How to Trim Your Dog's Nails in 6 Easy Steps

It is recommended that you trim your puppy’s nails every three to four weeks. Long nails can cause pain and discomfort for your pet, so if her nails are clicking on the floor or snagging the carpet, you know it’s time for a pedicure. It’s not as hard as it may seem, but your dog may not be so accepting if she wasn’t introduced to a routine nail trim from an early age. As it is with most other aspects of grooming, the best strategy is to begin conditioning her paws early by touching and handling them regularly. You can do this by giving your puppy small treats and ample amounts of praise when you handle
her paws.

Start by gently touching her paws, then gradually build up to handling her toes until you can slightly squeeze each toe without it pulling away. You can try the same approach with an older dog, but learning will likely take longer, since it is generally easier for a puppy’s mind to absorb new information.

Now that you and your puppy are ready, follow these six simple steps to achieve the perfect pedicure.

  1. Find a well-lit area and get in a position that will be comfortable for you and your puppy. Use trimmers that are designed for pet use only, and make sure the trimmers are sharp to avoid injuring your pet. You can ask your trusted veterinarian or groomer for advice about which type of nail trimmer will work best for your dog.
  2. Start with the front paws. Hold the paw firmly in your hand, then push down on the top of the toe gently, which will cause the nail to stick out.
  3. Start at the tip of the nail and trim small pieces at a 45-degree angle, being careful to avoid the quick, which runs down the center of
    the nail.
  4. Don’t forget to also trim your puppy’s dewclaws if she has them. Dewclaws are located on the inside of the leg, near the ankle.
  5. Since dewclaws are prone to tearing, and removal or injury can cause greater problems for a dog after the bones and blood vessels have developed, many puppies have their dewclaws removed during the neonatal period.
    When you have finished trimming all the nails on all four paws, use a file to smooth out each nail. Once again, exercise caution and avoid getting too close to the quick when filing.
  6. Once the process is over, be sure to praise your dog and reward her with a jackpot of treats. As you both continue to become better acquainted with nail care, the difficulty of the process should begin to diminish. Your job will become easier as you gain familiarity and confidence through practice, and your dog will become accustomed to the procedure, eventually recognizing nail care as a positive experience thanks to the praise and treats she receives.

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