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How to Clip Your Dog’s Nails
A Jack Russell Terrier gets his nails trimmed

How to Clip Your Dog’s Nails

Clipping a pet’s nails, particularly a dog’s, can be an arduous task. Often neither party enjoys the process, and it can be traumatic for both sides. However, owners should not be tempted to leave the nails alone, as this can lead to some severe health problems. These problems can include ingrown nails, splitting of nails, and/or back and tendon problems, as the dog will be forced to stand in unnatural positions to compensate for the nail length. To keep a happy and healthy pet, trim their nails. Here’s how to do it safely.

When are nails too long?

As soon as you can hear that tic-tac sound on hard surfaces, the nails are too long. Dog’s nails grow continuously throughout their lives. In the wild, the nails would be naturally worn down due to the dog crossing various different terrains in their everyday life. This can be implemented in the day-to-day care of a dog simply by taking them for walks on varying hard surfaces. If this is not possible, or is not wearing the nails down enough, then other measures will have to be taken.


The main method of trimming dog’s nails is, of course, by using a clipper. Owners should be careful when choosing the clippers, as a pair that is too large can cut too much off the nail. Inside the nail of a dog are blood vessels and nerves that form the quick. Cutting too high up in a nail can nick this, causing pain to the dog and also a lot of bleeding. When cutting a nail it is best to take off only tiny sections at a time.

Those who are inexperienced may find it worthwhile to take a trip to a vet or groomer to get some tips and see how to do this properly. The vast majority of dogs also don’t like their claws clipped, so whilst performing this necessary maintenance, it is important to make it a fun experience for the dog as well. Offering treats and a lot of petting is a sure way to make it a less traumatising event.

Other Methods

Clippers can be daunting to those first-timers, so there is another option in the form of a nail file or grinder. There are many of these on the market. They run on batteries and tend to be rather quiet and less intrusive for the nervous dog. As with the clippers, however, it is important to only take off small amounts of the nail at any one time. A cut quick will stay in the memory of your pet for a long time and make their pedicure that much harder.

Good nail maintenance is vital, and practice will make perfect, but there are always a few dogs that will be a handful. In those situations, it can be sensible to get the nails done by a professional.

Comments (1)

  1. Well you didn’t say how to do it.
    I was hoping for a technique to hold the dog.

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