Dogs Nails

11 June 2019 | Dog Advice

How To Cut Your Dogs Nails

Should you cut your dogs nails? Cutting your dogs nails is an important part of the grooming process. Certain dog breeds require more grooming than other dog breeds and, in some cases, as the same with humans, dog’s nails can grow particularly fast and therefore you must keep on-top of keeping them respectfully short and well-trimmed.

Dog’s that live in the wild would naturally wear their nails down by travelling and hunting over different terrains. This is simply not the case with domestic dogs. Most household dogs go for a minimum of two walks a day and if they’re lucky enough, they also have a garden to play in. All this activity is not enough for any dog breed to naturally wear their nails down.

If your dog’s nails are left uncared for, they can grow too long and cause health issues later down the line. You can easily tell if your dog’s nails are too long as they will make rather a lot of noise walking across any hard surface and if the nail has started to curl under because of the length, they may develop a slight issue with their balance and the way in which they’re walking. In extreme cases, if the nail has grown too long, it can continue to grow and curl around and become embedded in the dog’s paw. This will cause severe pain and further health issues.

Not all dogs enjoy getting their nails cut, in fact, some dog breeds find it rather distressing and are petrified of the process. This shouldn’t stop you from keeping on top of trimming their nails. If you’re lacking in confidence and experience, cutting your dog’s nails, then you should seek professional help and guidance from your local veterinary practice. Regular upkeep of your dogs’ nails goes a long way towards their health and wellbeing. Regular trimming of their nails can prevent the following;

  • Stop them from curling and becoming ingrown
  • Helps prevent infections of the nail area
  • Helps prevent snagging of your carpet and other floors within your home
Dogs nails cut
Dogs nails being cut

result in a lot of pain and discomfort. This can also cause issues such as arthritis if they’re putting too much pressure on the bones of their paws at the wrong angles. Long nails can also cause your dog to become less steady on their paws and they will struggle to play properly and less likely to be able to prevent themselves from falling or landing properly, which could increase the risk of them breaking or fracturing a bone.

How often should you cut your dogs nails?

Keeping your dog’s nails well-trimmed and clipped is an essential part of the grooming process. If your dog can easily tolerate getting their nails cut, then you can easily cut or file them yourself. You must ensure that you have the confidence, patience and experience to cut your dog’s nails. Some dog breeds have a darker coloured nail and therefore its harder to see where the vain ends. If your dog does have black nails, then its recommended to either file the end ever so gently or take your dog to the vets where they can get their nails cut professionally.

The frequency depends on several different factors, which include the breed of the dog and their lifestyle. A dog breed that spends a lot of time outdoors running around and exploring will naturally file their own nails from the surface of the ground. A dog that falls into the toy dog breed group spends more time indoors and therefore will need their nails cutting more frequently.

 My dog won’t let me cut their nails

If your dog is refusing to allow you near their nails, then you must stop immediately. If you push too much they may wriggle, and you can cause injury to the nail. A wriggling dog can cause you to pull too hard with the clipper and dislodge their nail from their nail bed. You can also stress your dog out by forcing them to keep still whilst cutting their nails. All this combined will only make the dog more scared and difficult to cut their nails in the future.

Instead, you should stop what you’re doing and let the dog destress and instead book an appointment at the vets or local grooming parlour where they can be seen professionally.

If your dog really won’t tolerate you cutting his nails, then you should never just leave them. Instead, speak to a professional dog groomer or your veterinarian who may have more success. 

Recommended nail clippers

There are two recommended nail clippers suitable for cutting your dogs nails, these are the scissor style and guillotine. Personal preference is the key to choosing what cutter you go for. Both work equally well and have the same performance.

Five easy steps for cutting your dogs nails

  • Inspect your dogs’ paws to ensure their pads are free of debris, dirt or ticks
  • Ensure you have a firm but gentle hold of their paw. Hold the trimmer so that you’re cutting them nail from the top to the bottom at a very slight angle. You must not do this side-to-side and never trim at a blunt angle. Whilst trimming the nail you must try to maintain the natural curve of the nail
  • Cut a little bit of the nail each time. Do this gently until you see the beginning of the nail-coloured circle., The nail-coloured circle indicates that you are close to the vein that runs through the nail, this is known as the quick. If you do cut the vein, it will bleed. Simply use a cold compress to stop the bleeding and supervise to ensure that it stops. If you’re concerned, then you must take your dog to the vest immediately.
  • File the nails after cutting to ensure their smooth and to prevent any snagging.

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