How Trimming Your Dog's Nails- Dog Nail Clippers
If you cut the quick.
If you clip the quick, you want to make sure that you have silver nitrate or a styptic pen on hand. If you don't have either product, you can use flour or cornstarch to stop the bleeding. You may have to use a light bandage to apply pressure on the cut. If the nail is still bleeding after 10 minutes, you'll want to call you vet.
If you constantly have problems with cutting the quick, consider purchasing toenail clippers that will detect where the vein is (see below).
Cut Your Dog's Toenails
Cutting your dog's toenails is a very important part of dog grooming. Untrimmed and long toenails can cause several problems, to include broken nails which are very painful, so you want to keep a regular dog grooming schedule, always including nail trims.
The easiest way to tell if your dog needs his nails cut, is when you hear "click, click, click" as your dog walks across hard floors, whether tile, parquet, etc.
You want to start getting your dog used to having his nails cut as soon as possible. If you're getting a puppy, make sure to play with his feet and toes constantly, as this will get him used to you handling his feet.
Some dogs don't mind having their nails cut, but others absolutely hate it, so make sure that you may nail trims as pleasant as you can. You want to reduce the amount of stress and struggle, as best as possible.
If you're a first time dog owner, you will want to have your veterinarian show you how to properly cut your dog's nails, but, a simple guide, such as what I'm about to give you, should be enough.
First, make sure that you know and understand the anatomy of a dog toenail, which is rather simple. In the center of each nail, there is a nerve that supplies blood to the nail, which is called the quick. You can see the quick in clear nails, easily, but for black nails you will want to trim carefully and/or use a vein detecting nail clipper (seen below). If you cut the quick, the nail will bleed, so you will want to have a styptic pen on hand just in case.
Next, make sure that you have the proper tools. Below you will find a guide to nail clippers that should hopefully steer you in the right direction.
Now, to cut the nail...
- Have the dog either in your lap or on a table. Just make sure that you have proper lighting and proper restraint of the dog. It may take two people to cut your dog's nails, depending on whether the dog will sit pleasantly or if he's going to fight you.
- Determine how much needs to be cut from each nail.
- Take your dog nail trimmers and cut the nail below the quick at a 45 degree angle, making sure to have the cutting end of the clipper toward the end of the nail. If you dog has black nails, you'll want to make several small clips instead of one large one; make sure to trim very thin slices until you see a black dot, which will signal the top of the quick.
The more often you trim your dog's nails, the further the quick will regress into the nail, which allows you to cut shorter and shorter each time. Make sure to allow at least 2 days in-between each trim. You want to get your dog's nails to the point where when his paw is on the ground, the nails do not touch the floor. You can use special pet nail grinders to speed up this process (see below).
Choosing a Pair of Nail Clippers
When choosing a nail clipper for your dog, you want to take into account the size of the dog. IE smaller dogs and puppies will need smaller nail clippers and larger dogs will need larger nail clippers.
As puppies have small nails, you may consider the scissor style toenail clippers, they are generally built for puppies 3 weeks to 3 months old. You can, also, use these nail clippers on smaller dogs.
For larger dogs, you want to make sure that you have a clipper that will adjust the the size of the nail. You don't want to force the dog's toenail into a small opening. This will cause more discomfort, which can potentially lead to future problems with nail clipping.
There are generally three types of nail clippers- 1) scissor style, 2) budget clippers or guillotine style, and 3) training wheel clippers.
- The scissor style nail clippers are great for puppies and small dogs. They essentially work like scissors.
- The Guillotine style are those that have a slide action. The "jaws" slide forward as you grip the handle. These cut slower, and tend to cause slight discomfort.
- Training wheel clippers are those built for the inexperienced and weery. They have a lever that you can position to tell you where you can stop the nail. You push the toenail against the lever, and you are provided a safe cut. When you grip the handle, the "jaws" clamp down and cut an adequate portion of the nail without cutting to close to the quick.
When choosing dog toenail clippers, make sure that they have a sharp edge. You want to make the experience as quick and painless as possible, and a sharp edge will minimize discomfort.
Power Operated Nail Grinder
You can use special dog toenail grinders and dremel tools to grind down your dog's toenails. When you use this method, you can get the toenail fairly short within a week's span. The heat of the grinder will entice the quick to recess into the nail; you can safely use a special dog nail grinder once a day without irritating the dog's nail.
This method is the one typically used by those who professional show their dogs, as it gets the dog's nail super short.
Avoid Cutting the Quick of Your Dog's Toenail
Although, I've never used this style of dog toenail clipper, it seems to be a really good method of cutting your dog's nails. These nail clippers are battery operated and have a built-in nerve/vein detector, which shines through the nail to prevent cutting the quick.
There are essential two brands, that I've seen that offer Quick Detector nail clippers- 1) Dogmatic and 2) Miracle Coat.
The Dogmatic Careful Clippers are a scissor- type clipper that have a light extension to help detect where the vein is. The light shines through the nail so that you can avoid cutting the quick.
The Miracle Coat Quick Finder Safety Nail Clippers are a guillotine action clipper. These clippers have a light detection that lets you know where you are in regards to the quick; there are three colored lights on the handle: red means "don't cut", yellow means "caution", and green means "safe to cut." You never have to worry about cutting the quick in your dog's nail again. These clippers are great for dogs who have black nails.
Dog Grooming Tips and Supplies
- Electric Dog Razors
What are the best electric dog clippers to use for your dog?
- Dog Brushes and Combs
Find out which brushes work well with what coat types.
- Bathing Puppies
Make sure that when bathing your puppy, you know the proper technique; how often; and what shampoos to use.
- Choosing a Dog Shampoo
Picking the perfect dog shampoo can reduce skin irritation, so make sure that you have the right dog shampoo for your dog.
- Grooming Your Dog and Dog Grooming Kits
It is very important that you groom your dog properly and that you have the correct tools to do so.
- Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
Teeth brushing is a very important aspect of grooming, as it is the easy method to preventing dental disease.
More by this Author
Seizures is a common disorder that many dogs have. If your dog has seizures, it's important that you are aware of diagnosing and treating the seizures so that you can stop your dog's suffering.
As dogs age, it's important that you know how to properly care for their needs. Older dogs are like young puppies and require a different set of care guidelines.
Learn some of the signs of infected belly-button piercings and what to do about them.