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  1. dogs health and wellness

Everything You Need To Know About Dog Nail Trimming

Posted by Dr. Roth on August 10, 2022

Wellness Care
Puppy & Kitten
dog-nail-trimming-guide-six-helpful-tips-for-pet-parents-featured-image

A well-groomed dog is a happy and healthy dog. Grooming is pet care and is not just for aesthetics. Skipping grooming services can cause discomfort for pets, potentially leading them to act out or become vulnerable to illness. Keeping a dog healthy is essential, and there are ways that pet parents can take an active role in grooming and pet health. 

Pet parents can accomplish many grooming services at home. With a positive attitude, the proper tools, and a little confidence, any pet parent can perform a few grooming tasks. Learning how to perform these tasks, like trimming dog nails, will save time traveling to and from grooming appointments and strengthen the bond between pet and parent. 

How To Make Dog Nail Trimming Easier 

Dog nail trimming is a practice that pet parents can handle themselves. Feeling comfortable with this practice is essential for a dog and their pet parent to feel safe in this process. Here are a few tips for trimming your dog's nails to make it easier. 

1. Invest in a Vet-Recommended Nail Clipper or Nail Grinder 

Using the best nail trimmers when grooming a dog's nails can make this process much smoother. Using a tool like the Millers Forge Pet Nail Clipper will ensure that all clips are quick and precise. The sharp blades of these nail trimmers give professional results, even when used on tough nails, and the angle of the blades allows the clippers to sit comfortably in the hand so pet parents can focus on a job well done. 

A pet care kit of vet-recommended tools, such as these dog nail trimming tools and other products, will go a long way in keeping the grooming process simple and easy. 

2. Ensure the Dog Is in a Comfortable Environment 

Dogs will respond better to having their paws touched and groomed if they are in a comfortable environment. Instead of trapping the dog in a space where they don't spend much time, the pet parent should choose a safe and familiar location. For example, if a dog likes to get ready with their parent in the morning, the bathroom could be an excellent place for dog nail grooming. It will feel like routine for the dog.

3. Allow the Dog To Become Familiar With Grooming Supplies 

Although a pet parent’s instinct may be to stealthily grab the nail clippers from their hiding place before the dog can see them, it’s a good idea to allow the dog to investigate the grooming supplies. This includes letting the dog sniff and nose around the clippers. The pet parent may find the dog has little reaction to the nail trimming process after becoming familiar with the supplies. If overgrown nails are actively prevented, this process will become routine for a dog in no time. 

4. Be Careful Not To Cut Into the Quick of the Dog's Nail Beds 

A dog's nails include the hard nail surface and a soft cuticle, or quick, within the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. Cutting the nail quick can be very painful for dogs, or even bloody, due to the abundance of blood vessels in this area. 

Here are a couple of strategies to keep dogs’ nail beds safe:

  • Use nail clippers with a quick guard. Many dog nail trimming tools come with a quick guard. This usually looks like a little metal flap that can be moved from side to side on the clippers. Place the guard in between the blades of the clippers. This guard will serve as a stopper to keep the nails from being cut too short. 

  • Help the quick recede. The nail quick will grow along with the nail, so nail trimming becomes more challenging when the nails aren't trimmed frequently. Trim just a little bit off the tip of the dog's nails once per week for a few weeks to get the quick to recede. Trimming won’t need to occur as frequently once the quick has receded, so long as pet parents maintain regular grooming.  

Because accidents happen, Fuzzy recommends that pet parents keep a styptic powder nail treatment in the medicine cabinet in case they trim their dog's nails a bit too close. The powder stops the bleeding and can be medicated for pain relief. 

5. Use Positive Reinforcement Throughout the Process 

Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement. Pet parents know their dog's favorite treats, so they should have them ready to dole out, starting when their dog is exhibiting calm behavior when they begin the nail-clipping process. Dogs should continue to be rewarded with treats and praise as they allow their parents to pick up and handle their paws and clip their nails. 

In addition to using positive reinforcement with dogs, maintaining a positive attitude throughout the process is critical. Dogs feed off of people’s energies. Staying calm, confident, and positive will help dogs relax, keeping dogs and pet parents safe. 

6. Use a Professional Groomer if Unable to Develop an At-Home Nail Care Routine

Pet parents can absolutely go to a professional groomer if unable to develop a routine at home. What matters is that their dog’s nails stay well-groomed. Groomers simply cost more than at-home care routines.  

Almost all groomers offer nail trimming services for dogs. To find a quality, trusted groomer, pet parents can ask around their community or search for well-reviewed groomers online. Fuzzy vets can also let pet parents know what to look out for in reviews or make referrals based on available services in the Fuzzy member’s area.

Join a Pet Telehealth Community for Further Grooming Advice 

A pet telehealth service like Fuzzy can offer even more insight and support with questions about the dog nail trimming process, but also help dog parents connect with other dog parents to learn and share wisdom about at-home dog care practices and dog grooming routines approved by vets that work specifically for the breed. 

Reach out to Fuzzy today to chat with a veterinary professional about any pet health or grooming questions. 

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