Trimming your dog’s nails: A Guide

Keeping your dog’s nails neatly trimmed is so much more than a manicure- it is an essential part of their grooming routine! Overgrown nails can be painful and awkward for your dog, and they can break which risks infection and more health problems. Did you know you should check your dogs paws once a month- if they’re overgrown they need a chop! Sadly, we often don’t realise how much time has passed, and how much your pup’s claws have overgrown. Have a check now- with their paw on the floor, check to see if your dog’s nails touch the floor. If they do- they need to be trimmed!

Doggie manicures are not always a fun task, and can make both people and dogs worried. Although it seems a little daunting, we have outlined a few guidelines to keep in mind to make trimming your pup’s nails as stress free as possible!

Before you get stuck in, remember you can teach your pup to tolerate, and maybe even enjoy, nail trimming. If they learn that it leads to exciting things, like treats or new toys– they could learn to love it. So whenever you trim your dog’s nails, immediately follow up with things they enjoy. For example, clip a nail and then feed your dog a delicioustreat. Clip another nail or two and feed another treat. With repetition and a little time, your dog will probably decide that getting their nails done is fun, not frightening.

Take a little extra time to slowly introduce the nail clippers, as well as the sensations involved in trimming. The first time you use clippers, don’t give your dog a full pedicure. Instead, just clip one or two nails, and remember to give your dog treats or play a game right after trimming. Keep it slow and easy so the paid of you don’t get overwhelmed. Also, approach calmly and speak in quiet, soothing tones. If you want your dog to relax, you’ll need to be relaxed too.

Okay, so now to the nitty gritty:

1) Get some treats and your clippers, and take your dog to a quiet area. Keep a clotting powder nearby when you trim your dog’s nails so that you can quickly stop the bleeding if you accidentally cut the quick (more details below!).

2) Choose a nail to trim. Take your dog’s toe and hold it firmly but gently between your fingers.

3) When trimming your dogs nails, you need to avoid the quick. This is the pink bit at the base of your pup’s claw where the blood vessels and nerve endings are. PetLondon have got their paws on an amazing product to help you out, these nail clippers will scan your pup’s nails to find the quick for you as you go.

If your dog has clear nails, you can see the live quick, which looks pink. Cut the nail no closer than about two millimeters from the quick. If your dog has dark nails, you can avoid cutting into the quick by trimming one little sliver of nail at a time, starting with the tip. As you cut slices off your dog’s nail, look at the exposed edge of the cut nail. Eventually, you’ll see a grey or pink oval starting to appear. Stop trimming when you see the oval. Another option with black nails is to have a helper use a torch to back-light each of your dog’s nails while you trim. The light from behind the nail allows you to clearly see the pink quick.

4) If you’re using a guillotine-type trimmer, insert the very tip of your dog’s nail into the hole, holding the trimmer perpendicular to the nail so that you cut from top to bottom, not side to side. When you’ve positioned the trimmer in the right place, squeeze the handles to cut through your dog’s nail.

Take it all super slowly and carefully, and ease your pup -and yourself- into the routine and remember to keep an eye on your pup’s paws!

Happy Grooming!