A dog who gets a lot of exercise might need their nails trimmed very infrequently as covering many miles each day will wear their nails down naturally.
Others will need regular trimming.
It’s a good idea to get a vet or dog groomer to show you how. Watching it being done in front of you will make you more confident when you have a go yourself.
We’ve put together a simple how-to guide to help you along the rest of the way.
What you’ll need
Treats – start off armed with a few treats to reward your pooch for being brave and staying still. Each successfully cut nail can result in a treat – this will form a positive association with the experience too!
The tools you will need for this task are: scissor clippers – not guillotine. They must be sharp and small enough to be easily handled.
Be sure to arm yourself with styptic or clotting powder just in case you cut to the quick by accident, this will help stop the bleeding.
What to do
Test out your clippers on something else beforehand so that you’re sure they work properly and aren’t too stiff or blunt. They must also be small enough to allow you to grip them firmly. Use them to separate your dog’s toes.
It’s also a good idea to show your dog the clippers, let them smell them and let them hear the sound they make you’re clipping, whilst being sure to praise them with each clipping noise so they are reassured and accustomed to the sound.
Once you’ve separated the toes, hold the clippers firmly and cut from underneath- ensuring you cut the white bit of the nail. The pink parts of the nail contain blood vessels.
If you accidentally cut too short and cause bleeding, sprinkle a small amount of clotting powder on to the nail area, which should stop the bleed quickly.
Dogs who get outside for long runs every day on hard surfaces will trim their own nails by doing so, so check them often but you may not need to clip their nails regularly or at all.
More indoor dogs who have shorter walks will need frequent clipping as long nails can be very painful for them!
Also, the longer your dog’s nails get, the longer the blood vessels get inside them so keeping them nice and short will stop them bleeding as much when you clip them!
If you are still nervous or your dog becomes very distressed, book them in to a groomers to get them clipped for you so you can both build up the confidence to try again.