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Trimming A Dog's Nails Yourself

Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed and tidy plays an important role in their overall health and hygiene. While it may seem intimidating, trimming your dog’s nails is actually a simple and non-invasive procedure if done correctly. Regardless of how you do it, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to trimming your dog’s nails.

Make Sure Your Dog is Comfortable

Before getting started, you’ll want to make sure that your pup is comfortable with all aspects of trimming their nails, including:

Tools

Expose your dog to the tools you plan on using when trimming their nails so that they don’t feel scared or surprised when they see them. Allow your dog to look at and smell the tools, and be sure to reward them with a treat and reassurance along the way. Our Crav’n Bac’n Bites are the perfect choice for training because they offer an explosion of flavor and just 3 calories per treat.

Physical Touch

Try to gently touch and hold your dog’s paws in order to get them used to the feeling of you handling them for trimming purposes. Doing this will help them avoid feeling sensitive to having their paws touched and held. Make sure to reinforce your dog’s positive behavior with treats and praise throughout the process.

dog outside in snow with meal mixers showing off paws

Position

Before you decide how to position your pup for trimming their nails, explore different options to find the right fit. Once you have the preferred position, regularly get your dog situated in that manner so that it isn’t something entirely new when it comes time to trim their nails. As with the other suggestions, be sure to reward your pup with treats and words of encouragement as you go along.

Sound

The sound of a nail clipper or grinder can be scary, which is why it’s especially important to expose your dog to noises that these tools make before you start using them to trim your dog’s nails. By doing so, your dog will hopefully be accustomed to the sounds and not afraid of them. And, as always, be sure to reward good behavior with your pup’s favorite treat and praise.

Once you’re confident that your dog is comfortable with the steps involved with trimming their nails, it’s time to pick the right tool to get the job done!

Using the Right Tool

There are many different types of tools that can be used to trim your dog’s nails. From scissors and grinders to guillotine styles and more, you’ll want to pick the right tool that will work best for both you and your dog. If you’ve never trimmed your dog’s nails, it might not hurt to consult with your veterinarian to help you choose the right option.

dog with kibble on staircase showing its paw

Steps for Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Now that your dog is comfortable with the process and you have the right tool in hand, it’s time to start trimming their nails! Below are the straightforward steps for giving your pup the perfect manicure.

  1. Get your dog situated in the preferred position you established that works best for both of you.
  2. Pick up your dog’s paw firmly, but gently, and ensure that you have a stable grip.
  3. Take the process one toe at a time and only clip the tip of the nail. Try to avoid clipping past the curve of your dog’s nail, as this can present a risk for hitting the quick, which is the pink area of the nail where blood vessels are located. For dogs with dark nails, it’s especially important to take this process one small clip at a time because it’s more difficult to see their quick. To be safe, be sure to have some kind of clotting powder readily available in case bleeding occurs.
  4. Once all nails are trimmed, give lots of kisses and their favorite Stella & Chewy’s treats!

If these steps sound intimidating, don’t worry! Many pet parents seek out a professional when it comes to grooming their dog, including nail trims.

Seeking Out a Professional

Sometimes it’s easier to call for help when it comes to trimming your dog’s nails. Scheduling an appointment with a professional groomer or veterinarian is something that a lot of pet parents do and it can bring peace of mind and reassurance that the process is being done right. For professional recommendations, ask the people closest to you or give your vet a call.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Trim

Long nails can cause injury to your dog’s foot or leg because the long nail hits the ground and adds unnecessary pressure. Unless you’re regularly walking your dog, have an at-home remedy for trimming their nails that doesn’t include tools (i.e. sandpaper board), or send them to the groomer, it can be a risk to your dog’s health if you don’t trim their nails. When possible, we encourage all pet parents to keep their dog’s nails trimmed.

Learn More from Stella & Chewy’s

At Stella & Chewy’s, we always want pets and pet parents to live happy and healthy lives! Check out our guide to at-home dog grooming for more helpful tips.

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Dog