How to Trim Dog Nails Easily and Safely
You’ve finally taken the plunge and brought home your new pet dog—a beautiful German Shepherd, no less! But you notice he has trouble walking, and when you look closely, you realize his nails are terribly overgrown. If you don’t trim his nails regularly, they could cause him to limp around or even hurt himself. Here’s how to trim your dog’s nails safely and easily so he can get back to running and playing without pain or injury.
The first step in trimming your dog’s nails is to be sure that they are not overgrown. If you can see the pinky nail underneath the black part of the nail, then it’s time to cut them. To get started, you will need a clipper with at least two blades (the more blades there are on a clipper the smoother your cutting experience will be) and some water or lubricant like baby oil. Let’s go over some tools and technique.
The right tools
As with human nails, the best way to trim your dog’s nails is with a nail clipper. But not just any dog nail clippers will do: you want ones that are specially designed for cutting dogs’ nails. Dogs’ nails are made of keratin, just like human fingernails, so you can use clippers meant for people’s nails, too. Just make sure they’re intended for dogs because regular nail clippers will not work as well—if at all. There are several types of dog nail clippers designed for various nail sizes. Here are a couple of our favorite trimmers, that are affordable!
If you don’t have any around the house, go ahead and purchase some at your local pet store or pharmacy. And as always when trimming dogs’ nails, it’s important to get them cut straight across (known as docking) so that they don’t grow back into the dog’s fleshy pad (which is called overgrowth).
There are two types of nail clippers which work well on dogs: scissors style, as well as plier style. Scissors type dog nail clippers look like human fingernail clippers and may not always cut evenly on a dog’s nail. For this reason, pliers-style dog clippers should be used instead. To make it easier for both you and your dog, try trimming nails every week or two – they grow fast!
The right technique
First, hold the paw in one hand and with the other clip away any excess hair on the pad. Next, take your chosen tool in hand and gently squeeze it between their toes so that you can get as close to their nail as possible without touching.
Place one hand on top of the paw to keep your dog steady while you use the other hand to trim his nails. Make sure that you are getting as close as possible to the quick without cutting into it. Hold on tight if he tries to move around and make him feel secure by speaking calmly and soothingly with him. Don’t attempt to clip dewclaws unless you know what you’re doing or have been instructed by a professional.
The correct way to do it is shown in a YouTube video here.
You can also download this PDF, “How to Trim a Dog’s Nails“.
After you’re done
Make sure your dog is comfortable with your “work” and give him or her a treat to say thanks for being such a great puppy through this process!
Dog nails will grow over time, so it’s important for pet owners to stay on top of trimming them. If you’re just starting out, clipping the nails might be a bit more difficult than you anticipated. However, with some practice, you’ll find that it becomes easier and easier every time.
I hope this helps you better understand the process, as well as provide you with instructions on what tools you will need in order to complete the task.