Trimming your dog’s nails can be an intimidating and difficult process for someone who is inexperienced with this part of the dog grooming process. Dogs may lash out against this especially if they have bad memories of prior attempts. The easiest way to prevent this behavior from happening is to regularly groom them when they are young.
However, if this is no longer an option for you, then you will have to learn how to properly clip their nails, handle any aggressive behavior, and become familiar with the best nail clippers for the job. Each step is crucial, and mastering them will make the whole process easier not just for yourself, but your dog as well.
Selecting appropriate nail clippers
There are various nail clippers used in the dog grooming industry and each serve specific purposes. The two most common styles of nail clippers are the guillotine style and scissor-style. Dogs that have long, curved nails should be trimmed using the scissor-style clippers.
If the nails are not regularly trimmed, then it may curve and there will be a risk of it growing into the pads of your dog’s foot. This tends to happen with dew claws, which can be found higher up on a dog’s paw, and does not usually reach the ground so they do not get worn down like the front claws on the foot pad do.
To best cut nails that have grown too long or that have curled, one should select the scissor-style clipper. Any other nail-trimming situation can probably be dealt with using the guillotine style nail clipper.
Using Scissor Style Nail Clippers
Before making any cuts with the scissor nail trimmers, one should first make sure that the dog is in a comfortable position and that it will not move. Next, test that the blades are in working order by squeezing the handle a few times to get a feel.
Once these steps are all accounted for, place the paw of the first leg firmly in the non-trimming hand and grasp it firmly, making sure that each toe is separated and that enough pressure is being applied to keep the paw in place without hurting the dog.
Next, hold the clippers at a right angle to the toenail that is to be cut, and cut the nail to the desired length. A general rule to follow is to leave approximately two millimeters from the quick of the dog’s toenail; any closer and you may accidentally cause discomfort, injury, and even bleeding.
It is more difficult to see the quick of your dog’s nail if it has dark toenails, so be careful and ensure that the placement of the cut is in the proper position. The nails located on the front of the pad will need to be trimmed more often than the nails near the back of the foot.
Using Guillotine Style Nail Clippers
Trimming your dog’s nails using the guillotine style nail clipper is similar to how a trim would be done using a scissor-style trimmer. Once again, prior to trimming, ensure that the dog is in a comfortable position so that she will not move and you have easy access to her paws. As a reminder, this is so the dog will not shuffle uncomfortably and you will also feel more comfortable.
There are a few differences between the guillotine style and the scissor style. One is that the blades of a guillotine clipper is small and has a ring at the head of the trimmer. When the handles are squeezed, a blade cuts across the ring, lopping off anything that was sticking through it (like a guillotine, hence the name).
Prior to cutting, squeeze the handle a few times to ensure that the blades are working and to get used to how it cuts. You want to make sure that the blades do not stick and that the motion is smooth. Be aware that the blades that trim the nail are slightly in front of the ring and take that into account before making a cut.
Check that the spring of the clipper, located in the handle, is pointed away from your dog before making the first cut. It is fine if the handles are pointing downwards to the floor as you are trimming. The primary goal of this positioning technique is comfort – making sure you feel you have a firm grip and are in a comfortable position.
Buying Dog Nail Clippers
If you are the type of person to prefer grooming your pets own your own, then you are well aware of how important it is to have the right tools for the job. You can read our review on the best dog nail clippers for some ideas on where to start.
Trimming your dog’s nails can become an effortless process once you have a reliable pair of trimmers that cuts cleanly and is safe to use. Your dog will feel more comfortable if the process is smooth and painless, and no doubt you will too.