In 2017, Americans owned nearly 90 million dogs. Not only that, but they spent almost 70 million dollars that same year on their beloved pouches.
Taking care of your dog is vital for several reasons, but one of the most critical things you can do is giving your puppy a manicure.
Clipping dog nails is something that most owners don’t do or don’t enjoy doing. However, keeping them clean and short is essential to the health of your dog.
Why You Should be Clipping Dog Nails
A dog’s nails might not seem like a big deal to you, but to your dog, they play a vital role. Trimmed nails allow the dog to grip the floor they walk on and keep their composure. Not to mention that long nails can do damage to your floors, furniture, and even harm you and others.
If a nail becomes too long, it can create a host of problems for your dog. Untrimmed nails can cause discomfort for your dog as they walk, and could even lead to joint pain. Long nails are more prone to get caught on things, resulting in an injured nail and cause infection.
In comparison to adult dogs, puppies nails will need to be trimmed more often than adults. For one, their nails grow fast, and they’re very sharp. Also, clipping their nails as a puppy prepares them for when they’re cut as an adult.
What You Need for Trimming Dog’s Nails
Clipping your dog’s nails can be done in the comfort of your own home and doesn’t require many tools. You’ll need a dog nail clipper (we like these from Amazon). Just remember to make sure to choose the correct size for the size of your dog.
It’s also a good idea to have something to keep your dog occupied – like treats or peanut butter – if your dog is extra squirmy. In case you accidentally clip incorrectly and cause bleeding, keep some styptic powder on hand because it stops bleeding quickly.
Stainless steel nail trimmers work best because they give a clean, quick cut. If you prefer a nail grinder, those are available as well, but the noise might startle some dogs.
For squirmy or anxious dogs, resist the urge to ‘get it over with.’ It’s ok to stop and start again when your dog is feeling more comfortable or tired. Try putting some treats or peanut butter on a plate to distract the pup while you clip their nails.
How Often to Clip Dog Nails
It’s essential to keep your dog’s nails trimmed and clean, but how often should you do it?
For adult dogs, when you hear the ‘click’ on the ground as they walk, it’s time for a nail clipping! At this point, the nails can already alter the way the dog walks and puts more pressure on them.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when to clip a dog’s nails as several factors will determine how long the nails are, such as their activity level, type of pavement they walk on, age, and the breed of dog. Generally speaking aim for every 1-2 months for front nails (or 2-3 weeks for nails that grow quickly), but the back nails might need to be trimmed less frequently.
In comparison to adult dogs, a puppy’s nails will need to be trimmed more often than adults. For one, their nails grow fast, and they’re very sharp. Besides, clipping their nails as a puppy prepares them for when they’re cut as an adult. Make this a fun experience by giving treats and rewards for sitting still or when you rub its paws.
How to Cut A Dog’s Nails
Clipping a dog’s nails can be a bit tricky.
There are three basic parts to a dog’s nail – the footbed, the nail bed, and the quick. The quick is the part of the nail that is pink and has a blood vessel in it. If you clip the quick, your dog will begin bleeding, though it’s usually light.
Ideally, you’ll want to cut just above the quick to avoid any pain or bleeding to your dog. Try starting at the tip and clipping towards the broader part of the nail slowly to lessen the chances of injury.
Problems to Watch For
If you’ve never clipped a dog’s nails before it can be a bit nerve-wracking. But don’t worry, once you’ve done it a few times (and your dog is cool with it), it becomes second nature. However, here are a few key things to keep in mind.
For dogs with lighter colored nails, the quick is easy to spot. Locating the quick in dogs with darker colored nails is more complicated. Take it slow, and if you begin to see a whitish color inside the nail, stop cutting.
If you’ve clipped your dog’s nails too short and there is blood, remember to keep some styptic powder nearby. The pain for the pup is short-lived, but with continued pain, the dog could associate negative emotions with nail clipping. However, practice makes perfect, so take it slow the first few times.
If you find your dog truly hates having its nails trimmed, or refuses to sit still despite your best efforts, you might be better off leaving it to the pros. Groomers are trained professionals that know how to handle dogs in stressful situations. You could even reach out to your local groomer for tips on how to trip your dog’s nails.
Ready to Trim Your Dog’s Nails?
Clipping dog nails can seem a bit intimidating at first, but if it’s done well the first few times, both your dog and you will get used to it.
Are you searching for more information on grooming large dog breeds? We’ve got you covered! Find everything you need to know at our page.
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A big-dog lover, successful marketing executive, and website developer, Brian founded Canine Weekly in 2016. Brian lives just outside of Seattle with his wife and child. Brian grew up with labs and the family is eager to get another Labrador once their newborn is a little older. Brian is the former owner of Canine Weekly.