How To's

How To Clip Your Dog’s Nails

Written by Nancy Boland

Most dogs wear down their nails through activity. If they are not worn down naturally, however, they can become extremely long and even begin to interfere with traction by preventing the foot pads from making contact with the ground.

If trimming is done twice a month, the quick) will recede toward the base of the nail and the nail will remain permanently shorter so the nails won’t need trimming quite as regularly. How To Clip Your Dog’s Nails:

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What are dewclaws?

Dewclaws are remnants of fifth toes and are found high on the inside of each foot. In many breeds the dewclaws are removed shortly after birth. Dewclaws are common in breeds such as Briards and Great Pyrenees. These nails do not contact the ground and thus can grow around in a circle and pierce the skin. If you have a puppy with dewclaws, it is important to get her used to having them trimmed, even though trimming may not yet be necessary.

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How To Clip Your Dog’s Nails

Begin by lifting the dog’s paw and extending the nail. Identify the quick (the pink part running down the centre), which contains the nerves and blood vessels. Be sure to trim the nail in front of (but close to) the quick. When using a guillotine type cutter, the blade should slice upward from the underside of the nail. If the nails are dark and the quick is invisible, a good rule is to cut the nails parallel to the toe pads, so that the nails just clear the floor.

If you accidentally cut into the quick, the dog will feel a brief moment of pain and the nail will begin to bleed. Hold pressure over the end of the nail with a cotton ball. The blood will clot in a few minutes. If bleeding persists, pack with styptic powder or use a styptic pencil.

If you choose to use a dremel clipper, you need to put on a sanding drum and carefully pull any hair away from the nail you are working on. Then carefully hold the tool against the nail with a slight pressure, removing just a small amount if you cannot see the quick. Do not push the sanding drum against the foot; just hold it lightly against the surface of the nail. You need to be careful that the tool is not getting warm and heating your dog’s toe. Make sure you do not trim back into the quick.

Trimming nails can be tricky and lots of dogs are uncomfortable with the procedure. Nail trimming will not hurt your dog. Always consult your vet if you are uncomfortable with trimming your own dogs nails, they will always be happy to do it for you.

About the author

Nancy Boland

I'm Nancy, owner of a very spoiled, one eyed Jack Russell called Basil. I'm a trainee veterinarian with a love for all things dogs. I'm especially passionate about dog adoption and always advocate rescue and enjoy writing about canine health and nutrition, alongside overall well-being tips for happy dogs!

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