how to clip a dog's nails

How to Clip a Dog’s Nails Without Stress

Much like humans, a dog’s nail does not naturally wear out and requires maintemance to prevent discomfort and injuries. Your veterinary can handle your dog’s claws during a routine examination, but you can also take care of them in the comfort of your home. You need to know how to clip a dog’s nails the right way and a bit of practice and patience. As a bonus, you will save on vet bills!

Unmaintained claws can break, get tangled and annoy your dog. If you hear your dog when he is walking on a hard surface, it means it’s time to cut its claws.

When should you cut your dog’s nails and how often?

To determine the right time to take care of your dog’s claws, you should pay attention to him when he is standing. If the claws are touching the ground or are twisting on their toes, it clearly indicates they need to be clipped. You can also hold the paws and pull in the pads to fully expose the full lenght of the claws and better assess how long they are. It’s also a nice way for your dog to develop a better comfort level when his paws are touched, examined, cleaned up, etc. Your job will definitely be much easier when it’s time to cut your dog’s claws. As a general rule, a dog’s claws need to trimmed every other month. A house dog will probably require more frequent trims than one who hangs out outside on a regular basis.

Maintaining your dog’s claws is essential for his health and well-being. You can do it yourself, but only if you have a suitable nail clipper.


how to clip a dog's claws

Which nail clippers to choose?

The choice of claw cutter must be made according to the size of your dog. For a small dog, the claw cutters are very practical because they are easy to handle. For a large dog, on the other hand, it is better to use an electric file if possible.

What to do if the cut claw is bleeding?

If you accidentally cut your dog’s nail too short, it will bleed profusely but don’t panic. Take a compress or cotton wool soaked in cold water, then press on the clipped nail for one to two minutes to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding persists, make a bandage that you will leave in place for a few hours.

4 tips to cut your dog’s nails without any stress

If your dog takes regular and long walks, his nails will wear out and will not need much attention. Claws of dogs that don’t go out much will keep growing and it will be necessary to cut them on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy task and if the dog is anxious or stressed about it, his owner could become as much stressed! So how do you clip your dog’s nails without stress?

Adopt the right position

It really depends on the body size of the dog. The best way to clip the dog’s nails will vary accordingly. We recommend to set up a small size dog on your knees to be able to maintain him well. For a large size dog set him up either sitting next to you or lying in front of you so that you can hold his legs without effort.

Identify the area of the claw to cut

With dogs with white claws, it is quite easy to spot the area of the nail extending beyond the pink part that’s made up of blood vessels. However, for dogs with darker claws, the process is not as easy and you will need to light up the underside of the claws and properly locate its roots.

how to clip a dog's nailshow to clip a dog's nails without stress



The claw file


If you are worried about hurting your pet with a classic claw cutter, the claw file may be a good solution. There are battery-operated models with multiple speeds and different aperture sizes. Do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian for advice.


If your dog does not give in and the cut of his nails becomes an ordeal, know that there are tips to encourage the natural wear of the dog’s nails. Among them, sandpaper. Educator, Donna Hill exposed this tip in a video posted on Youtube. She simply covered a panel of sandpaper and encouraged her dog to scrape it using the clicker training method. The result is almost magical!


Desensitize your dog to cutting claws

To make claw cutting as smooth as possible, try to desensitize your dog by getting him used to handling his paws. Ask him to give you the paw and then keep it in your hand. If your dog does not resist, reward him with a treat (a caress, a game …). Repeat the exercise then start to touch its paw, feel it, examine it and reward him when he lets himself go. When he is used to it, go to the next step: familiarization with the claw cutter.

In the video below, an educator teaches how to clip a dog’s nails using positive reinforcement. Pretty cool!

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