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Clipping your dog’s nails

Clipping your dog’s nails

Clipping your dog’s nails can easily appear to be a very daunting process, but in reality, it’s not actually that bad – as long as you know what you’re doing. If you’re clipping your dog’s nails, it’s smart to begin by clipping just the very tips off, once per week, to get you both used to the process.

To begin, take note of the following tips for making sure that you clip your dog’s nails in a way that is not painful for either one of you.

  • Having your vet clip your dog’s nails is cheaper than having a groomer do it. So next time your dog gets his or her shots, ask your vet to clip your dogs nails, and watch how it’s done so that you can learn from him or her technique.
  • When you take your dog for a walk, spend as much time on sidewalks and concrete because they’ll wear the nails down naturally.

When you do decide to clip your dog’s nails, you’ll need the following:

  • A good quality pair of dog nail clippers. It’s very worth it to pay a bit more and get a good quality pair, since they’ll last longer, and make the whole experience MUCH easier.
  • A styptic/stylus pencil. It’s one of those things men use to stop the bleeding when they shave too close. There is also a similar product which is available at pet stores to stop bleeding. Try the bird section if you don’t see one in the dog section.
  • A piece of nylon rope large enough to wrap around the dog’s muzzle and tie behind the head, and soft enough that it won’t irritate the skin.
  • Mineral Oil
  • Cotton Balls
  • A person to help you

If your dog is a “biter,” it’s best to muzzle him or her for the experience. This can be done simply by using a soft piece of nylon cord that you wrap around his or her muzzle, and tie under the dog’s chin, then wrap around his or her head and secure tightly behind the ears. Don’t worry, it won’t be on long.

If your dog has never had his or her nails cut, then its likely the sound of the nail clippers causing his or her wariness, as well as the discomfort he or she can sense in you. To help this, try and portray as much confidence to your dog as possible.

Find someone strong enough to hold the dog to help you. The helper should hold the dog by hugging him or her close, with one arm under the belly, holding the closest front leg just above the elbow, and arm over the dog’s back, placing a hand under the dog’s chin to keep his or her head in the air. The holder should speak to the dog, saying familiar, calming phrases.

Dog nails are different colored. Look for a white nail. Look at it carefully, and notice the line of pink that shows in the middle of the nail. This is called the quick. Do not cut the quick. It will bleed, and it’s very painful, like cutting your own nails too short. With black nails, it’s harder to find the quick, so don’t take chances; just cut off the tip.

The more you trim your dog’s nails, the further back the quick will become. It’s good to keep a routine of taking the tips off about once per month.

Should a nail start to bleed, use the stylus/styptic pencil, on it, or apply pressure until the bleeding stops.

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“No man can be condemed for owning a dog.
As long as he has a dog, he has a friend;
and the poorer he gets, the better friend he has.”

– Will Rogers