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How to Cut Your Dog's Nails at Home: A Guide by The Regal Beagle, Dallas, GA

Updated: Jan 16

Taking care of your furry friend includes regular grooming, and that means keeping their nails trimmed. Here at The Regal Beagle in Dallas, GA, we know how important it is to maintain your dog's nail health, so we've put together this comprehensive guide to help you clip your dog's nails safely and effectively at home.

Do Dogs Need Their Nails Cut?

Absolutely. Unlike wild canids that wear down their nails naturally through hunting and running on various terrains, our domesticated pups often need a little extra help. Long nails can lead to discomfort, affect your dog's gait, and even cause serious injury.

Does Walking on Pavement Help File Your Dog's Nails?

Walking your dog on pavement can help to naturally file their nails. However, this isn't enough for most dogs, especially those who are less active or have slower nail growth. Regular nail trims are still necessary to keep your dog comfortable and healthy.

How Do You Know if Your Dog's Nails Are Too Long?

Dog nail length chart

Listen for the telltale "clicking" sound when your dog walks on hard surfaces. If the nails touch the ground when they're standing, they're too long. The nails should not protrude over the pad and should not touch the ground when your dog is at rest.

Which Nail Clippers Should I Use to Cut My Dog's Nails?

Dog Nail Clippers

There are several types of nail clippers, including guillotine-style, scissors-type, and grinders. Each has its own advantages. Guillotine and scissors-type clippers are great for precise cuts, while grinders can smooth out the nails and reduce the chance of cutting the quick.

When Can I Start Clipping My Puppy’s Nails?

You can start clipping your puppy's nails as early as 3-4 weeks old, but it's usually done by the breeder. For new owners, it's recommended to start as soon as you bring your puppy home to get them used to the process.

How Do I Trim My Puppy's Nails?

Handling your puppy's paws regularly will help them get comfortable with the sensation. When trimming, hold the paw firmly but gently, push the nail out, and clip off the tip of the nail. Always avoid the quick, which is easier to see in clear nails as the pinkish area.

The Importance of Cutting My Puppy's Nails?

Keeping your puppy's nails trimmed prevents them from getting snagged on carpets or furniture, which can be painful and lead to injury. It also helps in preventing posture problems and the development of bone deformations.

How to Make My Puppy’s Nails Less Sharp?

After trimming, you can use a nail file or grinder to smooth out the edges. This will make your puppy's nails less sharp and prevent them from scratching people or surfaces unintentionally.

How Do I Use Dog Nail Clippers Correctly?

Nail Clippers Chart

Hold the clipper in your dominant hand and your dog's paw in the other. Identify the quick and clip the nail at a 45-degree angle below the quick. If you have a grinder, gently apply it to the nail, checking frequently to avoid overheating.

How Do I Correctly Trim My Dog's Dewclaws?

Dewclaws are higher up on the paw and don'twear down naturally. They can easily become overgrown and cause issues. When trimming dewclaws, handle them with the same care as other nails, ensuring that you don't cut the quick. These claws may need more frequent trimming as they do not touch the ground at all.

How to Trim My Dog's Black Nails?

Trimming black nails can be more challenging since the quick is not visible. Trim small amounts at a time and look for a chalky white ring around the nail – that’s your indicator that you’re getting close to the quick. If your dog has at least one white or clear nail, you can use it as a gauge for how far to trim the black ones.

What to Do if I Cut My Dog's Quick While Trimming Their Nails?

Kwik Stop Powder

Don't panic. Quick cuts can happen, even with experienced groomers. If you cut the quick, apply styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding. Comfort your dog and give them a treat to associate the experience with a positive outcome.

My Top Tips for Trimming Your Dog's Nails at Home

1. Regularity is key: Trim your dog's nails every 3-4 weeks.

2. Positive reinforcement: Always associate nail trimming with treats and praise.

3. Invest in quality tools: A sharp, reliable pair of nail clippers or a grinder makes a big difference.

4. Be calm and confident: Your dog can sense if you're nervous, which might make them uneasy.

5. Have everything you need at hand: Treats, clippers/grinder, styptic powder, and a soothing voice.

Important to Remember When Cutting Your Dog's Nails at Home

Be patient and never rush the process. If your dog is anxious, work on desensitization and training before attempting to trim their nails. It’s also important to know your limits; if your dog is too stressed or you're not confident, seek help from a professional groomer or veterinarian.

What to Do if My Dog's Nails Are Really Overgrown?

If your dog's nails are severely overgrown, it's best to seek professional help from a groomer or veterinarian. They can trim the nails back to a safe length over time without causing harm to your dog.

At The Regal Beagle, Dallas, GA, we understand that your pet's health and happiness are paramount. By following this guide, you'll ensure that nail trimming is an stress-free experience for both you and your dog. If you have any concerns or need professional assistance, we're here to help. Keep those paws healthy and your dog happy! To see our grooming website click below

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