Is your dog constantly biting his nails or do you hear a clicking sound every time he walks on tiled surfaces? It means your dog needs a nail trimming session. However, it’s quite difficult to get a grooming parlor session in the current scenario. So, how to trim dog nails in your own home? Delve into this article to find out.
How do you know when your dog’s nails need cutting? We often don’t realise Ralph’s nails need cutting until we see him constantly biting them. Also, when walking on the carpet upstairs, we can hear his nails pulling at the thread. This sometimes causes his nails to get stuck and pull which is not great when running around. You may also notice a clicking noise when your dog walks on tiles or concrete. Whatever the reason, there are several options. The most obvious is going to a dog groomer, but you may also want to learn how to trim dog nails at home. And how to do it safely, of course.
All dog groomers will give your dogs nails a trim as part of the grooming session. Some allow you to walk in, and they will do it there and then. If you are looking to save a few quid or your better groomers is too far to travel, then time to find out how to do it yourself.
It was extremely difficult the first time we tried to groom Ralph’s nails. He didn’t want us to touch his feet. Wouldn’t let us near with the clippers. Scratch and clawed at us. It was so stressful for us that, we gave up and took him to a groomer. The second time we tried, we decided to try and distract him with treats. FAILED.
He was not interested. Back to the groomers we went. Finally, we gave it one last shot. We used a Kong filled with peanut butter. My girlfriend held the kong so it didn’t roll away, and I clipped his nails. VOILA! Nicely cut nails. No stress, no barking, no scratching and above all else, no sticking to the carpet.
If your dog suffers from anxiety, then you might want to use clippers rather than a nail grinder, as this could scare your dog more than they are already. The main point is the safety aspect of trimming your dogs’ nails at home. Overall, we want you to feel confident when wondering how to trim your dogs’ overgrown nails and how to do it safely.
How to Trim Dog Nails at Home With Safety
1 Using the Right Equipment to Cut the Nails
Choosing the best dog nail clipping equipment is down to your overall budget and how your dog behaves. Choosing a noisy nail grinder is not the best if your dog hates loud noises. Also, choosing a really cheap pair of clippers may mean they don’t last too long. You don’t want to get halfway through, and they break.
Ensuring you have the right equipment will ensure you can cut your dogs nails safely at home. This includes;
- Clippers – Dog Nail Clippers are exactly that, designed for dogs. Human nail clippers will not work on your dog, don’t try it. We have reviewed the best ones in bright colours, sizes, and very different price ranges.
- Grinders – Dog Nail Grinders are louder than clippers so may not be suitable for anxious dogs. If your dog doesn’t mind the grinder, they can help shape your dog’s nails. Also, they are great to use after clippers so you can remove sharp edges.
- Styptic Powder – It is natural if your dog claw bleeds a little when cutting. This can be caused by cutting slightly too short, so you have caught the nerve OR it is just a bit sensitive and lets out a little blood. Styptic Powder will need to be put on the wounded area quickly to stop the bleeding.
It is natural to be nervous and a little scared about cutting your dogs nails for the first time. Check out this video
2 Paws Anatomy
Understanding dogs’ paws can help you with cutting nails. Unlike humans, dogs have a nerve in the nail that can cause serious discomfort and pain to your dog if cut. Also, a dog pulling its nail can cause dislocation in the claw. Learning how to trim your dog’s nails that are overgrown safely can help prevent any unnecessary injuries.
Let’s take a quick look at a dogs paw; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paw
Here are three things to look out for
- Dew Claws – These don’t even touch the floor and many dogs with these types of claws will have them removed.
- Quick – Dogs that bit their nails, sometimes till it bleeds. Nails should be cut carefully to avoid hitting the quick as this will make the claw bleed.
- Nail – The end bit after the quick. This needs trimming and cutting off to prevent pain and discomfort to your dog.
- Pads – 5 pads, 1 for each claw and a bigger pad protecting the toe joints. Generally, a dark colour should be easy to see and find.
3 When Should You Start Nail Clipping
Grooming your dog yourself is also a form of dog training. Starting clipping your dog’s nails from a young age will help as they get older because they will have got used to it.
As they grow older and stronger, it can be extremely difficult if they are not used to it. Training your dog early on will help for the future. Set their expectations. Treat them regularly throughout. And above all else, try and keep your own stress levels down.
Teaching your kids to cut their nails is the same as dog training. They eventually will accept that this is a part of their life and a requirement. If they know they will be treated along the way then why wouldn’t they behave?
All forms of grooming require the same care and attention. This will ensure the safety aspect is met because grooming a dog that doesn’t want to be is too difficult and unsafe.
4 Grooming Tables VS Raised Surface Area
Starting on the floor is usually the first place people attempt cutting their dogs nails. This is usually why most people quit after the first attempt. Instead, portable dog grooming tables are a good price to ensure you have your dog at a good height. If you don’t have the money to purchase your grooming table, a raised surface such as a dining table or a chair can help.
Many professional groomers will stand behind your dog to cut the nails – this is the most effective as you can reach all 4 paws. You could also try lying them on their sides, assuming they lay still long enough.
Using a grooming table or raised surface makes you at a great height and much more comfortable. You will need to test different ways for your dog to find what is comfortable for them. Ralph will stand up and have his nails clipped but larger dogs lie down.
5 Walking on a Hard Surface
Regular walking is a great way of keeping the grooming expenses down. Concrete and hard grounds will help remove some of the dead nails. Removing all of it will require trimming or grinding but a good long walk will help reduce the number of visits. Plus keeping the cost down as it can soon become expensive.
Walking is great for both of you so make sure to get on regular walks for your benefit. You may need to go every 6 weeks for a trim, with regular walking this time can be up to 13-16 weeks.
6 Free to Watch and Learn with your Vet
Vets and Groomers are always very friendly and professional. Simply ask if it’s ok to watch while you do it. Even ask them to talk you through the process.
Ralphs groomer has helped us establish a great routine and ensured that Ralph is very calm. We quickly gained confidence in trimming Ralph’s nails by watching and learning from a professional. We also ensured that we increased the number of walks, so he doesn’t feel like doing it too often.
Don’t take offence if they refuse to let you watch as this is their lively hood and you are a customer. IF every customer wanted to learn for themselves, they would go out of business.