When you think about grooming a dog, you probably consider bathing him, brushing his coat, even cleaning those floppy ears, but its a good idea to give dogs a pedicure every few weeks as well. If youve never trimmed a dogs nails, ask for some help from a more experienced person, and keep these instructions nearby.
1: Stay Sharp
A few different tools are available to help you trim a dogs nails, including those that resemble miniature pliers and those with replaceable sliding guillotine blades. Use whichever model makes you and the animal most comfortable, but be sure to replace the blade frequently to make the job easier and prevent the dog from feeling any discomfort.
2: Pull Their Legs
Dogs are often pretty cooperative when it comes to having their nails trimmed, and those who were handled often as puppies are even more likely to comply. Still, you may need to work a little to keep the animal still. If youre working alone, have the dog sit or lie down on the floor or examining table, then trim the nails, one paw at a time.
3: Pull Their Legs, Part II
If youre grooming a larger dog or if the animal is apprehensive, have someone sit him down and hold out his paw, then get to work with the clippers. Have your helper scratch behind the dogs ears to reassure the animal and help move things along a little more quickly.
4: Take the Edge Off
Remember that you should only remove the very end of the dogs nails. You may be tempted to trim off all of the excess, but that would be a mistake. In dogs, the quickthe nerve endings and blood vessels inside the nailcontinue to grow as the nail grows. That means long nails must be trimmed bit by bit, over weeks or months, until the quick gradually recedes. Because its so difficult to see the quick in dogs with dark nails, youll need to look at the nail straight on (see diagram below)and keep trimming until you see a small dark circle. If you accidentally clip too far and the nail begins to bleed, apply pressure to the tip of the nail or dip the nail in a bit of styptic powder, then make sure the animal is kept inactive for a short time.
5: Thank Them Very Much
Give the dog a treat or a pat on the tummy to thank him for his cooperation, and things should go at least as well the next time around.
Animal Sheltering Magazine