A happy comfortable dog is one who is regularly bathed, trimmed, and kept looking like he just came out of the doggy stylist shop. Bathing is a task that you can easily do on your own, whereas cutting his hair is something that you are probably better off leaving to the pros. While he is in getting his hair trimmed, the groomer will also clip his nails, but that is a job that needs to be done more often than the hair grooming. Clipping your dog’s nails can easily be done at home, and should be something that you do once a week, unless he constantly runs around on a hard surface and keeps the nails naturally trimmed.
Buy and Use Dog Nail Clippers
Nail clippers are not that big a financial investment, but it does take a few attempts to get comfortable doing the job. Dogs don’t really like their paws being handled, and if you are nervous about trimming those nails, there is more of a chance that you will make a mistake. This is why it is a good idea to do a couple of exercises that will make you and your dog a little more comfortable come nail trimming time. First of all, allow your dog to sniff and examine the clippers, holding them close to his paws, and once he is okay with them, squeeze them near his paws so that he can get used to the sound they make. This also allows you to get used to the sort of pressure you need to exert to make them work.
When you are both comfortable with the idea of the nail clippers, it’s time to get to the trimming. Be aware that when you first start doing this, there is the possibility that you will cut into the quick, and that will mean blood. When you go to buy your nail trimmers, you should also invest in styptic powder, which is applied to a bleeding nail to staunch the flow. Baking soda or corn starch will also work if you do not have the powder.
Parts of the Dog’s Nail
Your dog’s nails comprise of two main parts. The dead section that has no nerve endings or blood vessels and the quick. If your dog has white nails, then identifying the quick (the part with blood vessels in it) will be easy as you can see it. If your dog has black or brown nails, it can be almost impossible to tell exactly where the quick is and it’s best to take off very little nail at a time to avoid cutting that part of the nail.
How to Cut a Dog’s Nails
Place your dog’s nail through the blades of the nail clippers and just remove the “hook” from the nail. This is the end portion that becomes sharp and is shaped like a small hook. Try to cut the nail on the same angle that the dog will be walking on it. This is not too essential though as your dog will quickly get the right angle as he walks around on his newly trimmed nails.
If you are still a little concerned about trimming nails on your dog, ask your local vet or groomer to show you how it is done properly. The idea here is to have a firm grip on the paw and on the clippers, although not so firm that you hurt your dog. A good grip will make it easier to separate the toes and quickly get to the nails. Remember, you are only taking off the very tip of the nail, so be aware of where you are placing the cut. Treats should be on hand throughout the process, and a lot of praise should be lavished on your dog when he behaves well.
Some dog breeds will need to have their nails clipped more often than others. Get in the habit of checking his nails when you bathe him, and don’t trim those nails until it is absolutely necessary.