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Dog Nail Trimming at Home

As we enter a second month of Lockdown, our dogs are starting to need a little home pampering to keep them in ship shape before K9 Anytime Grooming opens in the coming weeks. If your dog enjoys lots of grassy walks, running on soft surfaces or has only limited exercise due to age or health, their nails might be prone to becoming too long as they aren’t worn down by pavements or rough surfaces for an extended period of time.

Long claws are more prone to damage, can break or split, as well as cause dogs to put pressure on the wrong parts of their feet as they stand and walk, all of which can be painful and cause long term problems. As such, keeping your dog’s nails at the right length is vital for their good health, hygiene and comfort, and is a simple task when done properly and carefully.

Many dogs can be anxious about nail trimming for a variety of reasons -  past bad experience, a dislike of being handled, or improper procedure by humans which made the experience worrying and unenjoyable to name a few.

If your dog is uncertain about having their feet handled, and is nervous at the appearance of nail clippers (or in fact any grooming equipment), take a look at our LOCKDOWN TRAINING GUIDE TO HANDLING to explore how to safely and effectively combat your dog’s anxiety first and foremost. Pushing through your dog’s worry and forcing grooming upon them can be extremely damaging and does not make any part of the process easier, as well as creates a much larger window of opportunity for either or both of you to get hurt in the process.

There are a variety of tools out there which can be used to shorten your dog’s nails, and once you’ve chosen which is right for you, it’s also a good idea to have some clotting powder on hand in case a nail goes too short.

The American Kennel Club outline the following steps for safe and effective nail trimming:

  1. Pick up a paw and firmly, but gently, place your thumb on the pad of a toe and your forefinger on the top of the toe on the skin above the nail. Make sure none of your dog’s fur is in the way.

  2. Push your thumb slightly up and backward on the pad, while pushing your forefinger forward. This extends the nail.

  3. Clip only the tip of the nail, straight across. Include the dewclaws, located on the inner side of the paw.

  4. Avoid clipping past the curve of the nail or you risk hitting what is called the quick (the pink area of the nail that contains the blood vessels). A nick there is painful and will bleed. For dogs with dark nails, watch for a chalky white ring.


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