{This post may contain affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We only recommend products that we believe will be of value to our followers. Click HERE to see our disclosure for details.}

Nail trimming…these words are scary to many dog owners! Some of us are lucky and have dogs that can naturally wear down their nails.  This is great as we never have to cut them ourselves. Others of us aren’t so lucky and have dogs that have nails that seem to grow long way too quickly. For those people, we have some tips for stress free dog nail trimming. Advice to keep your nail trimming as stress free as possible for you and your dog.

Types of Nail Clippers

The first thing is to decide what type of nail clipper to use. There are three main types to choose from. Our favorite is the Miller Forge’s trimmer (scissor type) but we will also discuss the guillotine nail trimmer and the grinder tool.

An excellent way to track your dog’s nail trimming or grooming sessions, vet visits, and all other important information about your dog is with our printable Dog Management Planner binder. Click on the banner below to check it out.

Dog Planner Management Binder

Deciding What Type Of Nail Clipper Is Right For Your Dog

The Miller Forge type of nail clipper is used like a pair of scissors. They are easy to use and most brands have a built in guide to help prevent cutting into the quick of the nail. These clippers come in various sizes, depending on the size of the clipper, they can be used on small to large dogs.

If you have a dog that will remain on the small to medium size as an adult, any of the three types of nail trimmers would work. If your dog is going to be large, 70+lbs, you may want to use the miller forge type or a nail grinder right from the very beginning so that you and your dog can get used to that type of trimmer.

The guillotine trimmers work just as the name suggests. Your dog’s nail goes in the clipper, you then press the handle, and a blade gently cuts the nail. This type of clipper is best with small to medium sized dogs. Dog’s with thicker, larger nails aren’t as easy to cut with this type of nail trimmer.

The third type that we are going to discuss is the grinder. This type of nail care can be a good option for a dog that does not like nail clippers. A grinding tool is used to grind the nail down. Dog’s often have to get used to the noise and vibration of the grinder. This method can be tricky on long coated breeds, as you have to be careful that the hair does not get caught in the grinder.

Why It’s Important to Regularly Trim Your Dog’s Nails

Many dogs do not like to have their nails trimmed. Some dogs will run and hide as soon as they see you coming with the nail clippers. Unfortunately, nail trimming is a part of responsible pet ownership so it’s not something that you can avoid. In fact, dogs that do not get their nails trimmed regularly and do not wear them down in their daily activities can become quite uncomfortable. Untrimmed nails can grow out of control, causing the feet to splay and eventually causing pain for the dog when he has to stand or walk. Unfortunately, you can’t explain that to your dog so that he understands why you are doing this to him.

 Tips For A Stress Free Nail Trimming Experience

1.  Start Off At An Early Age And Make It A Positive Experience

If you get your dog as a puppy, it is so important to start a nail trimming schedule. Trim your puppy’s nails weekly, making it a positive experience. Wait until your puppy has drained some of his energy and have your pockets full of treats. You may need someone to help you to distract your puppy while you trim his nails. Trim one nail and give him a treat.  Trim the second nail and give him a treat, repeat!  You’re life will be so much easier if you can get your puppy used to nail trimming right from the very beginning.

Free Dog Training Workshop

2.  Desensitizing Your Dog To Nail Trimming

Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s not always that easy! If your dog doesn’t even want to be in the same room as the nail clippers, desensitizing him to nail trimming will take some time and work. The first step will be to bring out the nail clippers and let your dog sniff them and get used to being around them. When your dog is around the nail clippers he gets rewarded with treats. He will soon learn that being around the nail clippers is not a bad thing. This doesn’t mean that he is ready for you to try to use those nail clippers on him yet though.

The next step is play with your dog’s feet. Touch your dog’s foot, if he doesn’t move praise and reward him. Once you can consistently touch your dog’s foot, try picking up your dog’s foot. When he allows you to do this, praise and reward him. Make sure that you are using really good treats when you start doing this so that he associates you touching and picking up his feet with high value rewards.

Once he is comfortable with you touching and picking up his feet, try doing it with the nail clippers in your hand. Do not try to cut his nails just yet. If he doesn’t react, give him a treat. If he does react go back to the previous step and then try again at a later time.

Once you are able to pick up your dog’s foot with the nail clippers in your hand, it is time to try to trim the nails.  Make sure that your dog is tired when you attempt to trim his nails. It is also beneficial to have an assistant that can distract your dog when you are cutting his nails.

3.  Be Patient

Start off by cutting one nail. Be careful but don’t act nervous or your dog will pick up on that. If you are unsure it is best to just take a bit off at a time so that you don’t cut into the quick. If your dog remains still and you can cut his nail, give him a treat and praise him like crazy! Try doing the second nail, praise and reward if he sits still. For a young dog or a dog that was really nervous about having his nails done, just do one paw at a time. Give him a break and then do another paw, repeat for the remaining paws. You may have to do this for several nail trimmings but eventually your dog will be ok with you trimming all of his nails in one sitting.

4.  Take Your Dog To A Groomer Or A Vet For His Nail Trimming

Getting your dog used to getting his nails cut could happen right from the start or it could take months. Patience and consistency is the key. If you are still not comfortable doing your dog’s nails, you can take him to a groomer or a vet.  Be sure to do your research first. You will want someone handling your dog that will not create more problems. He will need someone with experience in handling a dog that does not like getting his nails done. Someone who is willing to take the time with him that he needs to get them done properly,without traumatizing him to the experience even further.

If at some point you do cut your dog’s nails too short and cut into the quick, don’t panic.  Apply some Styptic Powder and it will help to stop the bleeding.  It’s a good idea to have a Dog First Aid Kit and one of the items in the kit should be Styptic Powder, that way you always have some on hand when needed.

With training and conditioning, most dogs learn to tolerate getting their nails trimmed.  The key is to be patient with them and don’t push them too much too soon.

Similar Posts