It’s no big secret, most dogs don’t like getting their nails trimmed. Many dogs, especially dogs that might be on the spoiled side, will do everything they can to keep you from clipping their nails.
We recommend gathering up a little bit of patience, a lot of treats, and this list of tips. If you follow these recommendations to clip your dog’s nails, it will help make it a much easier process for you and your dog.
#1: Get your dog used to being handled
Start by getting your dog used to having their paws touched. Touch your dog’s paws for just a few seconds at a time, with treats in between. Be sure that you touch the front and back paws. Next, start placing the clippers next to their food bowl days or even weeks before you plan on clipping their nails. That way those clippers become associated with good things.
#2: Pretend to clip
Pretend to clip their nails, with treats in between, to get them used to seeing the clippers. This way they know that the clippers are not scary. To do this:
- Get the clippers out.
- Hold the dog gently.
- Touch each of the dog’s nails with the clippers, without actually clipping anything.
- Talk to them outloud, and give them encouragement while doing this. Good Dog! What a good pup you are being!
- Give them treats.
With all of that positivity they won’t think clippers are so bad after all. Remember to do this step several times before you actually trim their nails.
#3: Give them a bath first
It always helps to bathe your dog first. Bathing the dog will soften their nails, and makes the clipping go easier and faster. If you’re having trouble giving your dog a bath, then you should read our helpful article on that, too.
#4: Get down on their level.
It helps to get down on the floor with your dog. You can try putting them up on a table to bring them up to your level, but that could add some danger and stress to the dog. They might try to jump off the table which could injure them and stress both of you out.
I like getting down on the ground where they are. If you can get them to lie down that’s even better. Some dogs are happy to do that, and some dogs will absolutely not let you get close to their nails while they’re lying down. So just work with your dog, and figure out their preferences before starting.
#5: Give them lots of treats
Peanut butter is a great treat option. It keeps them occupied longer than a single small treat. If you put some peanut butter on your finger, then they have to lick it off. This will distract them for a good amunt of time, and makes it easier for you to trim their nails. You can also put peanut butter on the wall of the bathtub, if you’re trimming their nails after a bath. Another great option is putting the peanut butter on a spoon. They will get so distracted licking the spoon that they will forget what’s going on with their paws!
#6: Having a buddy helps
Teamwork always helps when grooming a dog. One person can occupy and hold the dog, while you or your buddy clips the dog’s nails.
#7: Mind their nail color
If your dog’s nails are white. Lucky you! You can see the quick, and gently clip just above it. If the nails are black, you have to be much more careful. It’s helpful if you keep the clippers level and parallel to the dog’s pads. Your dog’s quicks usually won’t grow longer than their pads.
#8: Be prepared for accidents!
When you are first starting to trim your dog’s nails, accidents might happen. Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. You just need to be prepared for this ahead of time. There are products you can have on hand in case you do cut the quick, and your dog’s nails start to bleed. Use a powder called Kwik Stop that you can pick up at the local pet store. That will stop the bleeding.
If your dog is now totally stressed out, STOP. You can finish at another time. You don’t want to associate nail trims with stress or high anxiety. That just makes it harder for you and your dog in the future.
#9: Clip in smaller bits
It’s better to clip a little bit more often, versus a lot at once. This is especially true if you haven’t clipped your dog’s nails in a very long time. Those quicks do grow out, and sometimes will grow out all the way to the tip. So you have to just barely cut the tips, and not cut back too far or you will definitely clip those quicks and cause bleeding and stress.
#10: Hold your dog’s legs close
Folding your dog’s leg close to their body will limit their range of motion. This makes it easier to keep them still, and it lowers the risk for injury for you and your dog.
We hope these ten tips help make those nail trims less stressful and more successful. Best of luck in grooming your dog. As always, if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Moses… by tracydonald
MMmm… by Christine