It’s important to clip your dog nails every so often. Though it varies from breed to breed, the general rule of thumb is that a dog will require its nails to be cut or trimmed every two months or so. Also, it’s usually the front paws that require nail trimming from time to time, as the nails in the back paws usually grow at a slower rate.
Dogs have nails that grow just like how nails grow in humans. If your dog was out in the open, living like a wild dog, nature will automatically trim its nails, as your dog will have to walk and run on hard and rough surfaces. However, since your pet dog is mostly an indoor dog, the natural wear and tear will be minimal, requiring you to manually trim their nails. Not cutting your dog’s nails will lead to a situation where the nail actually grows into the paw, causing pain, discomfort and even infections.
There is an easy way to tell when your dog might need a nail trim. Try to notice his paws when he is in a standing position. When he is standing around normally, his nails should not touch the floor. If they are touching the floor, they are probably too long and in need of a trim.
- Being careful about cutting dog nails
There is an area of the nail that will induce pain if cut. This area is usually called the quick. If your dog has light colored nails, you will notice that the quick is often a few shades lighter than the tip of the nail. It is OK for you to cut the darker parts. Cutting into the quick will cause your dog to yelp and suffer from pain and possibly bleeding as well.
If your dog has dark colored nails, differentiating the area that can be cut from the area that shouldn’t be touched can be a bit difficult. In those cases, you can assume you can only cut off about 2-3 mms from the edge, just to be on the safe side.
Getting the right equipment
There are several types of nail cutters and trimmers that are available for a dog. It is best to ask the pet store owner about the most suitable type of cutter for your particular pet dog’s breed. Generally, you will be recommended to use a guillotine style cutter or a pliers style, or even a scissors style. The pliers will come in different sizes for different sized dogs. When buying a nail cutter for your pet dog, pay a little extra and try to get the more expensive and superior blades that will make a clean cut.
Getting your dog ready for a nail cutting session
Some dogs are very accommodating when you try to cut their nails, while others will throw a real fit. If your pet dog belongs to the latter category, you will first have to play with his paws to make him feel assured that you are not trying to cause harm. Just gently squeeze on his paws to flex the nail. If you have to, do this for a couple of days before you even attempt to cut his nails.
The ideal position to cut your dog’s nails would be when he is lying down. However, this will depend on the uniqueness of your dog. If he doesn’t really prefer the lying down position, you might have to modify your position in such a way that he is able to sit alongside you.
Have another person at hand to help you hold your dog still. This is especially important if it is the first time you are cutting your dog’s nails.
The actual nail cutting
Now we get down to the part where you actually cut the nails. Wait for your dog to stop moving around and use your dominant hand to make a clean and swift cut once you get a good position. Don’t try to gently work your way into the cut, as that will just alarm your dog’s senses and become phobic to the cutting. If you cut in one swift motion, he will realize that it is no big deal and will easily allow you to cut the other nails as well.
Pay attention to where you cut. Do your best not to cut the “quick” part of the nail, as a mistake will make it difficult for your dog to ever trust you with nail cutting again.
-Important points to remember
- The odd accident or two might be inevitable. If you cut into the quick of the nail, your dog will begin to bleed. However, it is not the end of the world. You can apply some styptic powder that will stop the bleeding and ease off the pain, quite instantly.
- If your dog is particularly aggressive and restless when you try to cut his nails, you will have no choice but to let professionals do the job. You must also let professionals do the job if you are always worried about hurting your dog while cutting nails, as constant worrying will almost invariably cause you to make a mistake.