For any dog owner, keeping an eye on the length of your dog’s nails is an important issue. Similar to humans, having long nails can get in the way of everyday activities, but unlike humans, dog nails are almost always in contact with the ground.
As a result, nails that are too long can end up being pushed back up into the nail bed, causing your furry friend a lot of pain – and often leading to arthritis. Through evolutionary design, long nails on your dog can also lead to a change in posture that places too much pressure on their muscles and joints.
Luckily, the best way to clip your pup’s nails can be easily learned – and once mastered, it’s also easy to keep under control.
Choose the right clippers
Scissor-type clippers are well known for providing the best and easiest nail care experience for your dog as they avoid crushing the nail, unlike gullitine-style clippers. Remember to oil and sharpen the blades regularly for a clean cut, and to avoid accidentally opening the ‘quick’.
Make them comfortable
Some dogs don’t react at all, while others will run a mile at the sight of the dreaded clippers. For this reason, it’s important to keep your pooch in a position that’s comfortable but also prevents them from pulling away when you’re about to make that all-important snip. Gripping the paw firmly with your non-dominant hand often yields the best results for the front toe nails, while getting your pup to lie on their side is a great strategy for keeping them still when it’s time to do the back toe nails.
How to clip dog nails and avoid splitting
Always approach the nail from top-to-bottom, as any other direction increases the likelihood of a split nail.
The ‘quick’ is where the blood vessel for the nail is located, and if opened, can bleed quite profusely. The ‘quick’ also contains a nerve, so any injury will undoubtedly cause your dog to flinch in pain. It is therefore important to underestimate the length needing to be removed rather than overcompensating and risking opening a wound.
Make the cut
When cutting the nail, approach at a 45-degree angle and start by cutting just a little off the pointed end, slowly cutting further back to ensure that you avoid the nerve. You should stop cutting when you see a white ring of nail with a small black dot in the middle.
Although it may not seem like a big deal to us, but to your dog, any out-of-routine actions can feel quite stressful. Therefore, in practising how to clip dog nails, make sure you keep some treats nearby – and constantly make a fuss of your pet so they associate positive feedback with the practice.
Keep a schedule
In order for your pooch to maintain their healthy, active lifestyle, their nails will need to be checked every 3-4 weeks, depending on their activity level.