Things you’ll need
- Dog Nail Clipper – Nail clippers usually come in three designs: clipper styled as pliers (good for large breeds), clipper styled as guillotine (good for small breeds) and a clipper styled as scissor
- Styptic powder – To stop bleeding in case you cut the nails too shirt resulting in bleeding
- Dog treats – Some dogs may be averse to get their nails cut. So, it’s a good idea to keep some treats around in order to reward them
Preparing your dog
Dogs usually get intimidated at the sight of nail clippers. So, a good practice is to first get your dog used to the nail clippers before using it to clip nails. This can be done by holding them close to his nails and feet. Remove them after some time. Treat the dog intermittently. Repeat the process 10-15 times. This is enough for Day 1.
On Day 2, move to second step i.e. is to make the dog familiar with the noise the clipper may make. For this, repeat the steps mentioned in previous paragraph. In addition, squeeze the clipper each time you take it near dog’s feet. Treat the dog intermittently. Repeat the steps 10-15 times. Now, when you want to clip your dog’s nails, he will be familiar with the clipper and the sound it makes.
If your dog still feels intimidated at the sight of a nail clipper, he will need more time to get used to it. Repeat the steps mentioned above twice a week for the next few weeks till your dog gets used to the clipper. Meanwhile, if you want to clip his nails, use help from a family member or a friend to hold the dog. Remember that a clipper has sharp edges and can harm your dog if used inappropriately.
Each nail of a dog has an area containing blood vessels and nerves called the “Quick”. Quick is the pink area of toe nail. If your dog’s toe nail is light colored, Quick can be seen by flashing a light onto the nail. So, you have to be careful not to cut it else it will bleed and your dog will get upset. Trick is to identify the Quick and cut the nail till the point just beyond it.
Following infographic will give you more idea about the Quick –
Using the Nail Clipper
Hold the nail clipper tightly in your hand with a firm grip. Press it against the nail and then trim a little portion with a quick firm move.
A good practice is to cut a small portion of the nail at a time and repeat till you are satisfied with the amount of nail cut. However, once in a while you may end up cutting the nail too short resulting in bleeding. If this case, take a small amount of styptic powder in your hand and press it against the bleeding nail. Bleeding should stop within a few seconds. If bleeding doesn’t stop within 5-7 minutes, consult a veterinarian.
Clipping dark colored nails
For dark colored nail, check the end portion of nail. You will see a whitish area. This is the dead part and can be cut. As you trim the nail, a dark area will begin to appear as shown in the photograph. This is where the live portion of nail starts and you should stop cutting the nail here.
How frequently should you cut your dog’s nails?
Ensure that your dog’s nails are just off the ground. Accordingly, decide the frequency of cutting his nails. Depending on the breed and size, you may need to cut his nails anywhere between once per week to once per month.