side, and now you’re…

Read More

Cat Wheezing: Causes and Treatment Options

We know that when your feline friend starts wheezing, it’s easy to get concerned. After all, our…

Read More
cat drooling

When Cat Drooling is Normal and When it is Not

If you’re here, chances are you’ve noticed your feline friend drooling a bit more than usual. Maybe…

Read More

About Us

Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

We'd Love to Meet Your Four-Legged Friends

Find out how the friendly veterinary team at your local Heart + Paw can help your pets live longer, healthier lives by searching for a location near you.