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The Stress-Free Way to Trim Your Dog’s Nails


Oh, nail trimming – the dreaded task. In general, canines aren’t crazy about having their paws touched, but add a strange metal object to the mix and you are looking at a far-from-thrilled four-legged friend. Luckily, there are several ways to make nail trimming easier, less stressful, and quicker. That’s what we want, right? Read on to learn more…

  1. To begin, desensitize. If you only reach for your dog’s paws when you have to trim his nails, he’ll learn to enter panic mode every time you do (dogs are very quick to form these negative associations). To prevent this from happening, start by touching his paws at random and during low stress scenarios – aka when you’re not about to trim his nails. Lounging on the couch with a book? Indulge your furry friend with a nice massage, and casually include his paws. Add a few tasty treats to the mix, and he’ll be more likely to become accustomed to feet touching in general.
  1. Find the right tool. These days, there are many different options on the market. One rule of thumb: For medium to large dogs, try a stronger scissor-style nail clipper like this one. For smaller pups, the guillotine style trimmer makes it easy to trim without feeling like you’re wielding a pair of bush clippers. If using a sharp object around your furry pal makes you nervous, a nail grinder — which files instead of trims — might be your answer. You can read about how to properly use one here.
  1. Trim a little at a time. If you have a dog with dark nails, it’s harder to see where the quick — or the area in the nail where the blood vessels and nerves begin — making the whole procedure a terrifying guessing game. Start by trimming a tiny bit at a time – no more than 8th an inch. One tip: when you start to see a circle inside the center of the nail, that’s your cue to stop! There are even nail clippers that will sense when you are approaching the quick and will flash a light to notify you.
  1. Have a first-aid kit ready. If you accidentally trim into the quick, stay calm. Dog nails bleed excessively – so much so that you’ll be tempted to rush to the emergency room. Styptic powder is your best friend, so have some handy, along with a few cotton pads. Your other best friend? Making sure you incorporate plenty of concrete or paved walks in your daily exercise routine – the hard ground acts as a natural nail filer and will keep your pup’s nails healthy and strong. It doesn’t replace nail trimming entirely, but it will make the task easier in the long run (no pun intended!).

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