Trimming Nails Of An Anxious Dog

Trimming Nails Of An Anxious Dog

Darcy came to me as a rescue and he will retaliate if he even thinks someone is going to hurt him so 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, sometimes going to extreme lengths to get him to trust me.

First I left the nail clippers hanging around where he could see them (he hates anything new in the house) His inquisitive nature would mean that the clippers had been thoroughly examined by Darcy’s nose and passed his house rules. Unfortunately, the vacuum cleaner has never passed this examination and poor Henry Hoover is attacked on a daily basis.

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 as he only likes to walk on grass it was 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!

So 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.

Just wanted to add that Darcy is the most loving dog in normal circumstances. I think his feisty, stubborn side is what got him through some horrendous situations so I make massive allowances for him.

Does anyone else have trouble cutting their dogs nails?

Has anyone got any tips?

Here is a photo of my little angel, Mr Darcy,……. mini dachshund, massive attitude!


Mr Darcy2




20 thoughts on “Trimming Nails Of An Anxious Dog

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  1. I have never personally had major issues with cutting my rescue’s nails. However- I had an idea… what about an anxiety jacket? I was considering getting one for mine due to anxiety surrounding large crowds and loud noises. Maybe this could help? Worth a shot, considering Darcy’s nails are just going to keep on growin! Just search thunder shirt or anxiety jacket for dogs on amazon. Or I found this link. Hope you find a solution!

    1. Do you know what? He has one and I totally forgot!!
      I can’t believe I did that, thank you so much. I put it away with his winter coats I think it works a little but I’ve heard they can work miracles for some dogs. Thanks again Regina I will make sure he’s wearing it for his next trip!

  2. My jack Russell, Bonnie once had everyone in the waiting room wondering if the vet was murdering a dog in his surgery, due to the huge fuss she kicked up regarding her “pedicure”.

      1. She’s a particularly tiny old girl. When it comes to the other dogs, she thinks she’s a Rottweiler, and has often got herself into trouble, but is an absolute baby when it comes to nails and teeth.

  3. I have had similar issues with 2 Pugs that I rescued from a backyard breeder. I have worked with a behaviorist and have done desensitization work to help get the Pugs used to the clippers and associate them with something good like treats. It has worked for one of the dogs successfully, the other not so much.

    I think part of the problem is like you said the way groomers can be that scares the dog. I groom all my dogs, but still am unable to cut this one pups nails. was able to find a mobile groomer in my area who allowed me to enter the mobile grooming truck with my pup and together with soft tones high praise and reassurance from me we were successful. I would say she’s the right person to cut my boys nails from now on 🙂 I honestly think you need to find that right groomer who will work with you and help your dog feel more

    When all else fails, there are natural herbs and essential oils that can help calm your dog in these type of situation. I believe you need to try and see which one works for your pup successfully.

    Lavender essential oil and Rescue Remedy are 2 things I use to help relax a rescue dog that was labeled “aggressive” and it has been very successful! You can read about their use in my posts.

    1. Thank you so much for this really helpful comment and I certainly will pop over to your blog to take a look. I think I have found a vet who understands and who is willing to take the time and build up a relationship so I will continue with her. To be honest it wasn’t much more expensive than the groomers and such a better experience. Darcy’s nails are black and thick so you can’t see the quick which is a worry, Thank you again for your help.

  4. I totally understand! The Pugs have the same thick black nails. Good luck, I know in time you will be successful in changing Darcy’s view of the experience 🙂

  5. I just read this on cutting Darcy’s nails. I had 3 dacshunds and 2 out of the 3 were horrendous to clip. One would scream like she was being murdered, the other one would bite us so had to be muzzled.And we couldn’t even think about clipping them unless we were heavily armed with treats. All of my dogs have since passed but I plan on rescuing more but have decided that I will leave the clipping of the nails to the professionals…I was tramatic for me as well! Hahaha

    1. You would think they were having major surgery! Darcy is the smallest dog I have ever had but he fights like a lion haha Good Luck with rescuing more and thank you for stopping by.

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