Should I Cut My Dog’s Nails at Home?

dog's nailsFor many pet owners, trimming a dog’s nails is one of the most intimidating acts they can undertake. While on the surface it seems pretty simple, nail trimming can be challenging if you’re new to the activity. But, don’t worry! We have tips on how to trim your dog’s nails, why it’s so important, and what you can do if you run into problems.

Why Is It Important to Trim My Dog’s Nails?

If you’ve ever worn high heels, you already know the design of the shoe creates pressure on your toes. Well, a similar thing happens to dogs with long nails. Because their nails are touching the ground, a painful pressure is exerted on the nail bed.

Over the long run, this can lead to joint realignment, splayed paws, and greater susceptibility to injuries. Nail trimming is particularly important for older dogs, who may already be experiencing aches and pains.

How Often Do I Need to Trim My Dog’s Nails?

You should trim your dog’s nails when they’re just about to touch the ground while your dog walks. Don’t wait until they start making those little clicking noises across the wooden floor!

How Do I Trim My Dog’s Nails?

First, grab your supplies—a dog nail clipper, treats, a towel, and styptic powder. If you don’t have styptic powder on hand, you can substitute baking soda, flour, or cornstarch.

Once you’re ready, slide the nail trimmer over the end of the nail, staying in the white part. Avoid the pink part of the nail, which is called the quick. This part contains blood vessels and will cause your dog pain if it’s cut. On dogs with dark nails, the quick may be difficult to see. In that case, apply light pressure with the clipper to the area you think should be cut. If your dog yelps or appears uncomfortable, move the clippers closer to the end of the nail.

After you have the clippers positioned, cut decisively by giving the trimmer a quick squeeze. Don’t forget to reward your dog with a treat after each nail is clipped!

What Should I Do If My Dog Starts Bleeding?

If your dog begins to bleed, apply a towel to the wound for a couple of minutes. Then, pour some styptic powder—or whatever clotting agent you’re using—into your hand before dipping your dog’s nail into the powder. Dip the dog’s nail into the powder again if the bleeding doesn’t stop immediately. Then, aim to keep your dog off his feet for the next 30 minutes or so.

What If I Can’t Trim My Dog’s Nails?

Some people never get over their fear of trimming their pet’s nails and are happy to relinquish this task to the experts. If you fall into that category, we can help!

At Beechwold Vet, we’re pleased to offer dog grooming services. You can schedule a grooming appointment by contacting our Columbus office at 614.268.8666 during normal business hours. For your convenience, we’re open until 6:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 7:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 3:30pm on Saturdays.