How to Trim Your Dog’s Toenails

Most dogs are like your typical 2-year-old: they hate having their nails trimmed. Much like a young child, if you start with a regular trimming routine at an early age, they’ll grow somewhat accustomed to the process and will be much more amenable to having it done. Nevertheless, some dogs will happily sit in your lap throughout the process (please, consider yourself blessed if your dog falls into this category), whereas others may require some form of restraint.

Learning to Trim the Nails of Your Dog - Nashville TN

Getting Yourself Acquainted with Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Your vet or vet tech is a good place to begin if you’re unsure on the correct way to trim your dog’s nails. He/she will be able to give you pointers and/or physically demonstrate how to take care of this very important chore. Oftentimes, understanding what not to do is more important than anything else, as this will help you avoid putting your dog through unnecessary and unwanted pain (and possible bleeding). Nevertheless, accidents do happen (even with the most experienced nail trimmers) and it’s also advisable to know what to do in the event that something doesn’t go according to plan.

Knowing How to Safely Restrain Your Dog Can Help to Avoid Injuries

There are several methods you can use to assist with the nail trimming process if your dog is especially uncooperative:

  • Try placing your dog on a table that is approximately waist-height for you. You’ll need to stand to the side of the table that is opposite to the nails you intend to trim. You’ll need to place your upper body and arms across your dog’s body (try not to place too much bodyweight on the dog, as this could cause him/her to get more nervous). When trimming the nails, it’s best to try to hold your dog’s head down with your forearm to expedite the process. Pick up your dog’s paw with the hand attached to the forearm that’s holding the dog’s head down and hold the clippers in the opposite hand.
  • If the previous method isn’t successful, try laying your dog on his/her side with their back pinned against you. Lean over the dog and grasp the paw with the hand closest to your dog’s head (while using the rest of your arm to keep his/her head on the table). Hold the clippers in your opposite hand.
    You’ll also want to avoid cutting your dog’s nails too short (the dark part of the nail—the quick—is where the blood supply is), as this can lead to unnecessary bleeding and discomfort. When cutting the nail, try clipping a little bit at a time; if the nail feels spongy, stop cutting immediately, as you’re cutting into the quick!

Your dog is a valued member of your family. As such, you’ll want to make sure you take every opportunity to keep him/her happy (the same as you would with any other family member). The entire 5 Points Animal Hospital family wishes you many safe nail trimmings from here on out. If you’d like us to demonstrate the process for you during your dog’s next visit, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’d be happy to oblige!

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment

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