How to keep your dog’s nails trimmed
I know how stressful and frustrating it is to keep your dog’s nails trimmed if the dog is nervous or stressed. Here, I share my personal experience of trying to trim the nails of my rescue dog Darcy. I then go on to give a step by step guide to trimming your dog’s nails which should give you the confidence to do it at home. In addition, I also explain why it is so important to keep the nails short. Also, what can happen if they grow too long.
Darcy came to me as a rescue and he will retaliate if he even thinks someone is going to hurt him. Therefore, it was never going to be easy to cut his nails. They were getting long and I was trying everything I could to cut them at home. I have always trimmed my dog’s nails myself and never had a problem..until now!
Firstly, I left the nail clippers hanging around where he could see them. I wanted him to be familiar with them when it came to using them.
Next, I sat with him on my knee and pretended to file my nails with the dog file! It didn’t work!
We tried offering treats and using a muzzle but we got absolutely nowhere. This is the only dog I’ve ever struggled with and he only likes to walk on grass. It was, however, a problem that was not going away!
. I was nervous about taking him to the vet because they need their fingers to make a living and I didn’t want to jeopardise someone’s livelihood!
Last time I took him to a grooming parlour and that traumatised him. The sight of three grown adults trying to hold a 5kg dog was not for the faint-hearted!
On Friday, he went off to see a vet who had been fully briefed on Darcy’s problem nails. He was muzzled and the vet took off a little from each nail whilst talking to Darcy in a very soothing voice. He screamed and wriggled as if we were amputating his head not cutting his nails. The waiting room had emptied when we left!
So, we made progress and I feel so relieved. In two weeks we have to go again to cut the claws a little more. The vet has prescribed Adaptil to keep him calm and we have to go armed with chicken.
Here is a photo of my little angel, Mr. Darcy,……. mini dachshund, massive attitude!
Why is it important to keep your dog’s nails trimmed.
If you tend to walk your dog on grass or he/she is elderly or more sedentary you will probably need to give a nail trim every few weeks.
Long nails can be extremely painful for dogs and lead to joint pain and arthritis. In addition to this, long nails can snag on blankets, etc and damage the nail bed. Long claws can badly affect a dog’s mobility.
Sometimes after a nail is damaged it may grow at a different angle to the others so special care could be needed.
A step by step guide to cutting a dog’s nails.
The main thing to remember is to avoid the quick. This is the pink part of the nail which provides the blood supply to the nail. If it is accidentally cut it will bleed and be painful for the dog. With black nails, it can be particularly hard to spot the quick so it may be best for a groomer to trim them. Also, they can be filed or trimmed just 1mm at a time.
If you cut the quick don’t panic! the nail should stop bleeding within five minutes.
(You can use cornstarch or a bar of soap to help stop the bleeding, just hold against the paw for one minute)
This picture demonstrates how and why you need to cut the nail at a 45-degree angle to avoid the quick.
You need to cut from underneath the nail.
Start with the back legs, these are usually shorter and need trimming less often.
Don’t forget the dew claws, (on the inner leg) these can grow in a circle and become very painful if they’re not trimmed.
Use good quality nail trimmers. I use these because they are the same as the ones the vet uses. Make sure that you purchase the correct size depending on the breed of dog.
Have lots of treats to hand, give them after each foot is complete and the dog should stay distracted.
If the nails are very hard and brittle soak them in the bath to soften them.
If the nails are long, the quick will be long too, so take off a tiny bit every few days.
Consider using a nail grinder if you are nervous about cutting the quick.
A few drops of rescue remedy in the water bowl will help to relax the dog before his nails are trimmed, it is completely natural and highly recommended for anxious dogs.
I hope you have found this information helpful.