How to trim a dogs nails

A question I get asked frequently in the clinic is "How Do I Trim My Dogs Nails?"

Successfully trimming dogs claws begins long before you go to trim them. Can you touch and handle your dog's’ feet to check if they need trimming? Can you see the claws or are they covered in hair. If they are covered in hair you probably need to be able to trim that too.

Training your dog to like or tolerate their feet being handled is important from puppyhood. Put the collar and lead on so you can control them better. Do it after a walk or after they have been playing for a while. Gently play with and handle their feet once they are calm and relaxed and not bouncing around wanting to play. Reward them for small periods of being relaxed with praise and or small food treats. Don’t reward pulling the foot away or wriggling around. Repeat this often and they should become better to actually cut their nails.

Ok let's cut those claws. I find that the dog standing up and lifting the foot upside down and backwards enough to see the underside of the nail is the best. On most pet's you can see the “hollow” nail to be cut off before the body of the nail starts (see the image below). If in doubt don’t cut it off. I find most dogs are happiest to show you their nails this way rather than pulling their feet up and forward and certainly not out to the side.

If you are doing this at home the aim is not to make it torture. If your dog really doesn't like toenail trims try one today, make a fuss and do another one in 2 days time. Just don’t leave it until they are all overgrown and all need to be done yesterday.

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The Bloomin Vet  - Veterinary Clinic Greenbank