When it comes to my dogs, nothing makes me more nervous than having to clip their nails. In fact, I put off the task so long that I eventually hear the "click-clicking" on the floor from their long nails. That is my signal that a nail trim is long overdue.
A key reason for my difficulty clipping dog nails is that my dogs do not like their feet touched. I did not handle their paws as much as I should have when they were pups. So take a word of advice from me: if you acquire a new puppy, get her comfortable with having her paws and nails handled.
- You have to purchase dog nail clippers. You should not try to trim a dog's nails with clippers you use on your own nails. A dog's nails are very hard and thick. Clippers designed for human fingernails or toenails simply will not cut dog nails.
- Position small dogs on your lap for easy access to their nails. Large dogs can be placed on a table or couch. You can also sit in the floor to cut your large dog's nails if he gets nervous on a table. You should talk to your dog throughout the clipping to reassure him that everything is going to be fine.
- Grasp the dog's paw firmly in your hand. Hold the nail clippers so the movable part is next to your fingers and the stationary part of the clippers is against your palm.
- You want the cut to be made from the bottom of the nail upwards. You should never cut your dogs nails from the top down. One way to remember which way to hold the clippers is that the back of your fingers should be touching the pad of your dog's foot.
- When clipping your dog's nails, start out by making short cuts. This will allow you to see how close you are getting to the nail's quick. Keep in mind that dogs who are not accustomed to having their feet handled will jerk and pull against you. This may lead you to believe that you are hurting them. As long as you do not cut your dog's nails into the quick, clipping their nails is painless.
- If your dog has white or pale colored nails, you should be able to see where the vein or quick is located in the nail. This area will be pink. If your dog has dark nails, you will be able to identify when you are getting close to the quick when the center of the nail starts turning dark.
- If you happen to cut your dog's nail into the quick, it will bleed. You can apply pressure and powder to the tip of the nail. This should stop the bleeding. If the bleeding is profuse and doesn't subside within eight to ten minutes, you may have to take your dog to the vet.