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Dog Tip: Nail Trimming

The following tips come from an article by Arden Moore in the September 2002 issue of Dog Fancy Magazine.

Long nails can get snagged in carpets and rip, causing bleeding and pain. Over time, long nails can affect how a dog walks and lead to foot injuries. Here are steps to trimming your dog's nails:

* Start young. And before clipping, get the pup or dog accustomed to having his paws touched.

* Touch, tickle and massage your dog's feet daily to get used to you handling him and to reduce anxiety.

* Use a happy voice. Praise the dog for reasonably calm behavior.

* Control the exits. Clip nails in a quiet, confined, escape-proof place.

* Use clippers made for dogs. Guillotine or scissor clippers make clean cuts.

* Clip front nails first, since they tend to be more sensitive.

* Press the pads. Put your dog's whole paw in your hand and press the pad slightly with your index finger and thumb to expose the claws. Use your other hand to clip each one.

* Look for the quick. Clip at an angle just above the quick -- the pinkish part of the nail that contains a nerve and a blood vein. For dogs with dark nails, rather than clipping blind and taking too much off, just trim the tip every 2 weeks.

* Keep styptic powder within reach. If you accidentally clip to keep, sprinkle on the powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding.

* Polish the nails. Smooth out the edges of your dog's nails with a heavy-duty emery board or a metal file for round edges. Pet supply stores and catalogs sell files for dog nails.

* Reward the dog with treats. You want your dog to associate nail trimming with good things.


For more Dog Tips and other information about pet care, adoption and the work PAW does, visit our website at:

Partnership for Animal Welfare, Inc.
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768

Last Updated: April 26, 2018 (LET) PawSupport